I'm working on a project at DAXKO I have a lot of interest in. Here's the spin - if you are in an environment where you're proud of your culture, have you gone to the extreme of trying to define what makes your culture unique? If you have defined it, do you aggressively interview all candidates (regardless of role/position) to ensure they fit the culture you are trying to build/maintain?
I'm a behavioral interviewer, and one of the reasons I love that format is you can get under the hood and figure out what makes someone tick, and if you're good at it, you can separate what's real from what's BS. With that in mind, I'm building towards recommending that there are some non-negotiables in the DAXKO culture that we should ensure every new hire has.
One of those non-negotiatbles in the DAXKO culture might be what I call Tenacity/Resilience. Here's how I would define it:
-Tenacity/Resilience - Does the candidate have a demonstrated history of not stopping when barriers appear? Do they work through the challenges and keep going, or are they victims?
Of course, every company says they value that, but as I take a look under the hood at my current company and listen to what's being said, people who are viewed as stars have this trait. The trait is clearly defined when:
-Managers talk about the team members who report to them whom they consider stars;
-Managers talk about why they didn't like a candidate who seemed to be perfect on paper; and
-Anyone in the company talks about who they admire from a work perspective.
Another way to define the Tenacity/Resilience domain is the term GRIT, which was defined recently in a Boston Globe article:
"In recent years, psychologists have come up with a term to describe this mental trait: grit. Although the idea itself isn’t new - “Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration,” Thomas Edison famously remarked - the researchers are quick to point out that grit isn’t simply about the willingness to work hard. Instead, it’s about setting a specific long-term goal and doing whatever it takes until the goal has been reached. It’s always much easier to give up, but people with grit can keep going.
While stories of grit have long been associated with self-help manuals and life coaches - Samuel Smiles, the author of the influential Victorian text “Self-Help” preached the virtue of perseverance - these new scientific studies rely on new techniques for reliably measuring grit in individuals. As a result, they’re able to compare the relative importance of grit, intelligence, and innate talent when it comes to determining lifetime achievement. Although this field of study is only a few years old, it’s already made important progress toward identifying the mental traits that allow some people to accomplish their goals, while others struggle and quit. Grit, it turns out, is an essential (and often overlooked) component of success."
Damn - that makes you want to hear more, doesn't it?
"The hope among scientists is that a better understanding of grit will allow educators to teach the skill in schools and lead to a generation of grittier children. Parents, of course, have a big role to play as well, since there’s evidence that even offhand comments - such as how a child is praised - can significantly influence the manner in which kids respond to challenges. And it’s not just educators and parents who are interested in grit: the United States Army has supported much of the research, as it searches for new methods of identifying who is best suited for the stress of the battlefield.
Interestingly, it also appears that praising children for their intelligence can make them less likely to persist in the face of challenges, a crucial element of grit. For much of the last decade, Dweck and her colleagues have tracked hundreds of fifth-graders in 12 different New York City schools. The children were randomly assigned to two groups, both of which took an age-appropriate version of the IQ test. After taking the test, one group was praised for their intelligence - “You must be smart at this,” the researcher said - while the other group was praised for their effort and told they “must have worked really hard.”
Dweck then gave the same fifth-graders another test. This test was designed to be extremely difficult - it was an intelligence test for eighth-graders - but Dweck wanted to see how they would respond to the challenge. The students who were initially praised for their effort worked hard at figuring out the puzzles. Kids praised for their smarts, on the other hand, quickly became discouraged.
The final round of intelligence tests was the same difficulty level as the initial test. The students who had been praised for their effort raised their score, on average, by 30 percent. This result was even more impressive when compared to the students who had been praised for their intelligence: their scores on the final test dropped by nearly 20 percent. A big part of success, Dweck says, stems from our beliefs about what leads to success.
And that, my friends, is why I'm interested in the need to protect your culture by defining the behavioral traits that are most important to your company, then walking away from smart people who don't display those traits.
Go read the whole Globe article and I'll keep you posted on the other behavioral traits I'm thinking could be used to define the DAXKO culture...