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"Discover A Proven Process To Get 100% Clear On The Characteristics Of The Perfect Candidate For A Job Role... Without Having To Guess Or Rely On Gut Feel" 
If you'd like to be able to identify PRECISELY what you want your employees to achieve, what type of person would be PERFECT for a particular role, and craft the CORRECT questions to ask in the interview process... then the first step is to book in with us for a FREE "Position Profiling Audit"... worth $200.
3 Red Flags of Self Delusion and Denial
By David Osborne
And how to select a true high performance manager.
In 1903 the Ford motorcar company was founded. By the early 1920’s the company was producing 60 percent of all the motor vehicles in the United States and over half the motorcars in the World. By the end of the twenties consumers were looking for more choice “a car for every purse and purpose” and although the trends were obvious Henry Ford refused adapt and change. By 1945 the Ford Motor company was close to bankruptcy.

Self-delusion and denial is an “unconscious defence mechanism against external realities that threaten the ego”, (1) “Denial operates in all institutions and in all individuals.” (2)

The First Red Flag: Lack of attention to customer satisfaction and trends

Customer satisfaction surveys and trend analysis are standard managerial tools. Not using them is a classic red flag of denial and should be a key point of questioning when selecting a high performance manager.

“You Can’t Handle The Truth”

In 1926 Ernest Kanzler a Ford executive and family relative decided to present a compelling case for the company to start to redesign cars “for every purse and purpose.” Kanzler respectfully presented his ideas and was then, fired. Ford was ignoring the obvious because he didn’t want to confront it. George Orwell called this “protective stupidity”.

The Second Red Flag: Ignoring the inevitable long term reality for short term comfort

Facing confronting information is a critical aspect of management and the avoidance of discussing some harsh realities is another classic red flag of delusion. Good questions for high performance managers should delve into examples of discussions they had that were uncomfortable and long term problems were mitigated by undertaking some short term discomfort.

Tom Peters and Nancy Austin talk about the need for “constant innovation” in their book a passion for excellence. They suggest that for any company to create a lasting distinction they need to listen trust and respect the innovative ideas presented by their employees. (3) Therefore another focus of questioning for a managerial candidate should be how they increased the profitability of their team by listening and adopting their innovative ideas, no matter how confronting and unconventional they may be.

“Yes, Minister”!

In the 1920’s General Motors was rapidly gaining ground on the Ford motorcar company. At one of the top committee meetings, Alfred P Sloane said, ”Gentlemen, I take it we are all in complete agreement on the subject here.” Everyone nodded they head. Sloan continued, “We will postpone further discussion on this matter until our next meeting, to give ourselves time to develop disagreement and perhaps gain some understanding of what the decision is all about”. (4)

The Third Red Flag: Surrounding yourself with “yes-people”.

If the private conversations after a meeting are usually more frank and honest than the actual meeting, then potentially you have surrounded yourself with “yes-people”. The focus of questioning when selecting a high performance manager should be how did they nurture frank and honest conversations and how did the team and the company prosper as a result of these conversations.

Finding high performance managers is a challenge

Elon Musk, founder of Paypal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX and Solar City suggests that the best way to solve a challenge/problem is to use first principle thinking and this thinking is critical to his success. Elon says “You boil things down to the most fundamental truths and say, “What are we sure is true?” … and then reason up from there”. (5)

Elon suggests that most people do not solve problems this way and that they start to solve a challenge by using analogy, for example some companies may think if the managerial candidate has a managerial qualification they are potentially higher performers than someone who doesn’t have a managerial qualification.

What is the most fundamental truth when recruiting a high performance manager?

Lord Coe said in the 2012 Olympic opening address “There is a truth to sport” (6). Potentially the truth in sport is that the athletes who obtain the best results are better prepared, most committed and believe in themselves. Athletes who are selected for the games by their countries have to achieve the Olympic qualifying standard prior to going to the Olympics, IE “A Result.” Countries are used to selecting their athletes on their prior results.

The most fundamental truth is the person who is most likely to achieve the results you want in certain position is someone who already achieved the same goals in their previous roles, no matter qualifications they hold.

Why are results critically important to consider?

One major hurdle to finding the fundamental truth is “People are deceptive, both in the impression management and self-delusional sense.” (7)

The results a candidate has previously achieved, if valid, are a very strong indication of what the individual is capable of replicating. Results cut through self-delusion and denial to reveal candidates who are better prepared, more committed and believe in themselves.

“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results”.
- Winston Churchill



David Osborne

Profitable Personnel PTY LTD

www.profitablepersonnel.com

“Committed to helping businesses to maximise the return on investment from their employees.”

 

(1) Tedlow, R (2010) Why Business Leaders Fail To Look Facts In The Face 
    – And What To Do About It, Pengiun Books, England, p30
(2) Tedlow, R (2010) Why Business Leaders Fail To Look Facts In The Face 
    – And What To Do About It, Pengiun Books, England, p205
(3) Peters, T and Austin, (1985) A Passion for excellence, Williams Collins
    Sons & Co Ltd, p5
(4) Tedlow, R (2010) Why Business Leaders Fail To Look Facts In The Face 
    – And What To Do About It, Pengiun Books, England, p209
(5) The First Principles Method Explained by Elon Musk 
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NV3sBlRgzT cited 12/3/2016
(6) Opening ceremony remarks by Lord Coe www.runnersworld.com
    /elite-runners/opening-ceremony-remarks-by-seb-coe, cited 12/3/2016
(7) Premuzic, T and Furnham (2010) The Psychology of Personnel Selection,
   3 Red Flags of Self Delusion and Denial Cambridge University Press UK, P3
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