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Free To Choose

By Conor Kenny

January 2012

 

Everything we do in life is a choice. Every day we are confronted with a multiplicity of choice. It’s called freedom.

How we live, what we do, how we see things, always comes down to choice. That’s what makes us free to choose.

 

A few years back my Dad was giving a true Masterclass workshop. He made a statement I immediately dismissed as ‘not true’

He said softly “There is no such thing as a lazy person” Like everyone around me, I secretly scoffed at the notion. He hadn’t finished, his pause was deliberate. He resumed “They are either sick or in the wrong job”

This time I paused, the light dawned. I thought back to jobs I detested. I thought back to the paralysis and sickly downward spiral of no hope. I realised he was right. Now tie that piece of wisdom in to another wise pearl a kindly Teacher of mine once said. A student was being given a torrid time by some clannish class mates. They were giddy but he launched a well timed Exocet. It struck home. He said “It’s easy to hit a sinking ship”

 

If you recruit the wrong person it’s your fault too. Often people rush to recruit and spend days plotting the same persons demise. I have always lived by the principle of never designing the job around the person.

 

Recruiting must always be a balance of the art and the science. The art is instinct, the science is track record. It’s no longer enough to tick boxes at interview, those days are over. You need to go way deeper than that, you need to interview attitude.

How do you do that? With pertinent and deeper questions. It’s all about finding out what matters, what’s important and what motivates.

It’s too easy to be seduced by personality or worse still, a great smile. Finding their motivation and passion is the key.

Why is it that some people give the impression they hate their job?

Why is it that some managers rush like a bull at a gate?

Why is it that some people get caught up in politics?

Why is it that some members of your team think the golden years are in the future?

I suggest 2 reasons. First, they are in the wrong job. Second there is a lack of cohesion at the top and no involvement in the voyage ahead.

 

You can train anyone to deliver simple functions. You can’t, as the saying goes, ‘make a silk purse out of a sows ear’

Great service has nothing to do with training. Great service is all about attitude.

A great attitude is nothing to do with money and is everything to do with values, culture and, most importantly, the absolute desire to do good work.

 

Look at who failed in your company. Money was King.

Look at who succeeds in your business? Good work ruled their day.

 

Peter Drucker said; “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

That is as good a compass as you need to recruit effectively and to recruit the right attitude.

That too is a choice.

In life as well as business, we could all take a leaf out of Norman Vincent Peale’s beacon like quote. He said?

"Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure. The way you think about a fact may defeat you before you ever do anything about it. You are overcome by the fact because you think you are"

 

Finally, I was giving a talk recently and a young wise man asked me if I would email him more thoughts on attitude. I made him a promise and I sent him one line.

I guess it sums up everything I’m saying in this note. It was Zig Ziglar, the distinguished American author and speaker who famously said;

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude”

 

It’s a choice. It’s your choice too, choose carefully.