6 Selling Secrets That Will Help You Hire Stronger People

Just as for any sales process, there’s a funnel for recruiting: moving prospects and candidates from first contact, through the recruiting and assessment process, and ultimately into great hires.

The big steps are summarized in the graphic below. And, just as in sales, the more complex the process, the more steps in the process.

The “recruiting funnel,” as shown in this graphic from The Adler Group.

In recruiting, when the demand for talent is greater than the supply, all of the steps shown in the funnel are required. When the supply of strong talent is greater than the demand, shortcuts can be taken. This talent-surplus process is shown by the active-candidate path on the left of the funnel. The problem for most companies is that they use a surplus process even in a scarcity situation.

For most companies, the entire recruiting and hiring process is too transactional. It starts by filtering people on the basis of their skills and experiences, weeding out the weak, using the interview to minimize mistakes, and having candidates agree early on to a price range (compensation) before they even know the job. While demeaning, the process might actually work if there is an excess of top people available. If not, it will backfire: Companies will wind up working way too hard to hire people just like whom they’ve always hired.

In a talent-scarcity situation, recruiters and hiring managers actually need to talk with people and convince them that what’s being offered is better than what they have now. This process is represented by the extra two steps at the top of the funnel: getting high-quality leads and referrals, and converting these people into prospects. A prospect is someone who is fully qualified but needs more information before agreeing to become an official candidate. These extra steps are comparable to the discovery process in more complex sales: spending time to uncover the buyer’s needs and offering a custom solution. Done properly, this procedure can actually raise the quality of people hired.

Here’s how this is done:

1. Differentiate the job.

A job isn’t a list of skills, experiences, and generic responsibilities. A job is what a person does with these skills and experiences, whom he or she does it with, and the importance of the work. A career is what the person can learn and become if the work is done well. If the recruiter and hiring manager can’t describe the work this way, they’ll lose every top passive candidate they see.

Our hiring troubleshooting guide shows a number of ways to prepare these types of performance-based job descriptions. Just as in sales: The best sales reps know what they’re selling.

2. Obtain prequalified referrals.

Because most of the best people in any field find their jobs through some referral or trusted source, recruiters need to spend most of their time getting prequalified warm referrals. This is typically how the best salespeople find their best clients, and the same is true in recruiting.

3. Slow down. Sell the discussion, not the job.

People who aren’t looking aren’t impressed with recruiters who filter on skills, don’t know much about the job, negotiate the price during the first call, and rush to close. The recruiting discovery process is more like a slow dance with the recruiter always leading.

4. Conduct a gap analysis.

The objective of the discovery process is to determine if the difference in what the company is offering and what the candidate has done represents a career move. This Job-seeker’s Decision Grid will allow you to quickly determine what it would take to position your job as a career move. The big idea: Don’t let the prospect make long-term career decisions using short-term information such as compensation, location, company name, and job title.

5. Engage the hiring manager early and often.

Truly passive prospects are unlikely to become serious candidates without first having anexploratory call with the hiring manager. Though it takes some finesse on the part of the recruiter to pull this off, the call allows the passive candidate to gain more insight about the career potential of the job without too much of a commitment. The role of the hiring manager is to entice the person to seriously consider the job.

6. Close on career growth, not compensation maximization.

When a passive candidate is first contacted, a significant compensation increase is often the primary criteria for considering a move. This becomes less important if the new job represents a true career move. Unfortunately, too many recruiters and candidates filter each other out before they ever get to this level of full disclosure. That’s why some type of formal, multistep discovery process like the one described needs to be implemented.

The customer is king, except, it seems, when it comes to hiring. In order to hire the best people possible, every step of a company’s hiring process needs to be based on how the best people find jobs and why they select one opportunity over another. Few companies have designed their hiring programs from this perspective. Most are built on the false assumption that there is a surplus of great talent and all that’s necessary is to weed out the weak. In a talent scarcity situation, this will not only fail, but it will also be counterproductive, demeaning, and costly. Hiring the best and raising the talent level of a company is not a cost; it’s a strategic investment. It’s one most companies want to make, but few know how. It starts by making the candidate the king.

 

-Courtesy: Inc.com

10 Words People Who Lack Confidence Always Use

Nine-hundred and seventy-two.

That’s the total number of e-mails I received just in May, and it’s about my average. That’s not counting the hundreds and hundreds of messages Gmail dumped into categories for promotional mail, forum posts, and social networking updates. I’ve become proficient at jumping through messages quickly (using the J and K keys), but there’s one thing I’ve mastered even more than that: spotting a lack of confidence.

I also take quite a few cold calls–people who are not really sure what I do and have not really done too much research but have me on a phone list for some reason.

In most cases, it’s a pitch about a product or someone asking a question about marketing to journalists. He or she might say he or she “usually” does something. In a few cases, it’s someone with a business idea he or she “suspects” will be perfect. Most of the time, these messages are straightforward–the sender isn’t messing around. But a few seem hesitant. I fire back a question, and the response makes me question the person’s authority on the subject.

These words are not always triggers about confidence level, but they are my first signal that something is amiss. They make me think the sender is not that sure about the product or service. And they are dead giveaways that I need to question what the person says.

1. Might

Be careful when you tell people you “might” do something. Are you sure about that? No one is asking you to solve world peace. When you say you “might” finish a report, it implies you lack some ability, don’t manage your time well, or have too many priorities.

2. Won’t

Here’s an obvious word to avoid in your emails. Anyone who says he or she “won’t” do something or “won’t” attend a meeting is generating a negative vibe. Be more decisive: Either accept an invitation or reject it; using the word won’t suggests hesitancy.

3. Usually

This is a trigger word in email that makes it obvious to everyone that you don’t have all the facts. If you say the accounting department “usually” doesn’t approve your expense report or the boss is “usually” late to work, it means you’re stretching the truth.

4. Suspect

Unless you are talking about a suspect in a trial, avoid saying you “suspect” anything. You’re not Sherlock Holmes. Just use direct terms: You know an investor is pulling out of the project, and here’s why; or you have facts to support your conclusion on a new marketing plan.

5. Impossible

I’ll bet Mark Zuckerberg has never used the word impossible in an email. The recipient will lose confidence in you quickly. State why something might be hard or difficult or just don’t agree to a course of action. Don’t bother telling people it’s impossible.

6. Worried

We all worry about the stresses of life. Telling people you are worried by email makes it seem as if you lack confidence in your abilities. If you are worried, don’t bother saying that to anyone–just express what you are concerned about and offer solutions.

7. Confused

Expressing your confusion will create even more confusion. It’s better to just say what you are confused about and ask questions. Saying you are “confused” gives people the impression that either you don’t understand something or that the topic is confusing to you.

8. Need

We all have needs in life. When you express those needs by email over and over again, it makes you look needy. I “need” you to come to work early, I “need” you to get that report done. Avoid saying “need” and express requirements more directly.

9. Quandary

Have you sent a message and said you were in a “quandary”? You should know that the word means you are in a total state of perplexity. I mean, you are really perplexed. That’s not often the case when it comes to a new business proposal or fundraising round.

10. Likely

Few of us are in the business of predicting the future. If you say something is “likely” in an email, you are expressing to the recipient that you are not really sure about the topic, and you don’t have all the facts yet. It’s likely that you just lack confidence.

-Courtesy: Inc.com

What Every Great Boss Knows (Infographic)

Getting the most out of your employees requires more than just strong leadership skills. The best managers know how to create a healthy working environment by being good listeners and building trust with their staff. 

The infographic below from Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management outlines some of the other ways to ensure strong employee-boss relationships. Becoming a great manager doesn’t require going to business school. Experience, good instincts and smart advice from a trusted source can also get you there.

Successful Managers

 

-Courtesy: Inc.com

 

5 Traits of a Micromanager (and How to Fix Them)

Everyone agrees that micromanagement is a bad thing, but not everyone knows how to identify and correct it.

In my experience, micromanagement manifests itself in the following five avoidable behaviors:

1. Measuring too many things.

The advantage of technology is that you can measure your business more accurately.  The disadvantage is that technology makes it too easy to measure too much.  Measuring so much that it’s not clear what the data really means is classic micromanagement.

What to do instead: For every job, select one or two metrics that define success for that job.  Ignore everything else.

2. Monitoring too closely.

Monitoring is sometimes confused with measurement, but the two are different.  Youmeasure data; you monitor behavior.  Monitoring becomes micromanagement if you’re always looking over employees’ shoulders.

What to do instead: Let employees request monitoring and coaching when if and when they feel the need to improve their performance.

3. Building too much consensus.

Gathering inputs before making a decision is a good idea, especially from the people who’ll be affected by the decision. However, you’re micromanaging if you end up discussing things to death before making a decision.

What to do instead: Set a deadline for the decision. Schedule a limited amount of meeting time to gather inputs.  Then make the decision by the deadline.

4. Intervening too much.

Helicopter managers are as bad as helicopter parents–they create helplessness in the people they’re trying to help. The only way that people can grow is by making mistakes, which means that the manager can’t be jumping in all the time to fix things.

What to do instead: Provide guidance when asked, but let your employees fail.  If they can’t or don’t learn from their mistakes, they’re not worth keeping as employees.

5. Setting too many priorities.

Managers confuse employees (and themselves as well) when have a list of “priorities” all of which are more or less equally important.  This creates micromanagement because that’s the only way to “keep all the plates spinning.”

What to do instead: Set one overriding priority for each employee, each team, each group and each division.  Let them sort out how to achieve that goal or objective.

-Courtesy: Inc.com

4 Reasons Why Leaders Need More Wave Makers

I’ve yet to meet a leader who is not thinking and talking about innovation, change, disruption or transformation. These are the elements of company strategy and the agenda of the typical leadership retreat.

Yet, how can the intent to change and transform be translated so that everyone in an organization is ready to make a contribution? That’s the hard part. For many leaders, this is where the breakdown occurs. 

Leaders can’t possibly know the answers to everything. It’s just not possible. And the status quo is powerful the further away one gets from the executive team meeting.

Thus, leaders need wave makers throughout a business — not at just the most senior levels — who are in the game rather than just being spectators. They are the ones, regardless of title or experience, asking, “What can I do?” Or they might inquire, “How can I help?” or consider “what if?”

During the past two years I studied the habits and impact of wave makers who started changes in their markets, communities and organizations. In my book Make Waves: Be the One to Start Change at Work and in Life, I shared the fact that changes need not start with the CEO. 

Think of a “wave” as any change that begins with a person’s decision to act and ripples outward like those patterns in the ocean. Or consider it as a transfer of energy that creates momentum and ultimately a positive impact. This may be a small decision or action at first but it gathers force like the wave in a ballpark that starts with just one person’s deciding to act and that spreads. Some waves happen inside organizations, while others sweep over a larger community or marketplace. They start with one person’s spotting a need or opportunity and deciding to initiate a change. 

Wave makers bring value by achieving results in doing the following:

1. Sparking innovation. Leaders can give inspiring presentations about the need to innovate for an organization’s future success. The hard part is passing along that philosophy to everyone who works there, not just the head of strategy or the chief innovation officer.

One such wave maker is Lois Melbourne, co-creator and former CEO of Aquire, in Irving, Texas, a company now owned by PeopleFluent. She created an environment that encouraged people at all levels to contribute and not have fear for doing so. She knew she couldn’t accomplish her goals alone. 

You’ve got to respect people for taking the risk,” she said in describing the connection between risk and innovation and creating a culture that encourages waves. “You have to give them the ability to fail and not take a hit. If an organization respects outside thought, then anyone can say, ‘Let’s try this.’ Encourage skunkworks, risk-taking, and exploration. Fear is anti-innovation.”

2. Driving up performance. It’s amazing what two or three wave makers can do to raise the performance of a group or team. For small entrepreneurs, these measures are very real and have a very personal impact on them, affecting how much they earn or whether they have the funds to invest in basic items. Performance is improved when everyone involved asks, “Is there a better way”

A few years ago, I saw the impact of a recent college graduate on a team of a professional-services company, one of my clients and a firm that had conducted business much the same way for years. She didn’t judge or criticize but she did instigate a change in that team without a big campaign to do so. She started using technology to streamline and improve access to meaningful data, made suggestions on work processes once she had a full understanding of the goals and developed new techniques for packaging information. Her actions started to change the way the group worked, while raising the bar for the entire team’s performance.  

3. Accelerating professional development. Hands down, one of the best ways to accelerate personal and professional development is by working on a “wave.”  Employees develop the most when involved in a stretching assignment or something that takes them out of their comfort zone.  

When a person works on a “wave” or an initiative never undertaken previously, he or she learns and grows at an accelerated pace because the individual can’t rely on how things have been done in the past or what’s most comfortable to do.

4. Shaking up the status quo. If leaders feel that their organization has become too stale or needs an influx of new ideas, then a wave maker can help. Is the status quo ready to be shaken up? Entrepreneurs, by definition, shake up the status quo by redefining the market through a new and better product or service. Intrapreneurs can, too. Encourage new ideas and use them.

Any new change requires an influx of new ideas for exploration and discussion. Yet, the status quo is the only option that is usually not debated. It’s the choice that becomes the “best” option without a decision ever having being made. Wave makers diminish the power of the status quo and that’s why you need them.

-Courtesy: Entrepreneur.com

A SEAL’s Perspective: 5 Ways to Be a Better Leader

Entrepreneurs aren’t average people. The average person doesn’t hedge their bets against the odds and zig while the rest of the flock chooses to zag. But having the courage and audacity to enter into an unknown market, create a brand new product or meet with new partners is exactly what leads to entrepreneurial success for the simple fact that an entrepreneur’s purpose defines them.

The desire to improve, learn and grow is intrinsic for the entrepreneur because they have found a purpose that suits their life’s mission. But remaining competitive is a daily sport, and if you fail to live up to your purpose as a leader then you run the risk of failing to lead.

After spending 13 years in the SEAL Teams, there are five lessons I want to share that can make you a better business leader (after all, sharing knowledge is power, right?).

Test yourself — daily. Leaders need challenges. They need to defy the unknown and achieve the unexpected. If this means waking up an hour earlier to work out, read the paper or just have personal time, do it. The sense of accomplishment yielded from your efforts will have a snowball effect on your self-efficacy. And remember, every day counts.

The BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training) motto of “The only easy day was yesterday” always held true because every day became harder than the last. I remember thinking to myself after enduring a conditioning run, “That was the hardest run I ever did!“ That is, until the next conditioning run, and then that run became the hardest one I ever did. The point is that every day affords an opportunity to become better than what and who you were yesterday. If you don’t take advantage of the opportunity, your competitor will.

Workout (i.e. sweat!). Having the mental fortitude to push yourself does two things: it shapes your body and sharpens your mind. It’s easy to brush off the mental component of exercise if you’re not pushing yourself, especially if you just go to the gym to talk. But if you exert yourself, breathe heavily and sweat profusely (no grunts, please), then your mind feels the same effects and raises its pain threshold, which in turn allows the body to push itself further.

In his book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, Harvard clinical professor Dr. John Ratey cites multiple studies of students’ high school fitness scores relative to their test scores, with results indicating that consistent activity positively impacts brain performance. Bottom line: The daily grind that entrepreneurs must face necessitates both a strong mind and a strong body. What the mind believes, the body achieves.

Strive to become better, not the best. In BUD/S, we did a two-mile ocean swim every week with a swim buddy in the “toasty warm” Pacific waters (the Pacific is anything but warm). In the rare chance that a swim pair were to encounter a shark, the plan was to stab your swim buddy and then swim like hell (no, really). The point is that a swimmer didn’t have to be the fastest in the water — just faster than the guy next to him. Apply this to your competition.

Demonstrate your C2Character is who you are; competence is what you can do. The confluence of these, which I call C2, is the secret sauce that turns good leaders into unforgettable people that others aspire to be.

Be humble. Nobody likes hearing the same voice over and over again. In fact, incessant talkers are what I like to call social hand grenades — throw them in a room full of people and watch the crowd disperse. Don’t be that guy (or gal) who likes to talk just to show everyone how much you know. Remember this: Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.

Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. It takes focus, determination, and discipline to push through the daily grind if you want to win. Separate yourself from the pack by practicing the fundamental leadership skills that cultivate better performance — and better business.

-Courtesy: Entrepreneur.com

6 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Every Day

Let’s face it. Business is busy.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day and just do everything as if on autopilot, without much thought for the bigger issues at stake. I have personally been in hyperbusy mode the past few weeks. In addition to this thrice-weekly column and producing a weekly radio show, I have been driving a major initiative for a new client and readying for teaching three interactive sessions at GrowCo.

There have been lots of 18-hour days. The hard work is lots of fun and very productive, but it can often feel a bit crazy as well. I keep my priorities straight in times like this with 6 simple questions that keep everything on track, including my sanity.

Throughout each packed day, I reference this list of questions and recenter to make sure I am working at my best and accomplishing in a highly productive manner. Asking yourself these questions in busy times will help you stay focused, humble, and on target.

1. Why am I here?

This isn’t a big, abstract existential question. I mean it in an immediate, practical sense. What brought me to the place(s) I am today? Motivation is key when times are hectic. I want to remind myself why I am excited to do this work and stretch myself. There are many motivating factors at play. Money, people, accomplishment, and fun all motivate me to work hard and do great work. Keeping these motivators at the forefront of my brain makes me smile and provides satisfaction with each completion. Understanding clearly how the choices I make in the heat of the moment lead to my preferred destiny helps me drive through the most challenging of times with purpose and resolve.

2. What more should I do? 

It seems odd to ask what more you can do when things are already hectic and jammed. But this question helps me identify what I might be missing in my current plan. There may be additional places where my skills and abilities will make the most difference to a project’s getting done successfully. Perhaps there are issues I have been ignoring in which my attention is needed and for which I can make a positive impact. It is actually more important to ask this question on the days that I feel overworked, because it will help me analyze where I should possibly change the force of my efforts.

3. What can I let go?

When things are moving fast, priorities can change in a day or even an instant. It’s important to reassess and make sure the tasks on my plate are the right ones for me. Some tasks that were high priority may be less important now after new data. Or others on the team may more efficiently accomplish them. Any time I can remove tasks from my list, I free up time and energy for more productive use. I can take that energy and put it toward something worthwhile. This is also a good question for clearing my head emotionally. I use this question to isolate any stress or frustration I am feeling during the day. Letting go of unproductive thoughts and feelings clears the way for a better flow of mental energy.

4. How can I be more efficient?

Necessity is the mother of invention, and I often create my best management and productivity routines when I am crazy busy. During the brief lulls of the day, I will often step back and try to find shorter, more efficient ways to complete my to-do list. Much of my creative energy is used on this question. I have no sacred cows when it comes to process. If I can find a better and faster way to accomplish something, or someone else can show me one, I will quickly change over. I love to get things accomplished, and each new efficiency creates a mental high and a smile.

5. Whom should I thank?

I am constantly aware and appreciative of the dedicated and talented people around me who do great work and contribute to our overall success. But when things are going fast, I sometimes forget to tell them how much I am grateful for their contribution. It doesn’t matter if they are people directly on my team or outsiders who stepped up to contribute. I must prioritize making them feel appreciated for their efforts. They deserve the thanks and acknowledgment more than I deserved the support.

6. How should I start tomorrow?

I generally don’t wait until the end of the day to ask this question. It’s true that every day brings its own unique challenges, and too much forward thinking can distract from the current day’s needs. But a little forward planning can ease your mind and allow you to set up structures that may make tomorrow even more productive. Waiting until 8 p.m. might prohibit having everything ready to go on a new initiative or getting others involved first thing. That being said, I will ask this again at the end of the day as I make my to-do list for tomorrow, so I can free my brain for a great night’s sleep.

You don’t have to be crazy busy to get value from these daily questions. On the slowest of days, they will help you center your mind so you can be confident, mentally free, and fully appreciative of the things you, as well as the people around you, do.

-Courtesy: Inc.com

Need Inspiration? 6 Business Heroes Worth Celebrating

An awards ceremony on Friday in Washington, D.C. recognizing accomplished entrepreneurs from across the United States capped off National Small Business Week.

The Small Business Administration honored the selected business owners with the Phoenix Award for disaster recovery, the Procurement Award for securing government contracts, and the Exporter of the Year award. Here are the winners.

The Phoenix Award is presented to business owners, public officials, and volunteers who displayed selflessness, ingenuity, and tenacity in the aftermath of a disaster, while contributing to the rebuilding of their communities.

  • Deidre Ebrey, the director of Economic Development and Marketing for the City of Moore, Oklahoma, received the Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery by a Public Official. In May 2013, a tornado ripped through Moore, a suburb of Oklahoma City. Ebrey became a central figure in the community’s recovery efforts, working with state and local officials to handle logistics like debris removal and traffic control, as well as managing the health and welfare of the disaster survivors. She also helped business owners get SBA loans and worked with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to procure recovery funding for the town.
  • Gianna P. Cerbone-Teoli, owner of Manducatis Rustica, an Italian restaurant in Long Island City, NY, received the Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery by a Volunteer. After Hurricane Sandy hit, Cerbone-Teoli’s restaurant was flooded, and she lost all her catering supplies and equipment. When the restaurant reopened, Cerbone-Teoli cooked meals and collected clothes and blankets for families affected by the disaster.
  • Lars Akerlund, the owner of FIKA in New York City, received the Phoenix Award for Outstanding Small Business Disaster Recovery. In October 2012 Hurricane Sandy nearly destroyed all five of Akerlund’s specialty coffee and chocolate cafes. Akerlund was uninsured, but applied for an SBA disaster loan and started rebuilding. By the following February he had opened a new chocolate factory and two months later reopened his other locations. Today, he has a total of 100 employees and 13 locations.

The Procurement Award honors small businesses that provide outstanding goods and services to the federal government as prime contractors or subcontractors.

  • The Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year was awarded to Indigo IT, an IT firm established in 2001 by Garcia Van Wyngaardt. Van Wyngaardt is among a small number of women who successfully run federal and defense contracting firms and an even smaller number of Latina CEOs leading multimillion-dollar companies. Indigo, which provides complex IT solutions for government agencies including the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service, has a staff of 83 employees and revenue of more than $12 million. 
  • The Small Business Subcontractor of the Year went to Vtech Engineering Corporation, a small commercial engineering firm that provides services for R&D clients from Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory to Fortune 500 companies. Vtech’s revenue has increased 60 percent since 2010. 

The Small Business Exporter of the Year Award recognizes the accomplishments of a small company that has increased export sales and profits, or found creative solutions to business challenges in exporting.

  • Baby Elephant Ears, a Cambridge, Minnesota-based company that makes multi-use headrests for babies to provide better spinal and neck alignment, won the Exporter of the Year award. Alicia Overby founded the company in 2009 by tapping into her husband’s 401(k). Now Baby Elephant Ears has annual sales of more than $1.3 million and is selling its products in more than a dozen countries. 

The SBA also recognized Billy Taylor and Brook Harvey-Taylor, the husband-and-wife founders of fragrance and beauty product company Pacifica, with the National Small Business Persons of the Year award.

-Courtesy: Inc.com

6 Ways Supersmart People Succeed

So much of business is competitive. Your market competitors are not the only people you will go up against to be successful. Sometimes your colleagues, employees, and partners will compete with you daily for power, ideas, and methodology.

In most cases, you can’t win with just brute force or resources. You have to outsmart the competition. You need to carefully consider competitors’ approach and figure out how to win the battles of ideas and acceptance, and ultimately of execution. It’s not always easy or comfortable, but great rewards rarely come to those who sit back and take no risk.

Here are six ways your supersmart competitors are working to gain advantage over you. See if you can rise above their level and defeat them.

1. They do their homework. I am constantly amazed at how many companies and people take on projects and endeavors with little research or testing. No one wants to end up with analysis paralysis, but these days, basic research requires very little time and effort. Supersmart people will spend a reasonable amount of time on the Internet or talking to the right people before formulating and advocating theories. In any given conflict, having facts and data can easily sway those on the fence and shorten an argument. A single hour of research can create provide a tenfold return in terms of efficiency and productivity.

2. They keep their ego in check. A healthy ego is certainly important to be a strong leader, but it should not be engaged at the expense of great ideas or respect from your opponents. So often I see people wrapped up in the idea of being right rather than successful. Supersmart people know there is little glory in winning the battle of ideas, only to fail because it was a poor idea. They always look for others who bring smart ideas and plans to the table and happily defer so they can learn and become smarter. That being said, they rarely give way to people who just spout ideas without practicing the previous idea. (See No.1).

3.  They reduce guessing. Speculation has its place in business and is often necessary, but as a primary form of execution, it will lead to failure more often than success. There are relatively safe ways to test almost any theory in short order.

Supersmart people will take a little extra time and effort to do as Jim Collins suggests and “fire bullets before cannonballs” so odds of success are greatly increased and resources are reserved.

4. They team up with other supersmart people. There is definite strength in numbers when competing for market share or even just a simple idea. Supersmart people know there is little glory in failing alone when you could have won together. That’s why they build a network of other supersmart people whom they can consult and partner with for greater success. Having those resources at your fingertips can give you extra advantage over someone who has to find smart people just to get started.

5. They find the shortest distance from A to B. Time and effort are almost always major factors when competing. Even when you are just battling over ideas, too much time spent going around without getting to the point will result in lost audience and supporters. Supersmart people pride themselves on efficiency. They consistently look to find ways they can get their point across or make something happen better and faster even if the method wasn’t their own idea. (See No. 2.)

6. They constantly gauge when to shift or quit. Once a path is set, people need to commit, but never to the point of going off a cliff. Blind momentum can sometimes be more dangerous in competition than just standing still. 

Supersmart people believe in constant measurement, because they know that even with the best research and planning, there are always variables that can change the situational dynamic. They work in a constant state of feedback and adjustment so they can create success no matter what fate sends their way. And as soon as total inevitable failure is on the horizon, supersmart people are the first to take responsibility and put on the brakes, even at great personal cost. That is because they know they can always work toward a smarter solution.

-Courtesy: Inc.com

The Surprising Interview Question One CEO Always Asks

To figure out if job candidates have what it takes to survive in today’s cutthroat work environment, Wayne Jackson, chief executive of the software security firm Sonatype, asks the following: Can you tell me about a time when you almost gave up, how you felt about that, and what you did instead of giving up?

In a recent interview, Jackson told The New York Times’ Adam Bryant that in asking this question, he can learn about what people do outside of work–what drives them, what they think about, what’s important–to determine whether they have “the competitiveness and the drive to get through tough problems and tough times.”

Jackson says he also uses this question to figure out if the candidate’s values and mindset are in line with his. “I tend to drift toward things where the stakes are relatively high, the dynamics are really complex, and teamwork matters,” he says. And it’s important that his employees do the same. 

So, next time you’re preparing for a job interview, don’t just think about your biggest weaknesses and where you see yourself in five years. Reflect on your moments of perseverance, and be prepared to share them with your interviewer.

-Courtesy: Inc.com