Why can’t I ever succeed?
Over the last 30 years or more, I have enjoyed the process of observing people at various stages in their career. I realized over time that there existed a clear distinction in the attitude and demeanor of those who could succeed and those who would remain mediocre or turn failures. A closer look helped identify early markers; as anyone would suspect and you don’t need a degree in clinical psychology to make this observation. For most observers, it’s the feeling of “negativity” emanating from the subject that foretells failure or mediocre existence. On the flip side it’s commonly believed that a positive infectious personality spells success. Actually both could be woefully inaccurate. Positive and infectious persons can be (become) personifications of failures and negative folk can actually turn ou#t fairly successful.
We devised a simple exercise to identify, in the early stages or for that matter at any stage, what a person is or could turn out to be? Eventually we came up with a set of 10 statements, to help identify whether the Failure Genome (FG) exists in a person. The basic assumption is, that the person undertaking the exercise, is either at the start of a career or has a career that’s plateaued.
Consider the following set of statements and (you can’t afford to lie to yourself) rate them on a scale of 1 to 5 as to how closely each reflects your personality. 1 being far from the truth and 5 being the truth or at least very close to the truth.
- I don’t plan enough, if I do, I don’t review progress consistently
- Procrastination, yes guilty as charged
- I’ve little patience for much detail, when I do it’s in bit sized time capsules
- I dislike – confrontation, and avoid them if I can
- My answers are never precise, I resort to extended explanations
- As a result Itend to over state the situation, even when things are going well
- My plans somehow consider only positive results & don’t account for
things going awry
- Believe what I think should happen will happen and confuse it for
conviction. This significantly diminishes my efforts to actualize it
- Shy away from a hard bargain; tend to walk away or beg on my knees
- Difficult to visualize what I as a successful person would look like
The questions are designed to be as simple as possible… nothing complicated or hypothetical. Hence you will find that there are just two possible outcomes from this exercise; Either you or your subject possess the FG element or not. Then comes the realisation. If you do, now could be the best time to explore ways to turn the FG switch off. But to get the best results brutal honesty is demanded of the subject.
Results are based on total score:
- 0 to 10 = Doesn’t appear to be any need to worry about your future
- 11 – 20 = Average motivation, much room for improvement
- 21 to 30 = Severe lack of Focus and commitment
- Above 30 = Need for introspection and even adopting a mentor
The exercise in itself does nothing more than establish a fact. Course corrective remedies must be deployed rigorously starting immediately, especially in the event that the score is in the C or D categories. While one could undertake this task alone, it can also be implemented by HR. The evaluation should be done over a period of time,so as to not make the questioning obvious. There needs to be adequate observation and interactions with the employee; the purpose is to decipher the under currents of his/her personality before grading each statement accurately. This is an excellent tool for Entrepreneurs as well, to use, especially in the early days of their hiring for the project.
While no such exercise can be 100% accurate, I’ve learnt that this method is a great pointer and well over 85 % on target. What do you do with the results? That’s another serious discussion, so for another time in the near future.