All of us have contemplated what makes a great employer or employee. Of course you must first put in to context the definition of excellence and by whose standard that expectation is defined. This is not easy to do since it is all relative to the person proposing the question.  Is great based on an amount of money, awards or some other monetary reward? What if it is just based on a feeling? After all, most business mistakes are the result of being lead down the wrong road by our emotions. In fact, these so called mistakes are not mistakes at all. They are actually poor decisions. The problem with calling them decisions is that someone must then take ownership of those choices.

When we make great choices we have no problem claiming credit, however, when it comes to those that had less than desirable conclusions we mentally move back into the corner and paint over the situation with words like “a mistake” After all it is much easier to repel or deflect something if it was a mistake.  By using words like “poor choice” we are accepting responsibility and this means we now own it.

I am confident most have heard someone who has remarked on how they make important decisions using their “gut feeling”. Really? Can you imagine going in for a critical operation and the surgeon telling you just before surgery, “I am going to use my gut feeling to see you though this complex procedure?” I can hear the trial attorney cash register ringing up as they prepare their law suit. A “gut feeling” is often something you have before you remove an organ from your body. For those who choose to use this lack of logic to run a business I am pretty sure removal of something or more likely someone is pretty much the unintended outcome.  Again, by using the term “gut feeling” the person feels they are in a better position to deflect from ownership of their own mistakes. Maybe a better word is denial.

The first step to achieving greatness is realizing you have weaknesses. This means not only owning up to your mistakes but a taking ownership. I was once told by a very successful business owner that he kept his fist dollar he earned on the wall of his office to remind him of how he had to return the money based on a poor decision he made. In taking this action he was accepting responsibility to the point that 40 years later he was stilling reminding himself not to make the same poor choice.

I think whether we are the employer or the employee, a spouse or a parent our level of success will come not only from making good choices but from taking ownership of the bad ones. It is not enough to have a moral compass to navigate the world of business. In order to get where you are going you must first realize where you are at. If you are a recruiter, HR generalist or hiring manager, do you use your “gut feeling to determine who will be the best person for the job. Do you look for a so called “corporate fit” (which is a buzz word for emotional decision) ask trick questions to arouse emotion, hire because they made you feel good or captured your senses? Or do you study your candidate, investigate even the answers you did not agree with to determine credibility, put blinders on to the way they looked and focus purely on their abilities? The sad truth is that over seven out of ten placements were based on emotion and not a surprise the same ratio is true of the number of employees that leave their employer within the first year.

I read a story years ago about a new employee who cost the company $250,000, I don’t remember all the details, but what I do remember is what happened next. The boss called him in to the office. So the new employee came in with a box filled with his personal belonging. When asked by the owner why he had those in hand the owner became furious. Here is the part I will never forget. He asked the new employee, “I have just invested $250,000 in your education and this is the way you are going to repay me, by leaving?”

So, what  if your recruiter is not hiring sustainable employees then someone is to blame. Is it the candidate? Considering the fact that most employees will select a job out of security and stay with that job for the same reason over all others, I doubt it.

This next question is a little harder. Was the hiring of that person a mistake? Nope. This is why it is called a hiring decision and not a hiring mistake. Someone within the company is responsible for the final result based on their decisions. Was it the recruiter, the hiring manager or maybe the HR generalist or manager? If you are the owner and you did nothing to set an environment to prevent it the blame rest squarely on your shoulders. If you are the manager and you did not take responsibility to change the situation it is also your fault and the same goes all the way down the chain of command. So before you complain your employer is not doing all they can or your employee isn’t doing all they can maybe the place to start is by taking ownership of the poor decision and hanging it on the  wall in your memory.

Most successful business people will openly admit  their poor choices  were an important part of their success. Not many are going to start bragging about it or go on and on, however without it they would never have arrived at their level of success.

We all have choices to make almost every second of our life. some simple or almost on auto but none the less they are choices. We actually make far more good decisions in a day than bad ones. So when it comes to owning up to the poor decisions keep in mind you are batting an unbelievebale average of good to bad, so you can afford a few here and there, In other words, lighten up on yourself and learn from your choices.

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