Ambition, subject of our last blog, highlighted that ambition was the key indicator of success in sales people. Yet, couldn’t this be true for all types of hires? Think about it. Do you want to hire people who you have to push up the hill every day? Wouldn’t you prefer to hire people who show up each day internally motivated to achieve?
I wish I had a dollar for every time a business owner told me that they want to find people who think and act like themselves. Ok, let’s think about that for a moment . . . what are a few of the key traits that most business owners possess? Would it be a fair statement that most business owners are driven, ambitious, and perhaps assertive people? Probably so.
Most business owners are driven to achieve. They know how to set goals and achieve them. And, they know how to block and tackle obstacles to deliver results.
Yet, here is the crux. The majority of the population are not driven, ambitious, assertive people. And the minority who do have these traits have a lot of career options available to them so are in hot demand.
Here are three reasons why hiring people with drive and ambition may not work in any role.
1) Business owners like to be the boss. They like to direct. In fact, many business owners like to control their environment and the people in it. If you are a General leading your men into battle, you probably need some well-trained soldiers to follow your lead. People who question your every move or decision could jeopardize your mission. Thus, a good team probably should not be comprised of all leaders.
2) Some positions don’t require leadership. Certain positions attract people who are not naturally driven, ambitious, or assertive. For example, many administrative, operational, or accounting positions are filled by people who prefer to be in the balcony and not in the front row. They don’t want the limelight. They don’t want to lead. They just want to do their jobs well.
3) Some folks don’t want to lead. Some positions are best performed by people who are not naturally driven, ambitious or assertive. Matching a position behavioral style with the wrong individual behavioral style can lead to dysfunction. Either the work doesn’t get done the right way or the person doing the work becomes very unhappy doing work that is not natural to their behavioral style.
A client recently needed to hire a key person with drive, ambition and assertiveness. Yet the position, as a general rule, attracts people who like to follow rules, not make them. As expected, about 95% of the candidates sourced did not meet the desired profile. After a long and arduous search initiative, the right candidate was found. Yet, it was like finding a needle in a haystack.
The moral of the story is that not everyone can “think and act” like a business owner. And, having those expectations are unrealistic. However, you can identify people who are higher up on the scale in your “business owner” traits, yet still prove to be good foot soldiers. This may make your search more difficult, yet possible with the right sourcing strategy, assessments tools and a fair amount of patience.