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I trusted my gut and blew it

I trusted my gut and blew it

May 15, 2016

"Listen to your heart." "Trust your gut." What a load crock!

How many movies have you seen, songs have you heard, and books have you read that overtly or covertly tell you to "listen to your heart" or "trust your gut"? I can predict when Disney movies will get to the climax where the lead character makes the dramatic decision to "follow his heart."


There's a lot to be said for listening to your intuition. In fact, one of the most successful, confident leaders I know told me explicitly, "my gut has served me well."   


But trusting your gut is a "feel good" message. It's only partially true. When comes to business you have to know when to trust your gut and when NOT to trust your gut.  


Listen up, because there's one area where trusting your gut is downright dangerous. It costs businesses millions of dollars worldwide and hours of wasted time and aggravation. And wild part is that leaders have no clue what they're doing wrong. It's totally counter-intuitive.


I can tell you because I nearly blew it myself. I fell into this trap and almost missed an incredible opportunity because I trusted my gut.


Here's what happened. We have a group of fantastic mentors who are instrumental in helping our members grow. The mentor-member match is really important to nail to ensure a successful engagement. Four years ago we had a great new member. He had a lot of potential and we were excited to get him started.


I had a quiet, reserved mentor and was totally reluctant to match him with this member. I didn't think he was dynamic or charismatic enough. My gut told me it was all wrong and they would fail miserably.


But luckily I was saved. Another team member jumped in, saw through my bias and we match the two together. They've been working together ever since and have become one of the most successful mentor-member pairs we've ever had.


This mistake which I'm about to share is perhaps the single greatest mistake leaders make when expanding their team.


Nearly every leader we work with complains about finding and retaining the "right employees." It's one of the biggest pain points that we see, and it a vicious cycle. Without the right people in place it's impossible to grow, and without growth it's difficult to attract and afford the "right people."


But they're doing it all wrong. They're making this one major mistake and it's costing them big time.


They trust their gut when they hire, so they hire people like them.


Before you jump on me, let me explain. There's a rule in life which goes like this: we like people who are like us. We naturally gravitate towards those with common interests, backgrounds, social status, and personalities.


Every marketer will tell you that the image to portray in your marketing should be similar to that of your target market. Why? Because people resonate with those who are similar to them. They're more likely to see themselves buying a product that a peer, or "could-be-peer" bought. That's why you'll never see an ad (or a successful ad) for an arthritis medication with an image of a 10 year old on the cover.


We have a huge testimonial page on our website because everyone wants to find themselves in our previous members.


Years ago we had member named Dr. Barry Lyncka who is a cosmetic surgeon. We did a promotion for him which was extremely successful. After, we started getting all sorts of requests from other doctors because they saw our success with someone they could relate to. They saw themselves as another potential Dr. Lyncka. They didn't relate to our success with a landscaping company the same way.  


Not only is there an "like of the alike", but there's actually a "dislike of the unlike." It's the reason why the English hate the Scotts (and vice versa) and why the Hutus hate the Tutsis. Thousands of wars have been fought and people killed simply because they're different. We like familiarity, and apparently we like it a lot.


But this isn't an article about political correctness. It's about your company's success. It's about building and growing a powerful Team on Fire.


So here's the big problem with hiring people who are like you: your company needs diversity.

Difference in your organization isn't just a good idea or a nice social statement, it's absolutely vital to your bottom line. Nearly every successful team we've worked with has had a unique balance of different talents, skills and personalities. This enables them to play off of each others' strengths and compensate for their weaknesses.


So how do you objectively find the "right employee"?


to the first step in our newly published 4 Step Hiring Cheat Sheet and get the tools to look beyond your bias and objectively hire your Team on Fire.


Think about it: if you're a classic entrepreneur, you're a extroverted, go-getter, risk taker. When you recruit and interview candidates, you'll subconsciously gravitate towards those with a similar personality type. You'll be impressed with their creativity and big picture mindset. But here's the problem, let's say you're hiring a CFO. Those are not necessarily the skills and personality type that's best suited towards that position. But because you're biased, you may miss out on hiring the real "right person" as you immediately dismiss him because he's so dramatically different than you.


*CLICK HERE to find out the surprising technique that nearly 80% of Western European companies use to beat the hiring bias.*


Daniel Cable, the author of Change to Strange takes this one step further. Not only do you need different types of people in your workplace to create a powerful team, but you need workplace diversity to create a unique brand.


In order to stand out and beat competition, you have to be strange. Now, "strange" isn't an external show like having a ping-pong table in the office, it's about having the courage to go outside of your comfort zone and be different. It's about not fitting in. It's about having a Big Zig.  


Being dramatically different and "strange" goes from the inside out. It starts with your employees and your workplace culture and trickles out to your customers. Having the right "strange" people in place is the first step towards having a unique, "wowing" product and brand.


Take Rick, a Brand Launcher member and his employee, Tyler.* Rick is the classic conservative boss. He wears button downs and thrives on stability. He was expanding his team and needed a designer. One day, Tyler walked into his office for an interview. He was wearing ripped jeans, was tattooed and had an earring.


There was NO WAY Rick was going to hire a guy like that! He was totally NOT in line with their culture! But instead of dismissing Tyler immediately, Rick took him through their screening process. He passed all of the tests, so Rick hesitantly hired him "on probation."


Tyler hit it out of the ballpark. He was a great addition to the team and helped them reach heights that they previously thought were impossible. He moved his way up the ranks and now actually is in charge of hiring and training new employees.


This only happened because Rick was able to get his personal bias out of the way and use an objective method to find the right employee.


*Names and details have been changed to protect our member's privacy.


So here's the deal:

Our intuition shouldn't be ignored or stifled. It's real and it's important to pay attention to when recruiting and hiring. If your intuition tells you that a candidate is dishonest, you'd better check that out!


BUT, it cannot be the guiding force in the decision making process. Otherwise, you'll end up with a bunch of employees whom you like, but may not be the employees you need for a Team on Fire.

The goal isn't to get rid of the human element of the hiring process. We're people, not machines. The goal is to have an objective way to assess your candidates so you choose the real "right employee."


So how do you objectively find the "right employee"?


to the first step in our newly published 4 Step Hiring Cheat Sheet and get the tools to look beyond your bias and objectively hire your Team on Fire.


Taking you from where you are to where you want to be,

Jon Goldman