Fred was an excellent marketer. He always checked to see what would be helpful. He wanted to meet needs. When thinking about character he prefaced his thoughts with these words: “I checked around a little bit and found people are interested in this subject, so I decided to make a few notes about ideas utilized over the years for building an organization.”
Diagnosis and Prescription
Jim Cain, the eminent Mayo Clinic physician, once told me the greatest diagnosticians are the ones who know the most symptoms. I think this carries over into character evaluation, as well. The more we know of strengths, weaknesses, especially in values structures the more we are able to test the waters. And the more likely we will have an accurate reading.
Many question the morality of testing, whether formal or informal. I believe they are neutral. We have to discipline our motives when using them. They are simply attempts to come to an honest evaluation.
Let me share three areas I test for. I will give you more later, and a list of red flags to notice.
1) Self-interest. I probe to ascertain the depth, intensity, and preoccupation with a person’s self-interest. You have to create a question or environment which takes them off guard to test for this. For example, a friend called me asking how my thinking on how he could handle a particular stock deal. He had a great deal of profit in it. I suggested he gift it. I got the long, long pause because he had never made a gift of this size before. I wasn’t judging him – just testing to see his reaction to the idea of gifting. I was looking to see how he saw things. I wanted to see the value he put on things and the priority he gives them.
2) Self-righteousness. I look for the degree of self-righteousness. It generally shows up in the reaction to humor or dramatics. A young man came to see me, telling me about his sermons on Martin Luther. He waxed eloquently on how he wish he could have been there with Luther so he could have stood and cheered. I looked at him and thought of the incongruity of this man who stood in a North Dallas pulpit in a three piece suit versus the slings and arrows of accusation thrown at Martin Luther.
3) Stress. We generally show our true nature when under stress. Who we are and what we do are usually consistent with our fundamental selves. When problems come some people will consistently run, duck, or pass on responsibility. For example, a woman told me of worked for a man who refused to hear anything negative because it upset him. He wanted to take the bows, but not the hard licks. On the other hand, I have known many executives whose gold was refined in the fire. When the filters are removed, we are who we are!
This week think about: 1) How do I evaluate possible hires? 2) How important is character in my assessment of a fit? 3) How well do I do on these three tests?
Words of Wisdom: “When the filters are removed, we are who we are!”
Wisdom from the Word: “For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7 NET Bible)
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