Fear of Failure Vs. Fear of Success — What’s the “dif” for my career?

The difference simply depends upon your mindset.  Are you more likely to think in negative terms (e.g., failure) or positive terms (e.g., success)?  Failure is on the same continuum as success.  Fear is used to mask the reality of what you’d truly love to do, be or have, and prevents us from taking responsibility for our career choices.

When people are in low paying jobs where they are miserable, and use their kids’ expenses (kids is the “politically correct” excuse right now) or other excuses for not hiring a career coach to get a much better paying job that they will love, it is a reflection of them not taking responsibility for their career.

We all have a committee of one in our head (aka ego) that loves to chatter.  This chatter reflects conscious and unconscious thought patterns, and reinforces the limiting fears and concerns.  Or, it supports the illusion that you will have a great career someday when other things change.  This keeps us from becoming responsible for our chatter and pursuing a great career: work smarter, have financial freedom, and realize our dreams now. 

If we were to delve slightly deeper into our chatter, we would find that the fear is:

  • normally a fear of the unknown,
  • not being in control of a situation,
  • being right that others are wrong, or
  • avoiding someone else’s poor opinion of us.

 If we were to delve slightly further, you would find that the true fear is:

  • not saying the right thing in an interview,
  • not having your ideas heard,
  • others not making the right decisions on your behalf,
  • not being clear about your career direction,
  • effectively dealing with difficult bosses, employees or co-workers, and/or
  • making difficult ethical decisions.

The point is that you need to get real about your true fear(s).  When you can specifically state what you fear in your job or having a career that you enjoy, then you can make a positive and profound difference.

Why?  What you focus on will expand.  If you focus on fear, it will consume you, hinder any forward movement and impede your decision-making.  If you focus on your goals and move forward with a specific plan in place, confidence will replace fear.

Steps for Positive Results:

1)     Declare a positive mantra.  This will start you thinking in a different manner.  Without doing so, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to move on to Step Two since your excuses are designed to prevent you from changing anything.

2)     Hire a coach.  WHY?  Usually you will make it harder than it needs to be to achieve results on your own.  We inevitably get in our own way.  Having a coach will support your forward progress to keep you on a positive track.

3)    Design a results oriented goal and focused action plan to move forward, and fine-tune it with your coach.  This will support your results by acknowledging your achievements and reinforcing the positive expansion of them.

 (c)Jeannette L. Seibly, 2009

 Jeannette Seibly is a nationally recognized coach, who has helped thousands of people work smarter, have financial freedom, and realize their dreams now.  Along the way, she created three millionaires.  You can contact her:  JLSeibly@gmail.com OR http://SeibCo.com

HIRING MYTHS — What you don’t know can cost you!

The challenge and cost of a hiring mistake is one of the most-discussed, most frustrating, and most misunderstood problems that our businesses can face.

If you do not know what a single hiring mistake is costing you, take the annual salary for the position and multiply by 2.5.  This number represents productivity loss, recruiting and hiring cost, training cost, liability, unemployment, and the other 101 hidden costs that we usually try not to think of, or may be aware of, when we lose an employee.   

Hiring mistakes often begin with our believing in “hiring truths” only to find that in reality they are “hiring myths!”   When we hire someone who does not fit the job, we have already begun an almost inevitable course that will end with failure—and another hiring casualty.

Myth #1:        We can hire anyone to do anything.

We believe in the illusion that we can coach, train and motivate anyone to do anything.  Unfortunately we don’t live in an ideal world.  People come into our companies with their own “version” of how to do something and whether or not they will.  Sometimes we can train them in “our” way; many times we can provide surface training.  It’s what’s underneath (a.k.a. core behaviors, thinking styles and occupational interests) that can keep them from doing the job as it needs to be done.

Myth #2:        I’ve always relied on my gut.

While using your “gut” or “intuition” can provide insight, it’s far from a perfect science.  Usually, our gut feelings are based upon past experiences; we’re trying not to hire the same (unsuitable) person we did before, or find someone as great as the person that just left for a better job.  People are like ice bergs: You only see the tip, the part they wish to show us.  However, we miss the 75% that is covered up that will make or break their success in our business.

Myth #3:        We simply hire and fire until we find the “right one.”

In the meantime, the other “right” ones have left!   The cost of personnel has gone up, quality and customer relations have declined, and your bottom line has been severely impacted! 

Myth #4:        Any assessment tool will do.

Why don’t more of us use assessments to improve our hiring (and lower turnover)? Part of the answer lies in lack of education on the topic—not many of us have even attended a single seminar on use of scientific assessment tools. Part lies in reluctance to spend any money on new processes. Part of it, frankly, is the already overwhelming load we place on the people who are doing the hiring—they are untrained.

Fortunately, the science of assessments has produced increasingly useful and valid tools. While no assessment, or even a combination of assessments, guarantees success, the same study showed that use of personality, abilities, interests, and job matching measures can raise your success rate to 75% or better.

© Jeannette L. Seibly and John W. Howard, 2006

 Jeannette Seibly, Principal of SeibCo — your partner in developing work and career strategies for selection, results and growth, We improve your bottom line!   JLSeibly@comcast.net 

John W Howard, Ph.D., owner of Performance Resources, Inc. helps businesses of all sizes increase their profits by reducing their people costs. His clients hire better, fire less, manage better, and keep their top performers.  jwh@prol.ws


OR?  Are they?  As business owners we continually hope for a perfect world where all employees have integrity, are loyal and fit perfectly into any role the company requires.

Unfortunately, it is not a perfect world.  People are unique and bring with them varying experiences, backgrounds, education and other credentials.  They also bring their own set of learning abilities, interests, and personalities!

Do we intentionally hire people who are not assets in our business?  NO!  Then how do they get hired?

We have relied on traditional hiring practices as a means of filling jobs with productive people that can cost upward to 5 times a person’s salary.

Did you know…

           …63% of all hiring decisions are made in the first 4.3 minutes of an interview?

           …Over 50% of all the resumes have false or misleading information on them?

 …to determine technical competency and interpersonal skills, we rely on interview questions such as: “What book(s) have you read recently?”  “What famous person would you like to go out to lunch with and why?”

…business owners spend more time purchasing a $35,000 piece of equipment than hiring someone at a salary level of $35,000?

How do we stop the insanity of continuing to use the same or similar counter-productive methods while expecting different results?

First and foremost, we need to get ourselves out of the way.

The problem is that we think we know enough.  After all, we have worked hard and are successful.  We believe anyone with enough drive and savvy can do what we do.  Many of us, in our efforts to be fair, expend our energies on training or coaching people to change, to fit the job.  We even try paying people more money to be productive and effective.

A better return on investment would be to discover smarter ways to screen, interview, assess, and make the right selection in the first place.   We’ve used the excuse that we’re doing all we can do legally!  However, there are a lot of gray areas in the hiring process that can legally work!

Second.  When we are hiring people, we need to be clear as to our own strengths and weaknesses.

When we hire people to do marketing, sales, and/or servicing of our clients, there is a risk that they may form stronger relationships with our clients than out company has formed. Problems may occur when this employee leaves. 

Be clear and specific about what you do best or dislike doing.  Stay in contact with your clients and/or prospects in a manner that supports them and your employees while sending a message that you care.  Having Non-Compete Agreements may help but too often they provide a false sense of security. 

Third.  Take the time to determine exactly what you need. 

Be open to restructuring or creating a job that will support your vision and mission of the company.  You may find people who have skills that can support your company, but they may not fit the traditional definition for the particular job you were looking to fill.

Fourth.  Establish a consistent procedure, and then follow it regardless of the person! 

The Director of Worldwide Security for a Fortune 500 company once said, “If the company has followed all their own written procedures, by the time final clearance for hiring is issued, there’s a .001 chance of finding out something that people didn’t already know!”

Many companies, in the hiring process, become attached to a person with whom they “connect.”  They lose their perspective when they do not follow their own policies and want to solely follow their intuition.

When we follow a well-defined selection process, we discover more about the person and they learn about us.  We are open to gathering more information by listening to others’ input (e.g., our employees, partners, customers, etc.).  We realize that there are times when our sole instincts are not the best guide.

If she or he is the right person, they will appreciate the time you have invested in determining whether or not they fit the company and job.   That starts the process of developing loyalty.

Fifth.  Be professional. 

Develop interview questions based on finding out “Can the person do the job?”  “Will the person do the job?”  “Does the person fit within this company?” 

Focus on what experience, education and background they have.  What skills can they bring that will resolve problems and issues we are experiencing in our company, industry, and/or profession?  Will they support our style of business?  Will they be:  Team-focused?  Highly competitive?  Capable of going with the flow?  Innovative?  Able to follow well established procedures?

Conduct reference checks, employment verifications, background checks, and core-value testing as well as personality and job fit assessment to ensure that your perceptions of the candidate are realistic, not idealistic.

The bottom line question for our business to truly be successful with each employee:  Is this truly the right person, in the right position, to create the right result for my business?

Fitting people into the right job reduces people-problems and provides businesses with people who are productive in jobs they love.  It supports a profitable vision of “employees are our greatest assets.”

(c)Jeannette L. Seibly and John W. Howard, PhD, 2005

Jeannette L. Seibly, Principal of SeibCo, LLC specializes in straight talk with immediate results and has been particularly successful in coaching and training business owners, their executives and managers, to achieve unprecedented results.   JLSeibly@gmail.com

John W. Howard, Ph.D., owner of Performance Resources, Inc. helps businesses of all sizes increase their profits by reducing their people costs. His clients hire better, fire less, manage better, and keep their top performers.  jwh@prol.ws

Stay Motivated During an Economic Downturn

With an economic downturn in business, you may have started feeling the pinch. Budgets have been slashed. Training and development dollars suspended. Travel curtailed. Salaries decreased. Expenses reduced.

During this time, some executives will succeed financially while others will fail. While it’s not a law of life that one must fail during a downturn, people who are afraid to learn and give it all they’ve got could find their personal financial growth negatively impacted. Those who succeed find their success depends upon their attitude and their ability to use this time as an opportunity to increase their business savvy.

When your company experiences a growth slowdown or experiences financial trouble, now is the time to improve your “business depth and breadth.” Or, your alternative is to become a job seeker. The Labor Department’s latest survey of employees found that even when the economy was still red hot, that even during the best of times, many displaced employees take a big hit. And, executives are not exempt! In fact, the rule of thumb is that the higher up the corporate ladder you go the longer it’ll take you to find another comparable position, not necessarily with the same financial renumeration!

A year or two after being laid off, over a fifth of former full-timers were either still unemployed or had left the labor force–and another 11% were either self-employed, working part-time or doing unpaid family work. Nearly 40% of re-employed workers had to change occupations to find work—and—39% back on full-time payrolls were receiving less pay than at their previous jobs (and over half of these suffered wage declines of at least 20%).

With the economy slowing down, now is the time to get yourself some executive insurance—developing your business depth and breadth, or another way of saying it: your business acumen. It can result in you staying and growing with your company or moving on, on your own terms, thus ensuring your personal financial growth.

Golden Rule #1: “IF YOU’RE WAITING FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO DO IT, SO ARE THEY!” What can you do when your company’s growth has slowed or is in financial trouble? First, and foremost, get in action NOW. What immediate challenges does the company face (whether or not you’re directly responsible for that area)? Interview different managers. Ask questions and really listen to their responses: “What are 3 issues facing us today?” “Why are these issues important?” “How do you suggest they be resolved?” “How much will it cost if we do?” “How much will it cost if we don’t?” 

Golden Rule #2: “DON’T BELIEVE IN THE NAYSAYERS.” Be careful not to fall victim to the naysayers of the company. In order for this process to work, you need to believe in your company, employees, and products/services. In asking the questions from Golden Rule #1, a common theme/issue will emerge. Investigate with outside people. Ask them their thoughts and opinions. Then get into action, put together a plan. Now is NOT the time to wait until all the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed.

Golden Rule #3: “DON’T KILLTHE MESSENGER IN WORD OR IN ACTION.” Review with people, from within your company as well as outside of your company, your outline of the solution. Really listen to their ideas and whenever possible incorporate their ideas and thoughts. What do they like? What don’t they like? What alternatives could they provide? Don’t be afraid of brainstorming. True synergy will result in a better solution. Can they at least live with the plan even though it’s not ideal? Remember to listen to their rationale, even when you don’t agree. Ask for their help. If they’re not willing to, move on. [Remember, part of the reason your company is in its’ economic state is due to blaming it on external factors and not being responsible internally for moving projects forward, improving customer service, closing prospective sales, etc.]

Golden Rules #4, #5, & #6: “HAVE THE GUTS TO FAIL (do the best you can “by when” you say you will) … AVOID PERFECTIONISM (it can always be done “better”) … DON’T WAIT FOR ALL THE FACTS (there will always be more).” Establish 3-month goals. Hire a coach or consultant (YES, find the money) that will keep you on track and moving forward. This will keep you out of the quagmire that internal thinking has already gotten you into. It’ll be the best money ever spent.

Golden Rule #7: “NOT EVERYONE IS GOING TO AGREE WITH YOUR GOALS: BE CLEAR, BE CONSISTENT AND FOLLOW-THROUGH, THEY’LL COME AROUND.” Now is the time to stay focused on sales and delivering products and services on time and within budget. It’s not time to worry about the carpeting. Nor the new system you believe will save time someday. Curtail unnecessary spending. Stay focused on having money coming in the door while ensuring the highest quality of products/services are meeting customers’ needs.

Golden Rule #8: “BE WILLING TO LEARN YOUR LIFE LESSONS NOW INSTEAD OF WAITING FOR TOMORROW.” Remember to stay focused on achieving the results. You may need to layoff people. Many companies put this dreadful task off too long or jump at it too quickly to save a few bucks sacrificing future growth. This will require a level of objectivity that most managers fail to use and can be a very uncomfortable process. It can also become a turf war. The bad news is that you may win the battle, but ultimately you’ll lose the war if you’re not truly looking from a bigger picture. Ask questions: What happens with different projects if we cut those employees now? How do those projects impact the bottomline? Which employees are most versatile? Which employees have the best skills? Which employees work best with customers, internally and externally? These are the employees you need to keep. They may not be the employees you like best! You’ll learn a life lesson of being able to work with anyone at anytime, anywhere, under any circumstance. 

For instance: I have a client that did not like his boss. And, if I had told this client a year ago, when I began working with him, that he’d enjoy working with his difficult boss, he wouldn’t have hired me. We made extraordinary process, he was the only one achieving all of his goals in a $150MM company. During this process I suggested he talk with his boss about how to work better with him and apologize if necessary for anything he had not done to support the boss or the department. As a result of that meeting, he changed his attitude toward his boss, and vice versa. They became great allies. Also, his employees now liked his boss! His life lesson? He’s able and capable of working with anyone at anytime; and this is well recognized throughout his company.

Golden Rule #9: “HAVE FUN AND ENJOY YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS WELL AS THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF OTHERS.” There are no guarantees that if you follow all these “Golden Rules” that you’ll keep your current job, your company will succeed or stay in business. A benefit however is that you’ll learn to move forward with ease. You’ll learn valuable lessons about yourself, your relationship with goals and achieving them, and how to work effectively with different types of people to get the job done on time and within budget. Now is also the time to celebrate your successes and others’ achievements. While you’ll need to keep your primary focus on the company and achieving these goals, make sure to take a couple of hours weekly (for early morning breakfasts or after work meetings) to ensure your network is working in the event you need a job. Follow these Golden Rules and the possibility of multiple job offers, either from within or from other companies, will appear.

(c)Jeannette L. Seibly, 2003

Avoid Executive Derailment

Many of us say we are committed to being successful in our life and career.  Yet, 40% to 60% of high-level corporate executives brought in from outside a company will derail in their careers within two years.  Why do they fail so quickly (normally between seven and nine month in the job)?  (Liberum Research’s analysis of North American public companies) 

Are you one of those executives who has “failed”?  Are you confused as to why?  Do you conveniently blame the company, industry, perceived biases (e.g., age, gender, etc.)? 

If you are concerned about your future as an executive (think, yes I should be), now is the time to get yourself some executive insurance by taking responsibility for your career.  Invest your time and money in yourself, while achieving the results your Board of Director’s require.

Stop talking about it.

Be a solution provider.  How?  First, and foremost, get in action NOW.  What challenges is your company facing (whether or not you’re directly responsible for that area)?  Interview different managers by asking questions and really listening to their responses:  “What are 3 issues facing us today?”  “Why are these issues important?”  “How do you suggest they be resolved?”  “How much will it cost if we do?”  “How much will it cost if we don’t?”

Do not buy into the negativity.

There’s a reason you were hired to move the company forward.  Falling victim to the negative “clique” of the company will only ensure the status quo.  As you are talking with people about the issue(s), a common solution will emerge.  Be careful not to jump too quickly without investigating other alternatives with Board members, employees, industry experts, etc..  Get their thoughts and opinions.  Then get into action, put together a plan.  Now is NOT the time to wait until all the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed.  

Truly listen to all ideas.  Don’t kill the messenger of bad news.

Share with the people your outline of the solution.  Really listen to their ideas and whenever possible incorporate their ideas and thoughts.  If you don’t, you will probably derail your career.  What do they like?  What don’t they like?  What alternatives could they provide?  Don’t be afraid of brainstorming.  True synergy will result in a better solution.  If they don’t like it, can they at least live with the plan even though it’s not ideal?  Remember to listen to their rationale.  If they’re not willing to make a decision, they may prove to be a detriment in the future. 

There is no failure if you’re moving forward. 

You need to believe in the process of designing, developing and implementing the solution(s) necessary.  You’ll either achieve the results you’ve declared, or not.

Get started by establishing three and six month goals now.  Develop action plans and assign responsibilities.  As you move forward, new facts will emerge.  Keep on track by focusing on the end results, without overlooking the obvious concerns.  Hire a coach or consultant (YES, find the money) that will keep you on track and keep you out of the quagmire that internal thinking has already gotten the company into.  It’ll be the best money ever spent.

Not everyone wants to win, even if they say they do. 

People’s actions speak louder than their words.  Now is the time to stay focused on the goals, actions to achieve those goals, while delivering products and services on time and within budget.  It’s not time to worry about the carpeting.  Nor the new system you believe will save time someday.  Or other derailments people will create since they are not comfortable with change.   Stay focused on ensuring the highest quality of products/services are meeting customers’ needs.

 Having the right people in the right job will ensure success.

This is paramount.  You may need to re-assigned job duties to ensure greater success for the company, and job satisfaction for your employees.  Do this in a progressive manner, while ensuring the person is the right person for the position or assignment.   This will require a level of objectivity by using valid assessments designed to show thinking styles, core behaviors and occupational motivations.  Have “straight conversations” designed to support employees in their careers by honoring their strengths.  Develop training and development to support them in becoming effective in their weaknesses.  Remember people don’t change core behaviors. 

Be clear as to how others view you, as well as your inherent strengths and weaknesses.  Leaders who are able to hold their employees accountable for the necessary results are usually the ones that have the respect of their employees, and Board of Directors.  You’ll learn that your attitude about your employees will determine your success! 

Example:  A client had great dreams and goals.  His employer and  family were all on board to help him achieve them.  However, he would always believe the maybe someday, three to five years down the road, he could have them.   With the help of his coach, he clarified his inherent strengths and weaknesses.  He  now manages from those strengths, while allowing his coach to support him in diminishing his weaknesses.  He’s aware of what “gets in his way;”  and, honors his commitment by blasting through those excuses.  He’s a great example for his employees to achieve what they want to have in life, and he loves living his dream.   His boss is very happy!

Enjoy your success, and the accomplishments of your employees.

Enjoy success now, even if you haven’t fully achieved the end result.  Remember, life and goals are a process.  During this time, you’ll learn valuable lessons about yourself, your relationship with goals and how you go about achieving them.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2007

About the author:  Jeannette Seibly is a nationally recognized coach, who has helped 1000’s of people achieve unprecedented results.  She has created three millionaires.  You can contact her:  JLSeibly@gmail.com OR http://SeibCo.com