Most People are Almost Fits at Best

almost fit heads.jpg

Business problems are largely people problems. And, in the same vein, business is people.

Yes, you can automate. That’s easier than dealing with people. Machines, software and automation follows rules, logic and functionality.

But people don’t fit what the job usually requires. They are almost fits at best. They don’t come in the specific shape, size, function and consistency your jobs require.

This is why it is critical to gauge a person’s preferences and strengths. At least you will start with an understanding of the likely behaviors and bents that you can come to expect to see.

If your business has critical roles to fill and a lot of risk for non-performance, then evaluating a person’s inclinations is a small investment. It’s costly to discover the nature in a person further down the road and realize the almost fit you were hoping for is not even a fit at all.

I am not sure people change much. Most people are characteristic. When you talk about your friends, you don’t see them becoming a 180 of themselves. They behave consistently. So it is with the talent you recruit and manage. There’s a latitude to their growth and change, but not something dramatic altogether.

When it comes to getting work done – sales made, projects out the door, ideas that stick, etc. – you can lose a lot of money and time if your team members don’t fit what’s required.

It’s painful. And it’s real. I’ve heard the story repeatedly from business owners.

Expect most people are almost fits at best. But test to see how misaligned they are for the requirements you objectively have for your business. Hope is a poor strategy. A little foresight, process and quantitative evaluation can go a long way towards seeing if you have a close enough fit vs. someone far off the mark.

Can you be a better hirer of talent?

Be Dangerous But Disciplined

This interview with a navy seal breaking down a part of human nature with a renowned clinical psychologist is fascinating. This podcast interview between Jocko Willink and Jordan Peterson takes a look at how civility occurs. We want dangerous people that are disciplined. It’s a temperament and a part of keeping the peace in society and the world.

Being undisciplined can wreak havoc.

We need good guys that apply discipline. And the discussion has humility with assertiveness from both gentlemen.

Some things I find helpful:

  1. Your context, where you choose to play, will cast a value on your nature. Pick a valid game to be within.
  2. Warriors with discipline can direct and apply their immense strength. It’s worth being disciplined to handle the evil and adversity in the world, if not for yourself, for others.
  3. Don’t mess with Navy Seals:)

What would happen if you apply more discipline to your nature? 

Do What You Are


When I find people unhappy in their work and listen to what’s dissatisfying them, the usual issue is that they are not doing what they are. It’s no secret most people hate their work. But why persist in misery when there is all this choice out there? You have one option. And then there are a ridiculous amount of options at your fingertips to move to.

But it does take strategy and intentionality. You have to be cognizant and articulate of who you are, how your brain works vs. those around you. There are things that you will excel at and things that will totally stress you out.

When you work within your makeup and groove, life and work gets easier and enjoyable. I know this because I have seen it firsthand so many times over many years working with so many clients and teams. It’s about alignment. And if you are not aligned, you simply struggle to bring your best. It’s stressful. And stress kills.

You can keep going the way you are, but something inside you tells you that things are not right. That’s your gut. Listening to your gut is good business. There’s a reason that voice is there.

What can you do?

  1. Get honest about whether you are happy or not doing what you do.
  2. Get clear and precise about who you are with a strengths test.
  3. Identify opportunities on LinkedIn and all the job sites out there to find what does fit your strengths.
  4. Take action and change towards what brings out your best.

Happiness is an indicator. It’s part of your gut, which again, is a valuable business barometer.

There are just too many good opportunities out there and you have so much freedom to go after it. Why waste time doing anything less than who you are?

You’re Not Good At It


Here’s the paradox of a blind spot – you can’t see it. It’s a blind spot.

What if you can’t see that you are simply not good at something? You have put in enormous effort and time, but you are still blind.

Perhaps you can notice when someone else does the very same things you pursue with much less effort. They are good at it. You are not.

It doesn’t mean you are less of a person. You are simply working in your weaknesses. It’s a waste of time.

The goal of business is not to be right. It’s to get results. And if you are struggling to get results because you insist on being good at something you are not, then you are headed for frustration, wasted time and much opportunity cost.

It’s hard to swallow that you are not good at something when you want to think of yourself as good at it. Your ego becomes your enemy for it keeps you from being honest and focused on results.

That American ethos, “You can become anything you want if you work hard at it,” is a lie. You can work hard at something and the best you can become is mediocre.

Unfortunately, in a division of labor economy, mediocrity does not get rewarded, especially when there are plenty of more talented people doing the same things you pursue.

Some things really come easy for me. Speaking, writing, setting goals, creating clarity. These are easy for me. I don’t have to work that hard at it. I have put in plenty of time, but I always found that I got results and I don’t struggle through these things.

Many other things take a lot more stress and work with less results. There’s people I know that are rock stars at these things. There’s better managers, counselors, visual artists, and tacticians. I would much rather partner with them on projects than try to become them. What’s the point if I really care about results?

Are you working on projects that you find are not getting anywhere? We have a society where 70% of employees admit they are not happy in their job. They are simply showing up. Anyone simply tell them they are not good at it? Imagine the liberation that most workers would experience if they were simply honest with themselves.

Then you could take more notice of the things that you are good at naturally. Go there instead. You get better results with less effort. You can start building on something instead of simply trying to make money or satisfy your ego.

I’m not saying that hard work does not have its place. However, if you have been working hard at something and always struggling and not getting results, can you get honest?

What if you admitted to yourself, “I’m not good at this.”

You can stop the madness and start solving the problem by getting out of the way and focusing on results as the main goal. It’s ok not be good at something. And it’s ok to admit it.

Breaking Through Your Glass Ceiling

glass ceiling in your business
If you are reaching your limits of growth, you may need something more to break through

If you have worked in corporate environments, then you may have heard about career glass ceilings. It’s where your skills, influence or situation prevent you from getting promoted any further in the pyramid structure on the org chart. Something is limiting you, whether yourself or your environment.

If you are a business owner, you may experience this problem when you find yourself working tirelessly in your business, but aren’t experiencing real growth. Furthermore, the stress and headaches persist and amplify over time.

The symptoms of glass ceilings show up in such things as a revolving door of talent and continual crisis in your business. It may also be a lag or struggle in sales or a lack of consistent execution and delivery on your services.

You may not be able to scale your business, or you are continuing to tread water while your competition is thriving.

Something is not clicking. You may fret and try harder, but if you look back over the last year or several years, you are still working harder without any breakthrough to show for it.

A chronic and predictable problem over time means that you are not doing something that can have an impact and create the success you desire. It’s easier and addictive to accommodate the pain than do what is necessary to break through.

What You Are Missing

When you find yourself unable to break through a glass ceiling despite your persistence and best efforts, then you can either continue or change.

Here’s the issue. You are likely in the way. Your talent and strengths have allowed you to get where you are. It is something to celebrate for sure. But the way you see the world and solve problems are hitting up against the constraints of the universe.

There is someone out there with talent that can augment your strengths and break through that glass ceiling.

If you can’t scale your business but you are a natural salesperson, then partner with an operations guru.

If you can’t generate demand but you have your service process humming, then seek out someone that can make deals.

If you seem to have uninspired people on your team, then bring on a manager that can run the daily grind.

I’m not sure why it’s not obvious to people. Perhaps we are just too busy, and the status quo seems easier than change. When I consult with clients, it’s not always apparent, but the glass ceiling problem is common.

We all have blind spots, and we all need others that complete our strengths with their own.

You may think that your current pain is normal. We have a way of becoming accustomed to what is not working and calling it normal.

But, when you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, then taking action to overcome your limitations may seem bold, but it is ultimately logical for smart business people. Know your strengths and celebrate how those talents have gotten you to where you are at.

Then shatter that glass ceiling by partnering with people that naturally catalyze and thrive where you tend to struggle.

You may be looking for a shiny new tool or waiting on some breakthrough opportunity to change things. But that click moment will likely happen when you complement your weaknesses with others’ strengths.

What could you take action on right now to shatter your glass ceiling?

If You Don’t Know Who You Are

Knowing who you are and what your limits are is critical for true success.  We all have limits.  It is quite apparent when you observe people.  Imagine some of your closest friends and their characteristics.  You have an expectation of what they will be like on a consistent basis.  They play out their scripts pretty predictably.

Likewise, you are the same.  There is predictability with the way you approach things.  We like to think we are not.  However, we tend to have a poor measurement of our own value and worth.  It is often inaccurate.

I have worked with many types of people and one of the key ways we work on systems and processes for growing a business is measuring talent.  This is done through a strengths test.  From this test, there is analysis done on behaviors and thought patterns which are quite revealing to my clients.  It helps them understand not only how they see and engage with the world, but also how others engage them.

The goal is to help each person know who they are and step into their strengths while mitigating or avoiding their weaknesses altogether.  Living and working in your strengths is both energizing and harmonious.  You can find great fulfillment by living out who you are instead of trying to make yourself be something you are not.

Furthermore, you can make decisions which allow you to operate in your sweet spot rather than your weak spot.  If you lack this clarity and knowledge, then a lot of time, energy and expense can be wasted.  You may be in a fruitless cycle in life rather than building something worthwhile.  Your strengths are not aligned with your work.

The successful people I know tend to have a very good feel for who they are.  They operate from this core self-awareness and are quite comfortable with who they are and are clear on where they are going.

If you feel stuck, hate your job or want something more, I want to encourage you to take the step which I know has empowered many of my clients to get laser focused and produce higher results.  Take a strengths test.  Understand who you are and who you are not.  Then live in that space with freedom and clarity.  At the end of the day, we all have the same amount of time each day.  Using it for wasteful work can deteriorate opportunities.

Do you feel like you know who you are?

When It’s Not Showtime

There was a telling comment made a few years ago by famed NBA basketball star, Allen Iverson. He revealed his perspective about practice, “We’re talking about practice man, we’re not even talking about the game, when it actually matters, we’re talking about practice.”

At that time, Iverson was the MVP of the National Basketball Association. He erred with his comments. He did not see the connection between excellence developed through repetition and showtime. Continue reading

It’s No Big Deal

You may feel this way about things that are easy for you—it’s no big deal; anyone could do it. Be careful of the wrong thinking. The things that you find are “not a big deal” are things you earned because of:

1. Hard Work: You spent the hours probing, exploring and figuring out how something works. This may be learning how to navigate your computer, mastering your camera, building gadgets, or dissecting financial statements. The repetition and frequency is something you have done over time to gain an efficiency and mastery.

2. Passion: Do you know what most people are doing this evening? They are in front of the TV. My guess is that you are doing something you are passionate about. Do you know what I am doing? I am learning. I love learning. I am passionate about it. I am not passionate about vegging for Continue reading

Born Not Made

I see the frustration every day. It comes from people believing a myth. The myth is, “If I just keep working harder at it, I can master it.”

It is the American ethos which sounds noble, but it is a lie. There are many things that we all can work very hard at and the best we can hope for is mediocrity. If there were a scale ranging from 1 to 10 with 10 being the best, you land somewhere on that scale in various areas of your life. You can only move up 2 points on that scale with hard work.

For example, if you are a 4 at jumping, then working hard will make you a 6. People will not show up to watch you high jump. You will become obscure. However, if you were a 7 at throwing, hard work will help you become a 9. Throwing a ball may lead to a major league career. People pay for a 9. Continue reading