Is it never too late to turn around? Robert Ricciardelli put up a quote on LinkedIn that I want us to think about more.
No matter how long you have traveled in the wrong direction, you can always turn around.
First, I think we all need to look at our lives and figure out where we need to turn around even if we have been doing something the same way for a long time. It is often late to change, but it is always good to turn around. For example, I interviewed to get the right gut feel for a long time and changed to be data driven which was a big change. See also 6 Ways of Doing Business in China
We need to foremost be available to get feedback from others and hear them. Then we need to get serious and change. Telling others is often good accountability for us to keep after the change.
Do Not Expect Your Hires to Turn Around
Second, have you considered what it takes to change your character or bad habits of various kinds? I have little success in changing the character of people I employ. Should we have any expectation we can change the character of someone we hire? I think we should all confess that we cannot assume this will work in a business. Common training programs cannot touch character in my experience. In virtually all cases, character is too deep an issue for a company to take on.
What we need to do is find people of talent who possess the character we need. For example hire people who are teachable and then coach them. Hiring unteachable people and trying to make them teachable is too hard.
You cannot get teachability from people who cannot come clean on anything that might make them look bad. They do not learn but rather cover up.
What I see is that people learn self protective skills and get more and more committed to covering up over time as they have more and more skills in it.
They can always turn around. As long as you have breath, it is never too late to turn around. However, in very rare cases an honest person can decide they want to start being political. A liar, in even more rare cases, can decide to come clean and never lie again. It can happen. Do not count on it. It likely would be easier to win the lottery. In hiring, you should hire people with the right character and sometimes lack a few skills which can be trained. You should not plan on a miracle after you hire.
In our own lives, we need to seek input that makes us uncomfortable. That is how we grow. Being able to change is a sign we are still alive. We will often be blind to the thing we are doing wrong. We all need help and accountabilty.
So let’s find places to turn around in our own lives and hire people who have already turned to a good way that will work day 1 for our companies.