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ambition resized 600Hiring people is always a challenge.  When you’re looking for someone to help move your company forward you’re likely to be presented with a dilemma:  Is it ability or ambition that’s most important?

If you believe modern culture, it’s all about ability.  Those with natural talent always win the race.  I’m not sure that belief is true.  I’ve met lots of people with tons of ability.  Many of these people haven’t done an awful lot with their life.

Why are we in love with people who have lots of ability?

I don’t know about the rest of the world, but it seems that those of us in the U.S. love the myth that talent trumps everything else.  I’m not sure that this statement is true.  In my own life I’ve gotten far in areas where I know I had no ability.

When I was in the fifth grade I really wanted to play in the band.  The only problem is that when I was tested for musical ability the test showed I was tone deaf and had no rhythmic sense.  My mother pleaded with the band director and he let me in.  He let me in and I learned to play the trombone. 

By the time I was a sophomore I was in the area all state band playing first chair.  My accomplishment was all done on ambition.  What about you?  Have you ever had the experience where ambition got you much further than ability?

Know where you have lots of energy.

Ambition and working hard go hand in hand.  There is one difference and it’s a really big one:  Working hard in a mindless manner is not going to get your very far.  If you’re going to work hard, be mindful about your improvement strategy.  Find others who have done it well and copy what they do.  This will help you move forward.

Find out where you have energy for different tasks.  Use this energy to help you learn things that will help you move to where you want to go.  When you’re working in an area that you have lots of energy you’ll likely achieve more success than if you’re trying to push a bolder up the hill.  Don’t make it hard on yourself.  Work where you have energy and you’ll have more success.

I think ambition trumps ability almost all of the time.

If I had a choice I would always hire the person with ambition over the person who had ability.  I’ve worked with people who are very talented and have no ambition.  I found it very frustrating.  Many times these people had much more ability than I did.  I ended up producing more than those with talent did.  Not because I had more talent, because I had way more ambition.  I was willing to spend extra time and study extra hard.

Being the smartest doesn’t always win the race.  Someone with lots of ambition who really wants it will usually outperform someone with lots of talent. 

The best is when you get someone who combines both.

If you can find someone who has both ability and ambition, that’s the best of both worlds.  Think of Michael Jordan.  He is arguably the best basketball player of all time.  It’s well known that Jordan not only had the most talent of any person on the basketball teams he played with he also worked harder and practiced in a more disciplined manner.

People who practice in a disciplined manner with lots of talent will win the race.  These are the people who produce great results while looking like they’re not working very hard.  If you can find a natural that works hard, you might just have a real winner.  These people are rare.  Having a good system for hiring is a first step.  Using the system will require discipline.  If you’re willing to be disciplined in your hiring strategies you might find one of those rare people who combine both ability and ambition.

We have a special report on hiring for unique abilities.  If you can find out what a prospective employee’s unique abilities are and if they are willing to enthusiastically do the job you have open you’ll get a great person.  This case study will show you a simple method for evaluating new people that might join your team.  To get this report, click on the button below.

Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through NFP Securities, Inc. (NFPSI), Member FINRA/SIPC. Stage 2 Planning Partners and NFPSI are not affiliated.

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Topics: business coaching, mission vision values and goals, unique ability

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