September 3, 2019 |

Able and Willing…Or Not?

This is a question that preoccupied one of my old mentors.  Why do some people succeed, and others don’t?  Why are some people able to learn a process, follow it and deliver results when others aren’t?  Over my 20-plus years in the recruiting business, I’ve seen some succeed and many fail.  In analyzing all that information – both concrete and anecdotal – two inflection points exist.  And, these are not exclusive to recruiting.  I think they are applicable to many disciplines.

The first inflection point is what I call the “able” test.  It’s simple.  Once someone is hired, on-boarded and trained, they are released into the marketplace.  Soon, it becomes apparent whether or not this person is able to execute the fundamentals of the business.  Can they get their arms around their market?  Can they create a daily plan and execute it?  Do they know who to call and what to say?  Can they convert activity into action?  Can they transform that action into tangible results?

Some can do it; many can’t.  They fail the “able” test.  It doesn’t make them bad people; it just means they aren’t suited for this work.   Most of them self-select out – they resign to pursue other endeavors.  A few remain, hoping to figure it out, and end up getting a little help out the door.

The Able group then faces a second inflection point: the “willing” test.  The Able group are people who can execute the fundamentals of their role…be it sales, recruiting…nuclear physics…  But, they must now decide if they actually like it and are willing to do it.  We see this frequently with people who make a career change.  I was trained as an accountant and became a CPA, yet I left that world 20+ years ago.  I was able, and for many years willing.  But eventually I was no longer willing to do that kind of work.

How do you feel about where you are today?  Able?  Willing?  Or not?