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Which Would You Rather?

by | Jun 3, 2008 | 0 comments

I once had a friend who liked to play a game she called “which would you rather?” It went like this; Jan would give you two choices and you had to choose one and tell her why you would make that choice.

So she would greet you by asking, “Which would you rather – have to chew broken glass or have a needle poked in your eye?”

Did I mention that Jan and I met doing community theatre where the more bizarrely thought provoking the question the more seriously it would be taken? I’ve since lost track of Jan (if you’re out there girl I’d love to hear from you) but the “which would you rather” phrase still puts a goofy grin on my face.

While Jan delighted in coming up with equally unappealing activities, we quite often feel we must choose between equally desirable or even necessary options. “Should I opt for ordering the appetizer or the desert?” (Or have both on the theory that you only live once?) “Should I hire the candidate with the best experience or the one with the most enthusiasm?” (For more on resolving that dilemma read the May 30 post; “How Much Experience Should You Hire?”)

Here’s another dilemma that impacts everything from employee selection to business culture– which would you rather, dependability or innovation?

Do you need someone who will predictably and consistently maintain status quo? Is your culture about stability and steady growth? Or should you be looking for people who will innovate change, who will foster a culture of being open to every possibility?

Dependability breeds commitment just as innovation breeds excitement.

What business can prosper without commitment, from their employees, their clients and their community? But what business can prosper without excitement, about their services, their products and their brand?

Of course, every business needs both commitment and excitement. So every business needs dependability and innovation. The key is to not only hire the right people and put them in the right roles, but to also insure that everyone in your organization fully embraces the importance of both roles and honors what the other players contribute to making sure you never have to play the “which would you rather” game.

I use the Kolbe A index to tell me how I can expect a team member to take action - by stabilizing and maintaining systems or by innovating new solutions - and put together workshops to explore and develop synergy in teams. The Kolbe MO is only one of three aspects that should be taken into consideration when selecting an employee for any role, but I find it to be the most predictive.

How do you make sure you aren’t choosing between commitment and excitement? Are you putting people in roles where they can do what they do naturally, whether that is by creating and maintaining dependable systems or innovating new solutions? Does your company culture embrace both or are you playing the “which would you rather” game?

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