Posted On: 2007-01-19Length:
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Are we predestined for success? Is it all decided for us? Does that mean we don't have to work at it, you know, discover our weaknesses and overcome them? Our guest for this segment is Chuck Martin. Chuck is CEO of NFI Research. He's a New York Times best-selling author. He's former VP of IBM. And he's helped identify competitive strategies for some of the world's leading companies. Welcome Chuck, and I have to ask the question, are we hardwired for success?
Hey, Lee, how are you?
I'm doing peachy, thanks.
Uh, yeah, that's actually the subtitle of our book. The, what we found, I did this book with two noted psychologists, Dr. Richard Guare and Dr. Peg Dawson. It's based on basically 40 years of neuroscience brain research, as well as a lot of private research that we conducted. And it turns out, and this is pretty well known in psychology circles, but not generally in business circles, that all of the intelligence of the brain is managed essentially through the frontal lobes. So the left and right brain, everything goes through the frontal lobes. And in the frontal lobes there are twelve, what are called cognitive functions or executive skills. Now these are not skills of executives, they're called executive skills because they help you execute. And these things are things like self restraint, working memory, time management, focus, flexibility, task initiation, and every single person has these 12 executive skills, and every person has two or three that are their strongest, and two or three that are their weakest. And they're essentially not dramatically changeable once you reach adulthood.
Ok. So, it's not actually hardwired? It's,
Yeah, it's hardwired.
It is hardwired. It's already there, all these things are already there.
Yeah, it's how your brain works, basically.
So, then are we right to discover our weaknesses and try to overcome them? What's the deal there?
Well, what we recommend is that people, everyone has two or three that are their strongest, and two or three that are their weakest, and the rest in the middle don't really matter. And every person is really different. And what happens is, if you get into a position that plays to your strengths, you actually are in a good position. Your job or task will seem easier and more natural for you. If you get into a situation that requires your weaknesses, your weakest executive skills fail first, all the time. So, under pressure, say your weakest skill is time management. Under pressure, your time management will be a disaster. It won't just be bad, it will be awful.
Under pressure. Under pressure.
Yes. And interestingly, the executive skills typically that are required for say, an entrepreneur, or someone starting a business, are different than the skills that might be required for running a business. And you can't really change the skills that you have. For example, the skills required for sales, versus sales management, the high skills for sales would be flexibility, emotion control, and defining achieving goals. So, the, like when after a sale, something needs to be appreciated and so forth, but for sales management, managing the sales people requires the ability to set long-term goals for sales staff, have a process to track how everyone is doing, be able to actually estimate sales cycles, and strategically think about ways to improve sales staff. So those skills would be planning, prioritization, organization, time management and observation...