25 November 2015

The Silver Spoon vs Scrappers

Interesting video from TED.com that I've recently watch. Delivered by Regina Hartley. She holds a BA in political science from SUNY Binghamton and an MA in corporate and organizational communication from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) from the HRCI. This presentation actually reveal two type of people that applied for a job, and she tried to figure out which one is the best person to be picked. 

Person A: Ivy League, 4.0, flawless resume, great recommendations. All the right stuff. 

Person B: state school, fair amount of job hopping, and odd jobs like cashier and singing waitress.

My colleagues and I created very official terms to describe two distinct categories of candidates. We call A "the Silver Spoon," the one who clearly had advantages and was destined for success. And we call B "the Scrapper," the one who had to fight against tremendous odds to get to the same point.

the Silver Spoon; getting into and graduating from an elite university takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice. But if your whole life has been engineered toward success, how will you handle the tough times? But on the flip side, what happens when your whole life is destined for failure and you actually succeed?

As I met successful business people and read profiles of high-powered leaders, I noticed some commonality.

The Silver Spoon (By Google Images)
Many of them had experienced early hardships, anywhere from poverty, abandonment, death of a parent while young, to learning disabilities, alcoholism and violence. The conventional thinking has been that trauma leads to distress, and there's been a lot of focus on the resulting dysfunction. But during studies of dysfunction, data revealed an unexpected insight: that even the worst circumstances can result in growth and transformation. A remarkable and counterintuitive phenomenon has been discovered, which scientists call Post Traumatic Growth.

Scrappers (by Google Images)

What's remarkable -- among those entrepreneurs who experience post traumatic growth, they now view their learning disability as a desirable difficulty which provided them an advantage because they became better listeners and paid greater attention to detail. They don't think they are who they are in spite of adversity, they know they are who they are because of adversity. They embrace their trauma and hardships as key elements of who they've become, and know that without those experiences, they might not have developed the muscle and grit required to become successful.

Scrappers are propelled by the belief that the only person you have full control over is yourself. When things don't turn out well, Scrappers ask, "What can I do differently to create a better result?" Scrappers have a sense of purpose that prevents them from giving up on themselves, kind of like if you've survived poverty, a crazy father and several muggings, you figure, "Business challenges? --
"Really? Piece of cake. I got this."

And that reminds me -- humor. Scrappers know that humor gets you through the tough times, and laughter helps you change your perspective.

She watched me work and encouraged me to focus on my future and not dwell on my past. Along the way I've met many people who've provided me brutally honest feedback, advice and mentorship. 

So back to my original question. Who are you going to bet on: Silver Spoon or Scrapper? I say choose the underestimated contender, whose secret weapons are passion and purpose.

Hire the Scrapper.

*This post is base on the the transcript of the video

Watch this video  online http://www.ted.com/talks/regina_hartley_why_the_best_hire_might_not_have_the_perfect_resume/transcript?language=en#t-548180