Recruitment may not seem to be an ever-changing process, but in today’s working generation, some aspects have to change. Ira Wolfe is a TEDx Speaker and the President of Success Performance Solutions, a company that provides hiring solutions, employee assessments, as well as hiring and recruitment consulting. In this episode, he talks about his book called Recruiting in the Age of Googlizaton and walks us through how his company works and who they help. As he explains how he came up with his book, Ira moves on to enlighten us about Googlization as well as his TED Talk and DisruptHR experiences. Learn more about modern day recruitment in this exciting discussion.
We have Ira S. Wolfe. He’s the greatest guy. I’ve had a chance to talk to him in the past. He’s really interesting. He owns a company. He’s the President of Success Performance Solutions where he’s an HR visionary. He has a TEDx Talk, he frequently writes for top sites like Forbes, Huffington Post, you name it. He’s appeared in Inc., Fast Company. He knows HR and success like nobody else. I’m excited to have him on the show.
Listen to the podcast here
Modern Day Recruitment with Ira S. Wolfe
I am here with Ira S Wolfe. He is one of HR’s most visionary thinkers. He has written a book called Recruiting in the Age of Googlization: When the SHIFT Hits Your Plan. He’s also got an amazing TEDx Talk. Welcome to the show.
Thanks, I appreciate it.
We’re going to talk about a lot of this stuff that you do because you talk about being a Millennial trapped in a Baby Boomer body and that you’re a recovering Millennial basher. I am interested in that. Before we get into that though, rather than reading your bio, can you give me a little bit of your background? I found your history interesting the last time we talked, you told me you used to be a dentist.
That was my first career. I had an interview and we talked a little bit about that. I had moved to Maryland for a few years and when I got down there, I got active in the community and people learned about what I did. They go, “You’re a renaissance man.” He was the editor for a local newspaper.” I said, “That’s got two connotations. It’s either someone who’s always recreating the self or someone who can’t keep a job.” Hopefully, I’m on the evolving recreation side. In fact, I had an interview for a podcast and we talked a little bit about it and they said, “When did you decide you wanted to be a dentist and when did you decide you didn’t want to be a dentist?” It was funny and I can’t say it was simultaneous, but in fifth grade, I remember I was in a classroom and they went around the room and asked what you want to be when you grow up.
I honestly don’t remember why. Maybe it’s because dentists had nice homes, nice cars, and didn’t work on Wednesdays. I don’t know why. Why do you decide what you’re going to do when you’re ten years old? I was probably too stubborn to change it because after that, everybody at every family event, “Do you still want to be a dentist?” I stuck with it, but even when I got to college, I said I was going to switch to business and my mother threw a fit. When I went to dental school, I was looking for ways to cut that short and take a combined program. Anyway, I had a practice for several years. If you’ve watched the TED Talk, you’ll hear this. I loved everything about dentistry but dentistry. I’m an entrepreneur at heart. I probably had a marketing practice. I had a business and we did a lot of marketing and it happened to be in the dental services business. I enjoyed it for a while, but when I realized that I ultimately was producing more and more work for myself, I didn’t enjoy the dental part.
I love the patients. I loved the staff. I saw my practice many years ago and I still get birthday cards and greetings. I’m still friends on Facebook with the staff that I had. Some of them I haven’t seen in many years, so it’s pretty amazing. I loved that part. I didn’t enjoy what I was doing and then I left. I won’t go into all the tops. It’s not even ups and downs, the transition to what I do now, but my company is Success Performance Solutions. We work in the HR world. 90% of the business is related to assessments, which is how you and I got connected in some indirect way, especially with Curiosity Code Index. We provide pre-employment and leadership testing to companies, mostly small, medium-sized companies.
We’ve got a couple of publicly-traded ones, but my heart’s in the entrepreneurial small to medium-sized business, working with the owner. They can make decisions, helping them make better hiring decisions. My book is Recruiting in the Age of Googlization and it was about how much the world is changing and recruiting is broken. Companies aren’t doing a very good job at it and how technology is going to change that, but how people’s mindsets have to change within the age of Googlization. That’s what I do, but I still produce a ton of content. Like you, I write articles, I read blogs, I’m interviewed, I’m on podcasts, I have a podcast. I’m always creating videos. I’m enjoying what I’m doing which probably leads into the Millennial in the Baby Boomer body.
You write so many of these great sites. I saw your profile on some of these. You write for Forbes and Huffington Post. I was looking at some of your work and I watched your TED Talk and I thought it was really good. You bring up some interesting things on it. You talk about VUCA, which I want to talk about. You talk about Googlization. I want to start with what is Googlization since you’ve got Recruiting in the Age of Googlization as the title of your book. I think a lot of people want to know what you mean by Googlization.
In my first book I wrote, I started to write it in 1999 and then it didn’t come out until 2004 which is called The Perfect Labor Storm. At that point, for different reasons, but the economy was booming the dot-com world and the 9/11, but jobs were transforming. When I coined that Perfect Labor Storm phrase, we’re talking about the internet was coming into being, people weren’t complaining about Millennials, they were complaining about Gen X and the Millennials were just starting to enter the workforce. There were all these things that were going on those people blamed for the reasons of not being able to hire good people. We’re going to find good people. I listed a whole lot of things. Education was changing. Demographics were changing. We had globalization, we had the internet. I said it’s all these things combining at one time.
Out of that, people would say, “What do you think about these Millennials?” Every conversation nobody wanted to talk about geopolitical, socioeconomic forces. It was like, “What do you think about these young kids?” Nobody wants to work anymore. I decided it was time to do The Perfect Labor Storm 2.0. I didn’t want to call it that. There were many questions about the multigenerational workplace force. I wrote Geeks, Geezers, and Googlization. You asked me about Googlization, how do they come up? It’s a marketing thing. It was geeks and geezers in technology, but technology didn’t alliterate with geeks and geezers. Google was just starting to come into the place. I don’t know how, it came up and go, “I liked the term,” and it caught on and everybody laughed when they got it. What is Googlization? It’s the convergence of the wired, the tired and technology. I say that only because there are Baby Boomers like me who are wired and there are Baby Boomers not like me who is very tired, but I think that goes across every generation.
There are truly lazy Millennials. I’m not bashing them, but there are lazy Millennials. Most of them aren’t. Most of them are entrepreneurial and that’s where I became that recovering Millennial basher because in Geeks, Geezers, and Googlization, I jumped on the bandwagon. I think there was a book out. It was the dumbest generation ever. I think Jay Leno used to call the Millennials the dumbest generation ever. I transcribed an interview he did. It was embarrassing to anybody young, but that can go across almost anywhere. I talked about tank tops, piercings, and flip flops for the chapter. They were like, “They have no respect. They come to work in anything that they want.” There are certain people that don’t have good manners, good behaviors and good work ethic, but that was not the majority because if you go back, I was a Baby Boomer.
I’m an older Baby Boomer, so you’ll look back at the ‘60s and early ‘70s. I was looking for some pictures. I found my ID card. I was a resident. I took a residency at the Center City Hospital when I finished school. I spent more time in the OR and emergency rooms learning that. I loved that part. I just didn’t ultimately like doing the dentistry, but I found it and I’m not sure how they had me on staff because I had shoulder-length hair. I had a big mustache. At the time that was the rebellious Baby Boomers. I don’t know if it was quite as long as theirs, but my wife said, “It looks like you had a mop on your head.” We had it under our headcovers so nobody saw it, but we were pretty rebellious. If I walked into a corporate office at that point, I’m sure I would’ve never been hired. I wouldn’t have been hired even with short hair because I had a mustache. People forget that any facial hair at one time was not acceptable.
They would freak out over The Beatles with their perfect haircuts and their ties and suits.
They didn’t have facial hair; they just have long hair. You could have a crew cut with a mustache and you couldn’t have been hired.
It was a definitely different time.
People completely forget about that. When I even talk about tired and wired, it’s not necessarily about young and old. It literally is, there are people that are tired and people that are wired and it goes across all generations. Ultimately, it was about technology. I also decided it was time to do Geeks, Geezers, and Googlization 2.0 and I said, “I’m going to add a chapter about Gen Z. I’m going to apologize to all the Millennials for bashing them. I’m going to write about the future of the workplace and jobs.” I reread the book and I was like, “How did I miss this? I never talked about the iPad or mobile devices.” I talked about a smartphone, but I never talked about anything else. I quickly did research and go, “How did I possibly miss that? It was printed in 2009.” It’s because the iPad didn’t come out until 2010, and this was only a few years later.Googlization is the convergence of the wired, the tired, and technology. Click To Tweet
I’m saying, “This is how fast things change.” I talked about the iPod and by the time I wrote the book in 2016 when I started it, there was no iPod and I was like, “This is nuts.” That’s what The Age of Googlization was about. It’s about the acceleration of change. Technology has a lot to do with that, but I also think humans had a lot to do with these are falling behind and that’s what we talked about on the podcast I had done on our show, which is also Geeks, Geezers and Googlization. I kept that theme. We talked about a futurist and that’s the scary part, the acceleration of change. People don’t talk about it. That was my TED Talk. That also is what prompted the book as like, “I got the TED Talk, I’ve got to put it out. I’ve got to do more than thirteen minutes of talk. I’ve got more to say than thirteen minutes. Let me put all those extra things and cut out into a book.”
How hard was it to do the TED Talk, now that you brought it up? I want to talk about the VUCA, and things you talk about in that. You have a good business going. You’ve got this great following. You’ve got all this stuff. Why do a TED Talk and how stressful was it?
Why is a good question. It’s probably something you say, “I’d love to be recognized with having done a TED Talk, that little bit of ego I guess.” It looks good in credentials and it’s true. A lot of people have done TED Talks and the people that were in my grade. It’s TEDx, but there are a couple of people that I was on stage with that did well and there are a couple of people that was probably going to be the pinnacle of their life, but they still did it. Part of it was an achievement. I wanted to do it. How hard was it? It’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I don’t know if it was hard, but it was stressful and it was definitely humbling.
They told me right off the bat, they said, “Anybody who is a public speaker,” there are a lot of people who are better public speakers than myself, although I do get good ratings when I go out. One of the things that people, when they went out, it was so humbling because they said that the coaches for this talk said, “We don’t like working with people who are comfortable going on stage because this isn’t a presentation. This is sharing a new idea. This isn’t giving people the solution,” and you’re in business. I’m in business. We go out and we set the stage and at the end it’s like, “Here are the four takeaways.” The takeaways in a TED Talk are the idea behind it. That’s hard to get over because you still want to give people the background, you want to get through the history, you want to lead people up and then you want to do the close. It was a struggle.
They already had the names, the cards, the programs printed up, and they still weren’t sure if they were going to let me on at the end. There were other people that were struggling with it. My problem is because I use slides. I don’t read the slides. They keep you on track. It’s like, “This didn’t work. I’ve got to take out two slides because I talked too much about it or I talked about that before, after or whenever.” I use slides more because people say, “Do you have any handouts?” or they spend the whole time writing. I said, “No, I’m going to give you all these.” In the TED Talk, you don’t have a lot of words on them. The slides mostly are images. They keep that prompted to go along. Because I did so much extemporaneously, I kept changing it and they said, “You did that differently than you did in the last rehearsal.”
They don’t like that. They want to completely memorize it exactly the same amount of time.
They don’t want it memorized, but they want to make sure you’re not going to wing it up there. That was hard for me, but it was funny. I felt like I got through it and I did well. It’s an accomplishment and people seem to like it. That was the one thing, but I thought I was the only person in the world that was me, that I’m not equipped to do a TED Talk. Do you remember Harry Hamlin, the actor? He used to be on LA Law and a bunch of other things but claim to fame. I heard him on a talk show and they said, “Didn’t you just do a TED Talk?” He goes, “Yeah,” and they said, “Tell us about that.” It’s the same questions you asked me. They said, “Why did you do it?” He said, “Somebody said you’ve got this great idea. You should go up and talk.” I don’t even remember what his topic was, but they said, “What was it like?” He said, “I’ll never do it again. I’ve been on stage. My butt has been shown on a 60-foot screen.
I’ve been through everything. This was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life. People probably thought I was insane because I’m driving down the freeway and I’m talking to myself. I’m at the gym and I’m talking to myself.” He was rehearsing his talk over and over again. A few years ago, when I delivered it, it was exactly like that. I zoned out and every place I went I was rehearsing. I’m lying in bed, I’m rehearsing the talk. I’m up at the gym, I’m rehearsing the talk. I’m driving the car, I’m rehearsing the talk. It was really hard. If nothing else, I have the utmost admiration for people that do a TED Talk. I’m not saying that because I’m there, because I think I squeaked in, but people who do it so freely are just amazing. For anybody thinking of doing it, absolutely do it. If you think it’s like, “I love being on stage and talking,” you’re in for a huge shock.
People I know on my show have done a lot of them, some of them, and I got to give him credit.
That’s after the first one. Now I know what they’re looking for. After the first one, I think I can do it, but I don’t know if you’re familiar with DisruptHR, they’re five-minute talks. A little different experience and they go, but after the TED Talk, I said, “I can do this. I got it.” That’s the next challenge. We came to this five-minute talk and I said, “I can take one slide. That’s all I need. I got it. I got this covered,” and they said, “No, we need twenty slides and changes whether you’re finished talking about it or not.” It then took that one slide and forced me to think about it in fifteen-second nuggets. I did two of them. I did one live and I recorded one. I did one. I couldn’t get over there, but I did it for a DisruptHR Belgrade. I didn’t travel for that one. I traveled all the way down to my office and recorded it. I said, “I’d love to come over, but I can’t.” They said, “We’d still love to have you and we’d like you to be the opening one because of your theme.” The theme was about change and disruption in HR. They allowed me to prerecord it which was still interesting.
We teased people about your TED Talk, but what is your overall idea to share on your TED Talk?
It makes change work for you. The theme you mentioned, VUCA, a lot of people aren’t familiar with VUCA. It’s Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. Talking to CEOs, they get that part and a lot of them heard it. They’ve introduced that into the MBA world and the executive world. When you’re talking to HR, they’ve never heard that. I introduced VUCA, but I talk about the Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous world. I said, “How many people feel like they’re living in that now?” Things change quickly. There’s always a sense of uncertainty. Problems are a lot more difficult to solve and sometimes there’s not a right answer, but you’re expected to have it. That’s what the talk is about. On the flip side of that, it is what you can do about it? There’s what they call VUCA-Prime and it’s about having vision, having better communication and agility. Part of that is there is a path to deal with it. VUCA is about the world we live in and it’s Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous
Interesting enough, although we didn’t call it this and we heard from this on one of my other podcasts. You probably enjoy doing podcasts. You get to talk to a lot of people. We had a guest, Daniel Levine. He has WikiTrends. If you go to WikiTrend.org, he has these trend spotters and it’s people that are out there finding what’s new and different. It’s a lot about AI. He does industry. How is technology affecting business? How’s it affecting health? How’s it affecting wellness? How’s it affecting food, energy? Every day there are four or five new posts up there of things that are being developed. He was on and a question I asked him was, “What book are you reading?” He said, “You probably won’t believe it.” He didn’t know how old it was. He said, “It’s an old book. It’s called Future Shock. Future Shock was published in 1970 by Alvin Toffler. It was about what the future was going to look like.
He said he was writing a chapter for a book called Aftershock. He said, “I reread it.” It prompted me to pull it off my shelf. I still had it. I’m old enough to be. I was in high school or college when it came out. I pulled it out and started to reread it again. It is amazing because Future Shock describes what it’s like to live in the future when we’re all stressed, disillusioned and disoriented by the pace of change. There are a lot of things in the book that didn’t come to pass and silly ideas of what his ideas of disruption and revolutionary or transformational change in the early 1970s or what he had dissipated compared to now. When you’re talking about the state of human beings, you state humanity being disillusioned, disoriented, and stressed pretty much describes what the world we live in. My TED Talk was probably about Future Shock, but it’s a different version of that.
There are so many great books from that. I can remember having to read 1984 or Brave New World and all of those back in the day. What people predict is always fascinating. I had some futurists on the show. You were talking about learning agility, which ties into a lot what I’m interested in with curiosity and some of the stuff you and I have talked about in the past. You deal with helping people in the hiring process and recruitment and all that because you do the consulting and you do all this stuff because you’re the President of Success Performance Solutions. I’m interested in knowing a little bit more about that. I’m sure people would like to know what you do in that company. Who do you help? How does it work?
Mostly what we do is on employee selection and that’s in a broad sense is either hiring somebody new from outside the company. Sometimes it’s promoting somebody within the company and we work at both ends of the scale. When I say pre-employment, that usually is designated to be the frontline and middle managers and then leadership assessments or is a little bit more complex. Part of that is I don’t know if it’s a million, there are probably thousands of different personality tests that are out there and people use them all the time to say, “Is this person going to be good at this job?” There are some that do a good job and some don’t, but we’re complicated as human beings.Detail-oriented people are often sought after. Click To Tweet
What we do is we look at what the job is. What’s required? What are the skills or competencies? Sometimes we can get away with one tool and sometimes we have to combine them, especially for senior-level positions. We look at cognitive skills and not necessarily are they smart? Some of these people are super smart that have the job and if you have 20 or 30 years of experience, you got smarts to survive to this point. Some people don’t have that ability to keep up. When I talk about cognitive skills, I’m not measuring are they intelligent or are they smart? I measure how quickly they can keep pace. Can they process a lot of information and digest it and come out with an idea or a solution?
We measure personality, we measure cognitive. We can measure motivation, what motivates people. Which I want to talk to more about it as I think it fits in really well with the Curiosity Code Index. When somebody is curious, they may not be curious about everything, but what motivates them to be curious? Some people are motivated. What drives them may be making more money? Maybe it’s how to become a better leader. It may be just for the sake of learning. It may be to help the community. There are different motivators behind that. Those are the things we measure. We use the DISC. People are familiar with DISC or Myers-Briggs, we use that as part of that.
Only to understand the communication style nor are they qualified, but how well will they get along or how well they don’t get along with the people they have to work with. We can test for typing and data entry and all the way up to can they run a Fortune 500 company. That’s what we do. Part of that though is I don’t look at do they have a good personality? I say, “How is that personality going to play out? How are they going to apply the actual skills that they have?” One of the things that resonated with you because you were introduced to me by a colleague, one of the things that resonated with me was curiosity. I’ve been testing in some sense for curiosity, reassessing, it’s not necessarily a task, but assessing somebody’s curiosity for several years.
I started to find out that there was a lot of people that were really successful in their past, but they weren’t going to be as successful as they needed to be in the future because they didn’t ask any more questions. It was that fixed mindset. It’s like, “I’ve got 30 years’ experience and I’ve got three degrees, therefore I can do this job, but the jobs changed and you don’t ask.” Not only don’t you ask about the job, but you also don’t ask other people to contribute. What’s on their mind? What can go wrong? What are the unintended consequences? Curiosity has always been a pet project of mine and you’re taking it to another level.
Thank you. It was really interesting for me to write about that. I was thinking as you were talking about all these things, words that I’ve had people tell me I’m curious or tenacious or that I strive for things. I was wondering as you were talking about that, what word would you put to describe you? As you answer that, I am curious about your MBTI type and your DISC, what you came in on in MBTI and DISC to see if we’re the same.
I have to go back and look. I’ve never been a huge fan of MBTI. I’ve taken it so many times over the years. I’m definitely an introvert, which always shocks the crap out of everybody, which is also why I didn’t like MBTI because the DISC I use has two graphs. I have an adapter graph and I have a primary graph. I have a natural style. Somebody about an adaptation, but when I’m doing this call or I’m on stage, I said the only time I was where I was at an MBTI or somebody else who wants was when I was walking through the door.
When I walk on stage, I become an extrovert or outgoing. When I walk off the stage, I’m not. It’s not that I don’t like people, which is a mad misnomer with introverts and extroverts. It’s just that introverts, I can sit and listen to people and contemplate and then come out with my idea. I don’t have to always be the center of attention unless I have a good idea. I’ve already contemplated it. I don’t think out loud. I would wish a better definition. I’m definitely more on the introvert side. The other one’s change, but on DISC I’d been consistently a DC.
I had DI, which was interesting I thought I’d have more C.
Even how I present DISC, some people say, “If you’re a D you must be results-oriented.” No, it just means it stands for those of you who don’t know what the DISC is, it’s Direct, Influential, Steady and Compliant or Conscientious. I describe them as energy. I’m most energized by solving problems. It doesn’t mean I’m good at it. I think I am good at solving many problems, but it means I’m energized by that. If you’re an I, you’re energized by influencing other people and that made a lot more sense to me than how other people describe it. It’s not that I don’t like influencing people, but if I have to influence people over and over again, if I had to be a coach, if I have to remind people constantly, it’s like, “I told them three times already. If they’re not interested and they didn’t get it, then I’m not energized by doing it over and over again.” The DISC model fit well, unfortunately there are many people that have abused it and misused it. They’ve been gone there.
That’s why I thought it was interesting to create an assessment because I think a lot of consultants are burned out on giving some of the older assessments or they want something new and relevant. I didn’t do it for that reason when I created it, but it’s really led to that. A lot of people thinking, “Yes, this is something. I want something new.” What are organizations asking for the most when they’re looking for assessments? Are they looking for that type of training? Do you have to talk them into that? Where does that stand?
I think that’s why I’ve built the reputation I have in the business because I’m selling assessments. That’s how I make most of my living, but it was also understanding it. Most calls I get is, “We are on your website and we found that assessment we’re looking,” but it’s a very naive buyer and I don’t say this to be insulting them. It’s gotten so complicated because now there are so many assessments. Anybody who has ten questions and understand software can be in the test publishing business. People don’t understand validity and reliability and we won’t get all those details or as you did the factor analysis. People don’t understand that and many don’t care.
People are looking for a solution. They got to pay. That’s what I tried to go back to. I always say, “I walk people through. If you hired this person and they did extraordinarily well at the end of a year, next year you’re sitting across the table from them or you pick up the phone and you’re talking to me. What are you going to tell me that person accomplished?” My next question and sometimes they don’t know, which a problem is because then any road will get you there. “Give me one example. Did they have to sell X amount? Do they have to make so many phone calls? Do they get a certain rating on patient satisfaction? What is it that you’re going to say, ‘This is a good hire. We want more of them.’” From there I say, “What are the skills that are required to get there? What are the traits? What are the abilities? What type of motivation does it require?”
I can do this in my head. What sounds like is these long involved consulting projects that I’m going to come in and get a nameplate on their door. I do many of these in ten or fifteen minutes of a conversation because people also don’t want to test somebody for four-and-a-half hours. Candidates aren’t going to stand for that. I try to get them down to the core skills. From there we decide which assessment is part of them. Going back, people are looking for people who are detailed-oriented. What does that mean? It means they don’t make mistakes. They look for people that are reliable. They’re going to show up for work every day. There are a number of different traits you can measure, but the one thing that ultimately it comes down to is everybody needs to understand, are they curious or not? Not that everybody has to be on a scale of one to ten and be a ten, because for some jobs, three may be okay.
I know that’s not the measure, but if you can measure curiosity on one to ten or are you making percentage points, what does that mean? Does that mean you don’t hire anybody who was under 50%? For certain jobs, that would be the case. I would definitely want a researcher who had above 50%. I would want a physician to have above 50%. I’d want executives to have above 50%, but there are also cultures that curiosity will kill the employee because if they ask too many questions in that particular culture, they’re not going to be a good fit. It doesn’t mean that it’s not needed, but it’s just there. Even when we don’t measure it, I always tell people to ask interview questions over curiosity because eventually it’s going to come back to bite somebody. If you hire them now and you change your software program or you change your procedure next year, do you want people who are robots? If you want a robot then you’re going to have a robot because they’re going to replace human beings.
That’s why all this is such an important time to talk about all this because so many people are going to be either moved because they can’t do what they were doing. It would be nice to know what they’d really like to do if we only could ask them what they’d like to do and explore it. A lot of cultures knock that out of people.
It even goes down to self-awareness because I know you and your book and we assess for emotional intelligence. The first stage of emotional intelligence is does somebody have self-awareness? What do they know about themselves? If they’re not curious, they don’t know anything about themselves, but they don’t ask. They don’t ask other people, what do you think about me? Do you think I’m that assertive or that talkative? They surround yourself by the people who agree with you and you lose that perspective. There’s so much talk with companies about emotional intelligence and then they bring in and hopefully they hire. I don’t do a lot of coaching or consulting around it, but they use our assessments.The solution to ambiguity is to ask questions. Click To Tweet
As that first step, I think DISC and the motivation or MBTI are valuable in that perspective. If people aren’t curious, then they’re not going to ask questions about the results of the assessment. They’re going to say, “This is who I am.” To me, I think for anybody that’s thinking about evaluating people for emotional intelligence or for even a position, think about what level of curiosity you need and then somehow figure it out, whether you’re using your CCI or the Curiosity Code Index or whether you’re asking interview questions. An interview itself is curiosity. How many people do you know that interview people who have no curiosity?
If they come in and they don’t ask questions, you know right off the bat that there’s a problem right there.
I’m talking about the interviewer. I’m talking about the person who is supposed to be asking the questions. I asked the question and it becomes they didn’t give me the right answer and I said, “You know what they said, there were four questions I would have asked from their response, even if it wasn’t an accurate answer. Even if it wasn’t the answer you’re looking for.” If you didn’t have curiosity, it’s a multiple-choice test.
That’s what’s happening with these organizations. They’re ending up with status quo thinking because you mentioned culture being such a problem. Sometimes where you can’t ask questions and I’m sure you see a lot of that. What do you do with leadership? Does it embrace the need for this?
That was where the story ended up, what happens when management doesn’t embrace the future. It’s like, “That’s not going to happen. We’re a small town or we’re in the Midwest or our industry isn’t there.” There are people that don’t have it. I think they’re in trouble. Frank Diana was my guest and he had a great philosophy. He said it over and over again, “I can’t predict the future. There’s no one that can predict the future, but you can rehearse the future.” There are a lot of takeaways there because if you ask somebody who was resistant and they say, “What happens in this scenario?”
They might say, “That will never happen here,” but it also opens the door for more questions. If they’re trying to do this in isolation, if they’re an introvert and they’re trying to ask these questions to themselves, then I don’t think that’s going to end well. I think we have to get people comfortable with asking the questions which go back to VUCA. It was about ambiguity. Not everybody has to be an expert in solving complex problems. You’ve got to be more comfortable living in a state of uncertainty, but everybody is going to have to become more comfortable dealing with ambiguity.
The solution to ambiguity is to ask questions. Even if you can’t come up with one right answer, it’s talking about what are the unintended consequences? What people tend to do is this seems to be the best option from A, B and C. A is the best option, let’s run with that, but no one asked the question is, “What are some of the unintended consequences we can have from A? Rather evaluating which one can on the surface get the best answer, which ones might have the largest collateral damage?” That might change it. It’s like drugs. It’s like pharma. They say, “We have an 80% cure rate, but 20% die.” They don’t release it. It’s not allowed to come out, even though there’s a benefit because at some point there’s more harm but most people don’t make decisions like that and I don’t think they make decisions because they don’t even consider it.
You brought up so many important things. The emotional intelligence aspect ties into a lot of the stuff you were talking about are something I’m writing about now in terms of perception. All the ambiguity and having emotional intelligence skills to be able to empathize and have interpersonal skills, all that ties into our perceptions. I’m curious what testing you do in the area of perception or even cultural quotients or that area of how people can understand each other better. Do you do any of that?
Yeah, we have. I use DISC a lot for that. They use this other tool called Business Motivators, which are those motivators. Are they motivated by money, power, community, learning aesthetic, word or doctrine? Doctrine can be patriotism or religion. It doesn’t mean that people that don’t have it aren’t religious or patriotic, it means they may be more open-minded. If you go back to DISC, we lay them down side-by-side or we talk about it and people share. Here’s one scenario. You’re high I. You walk in the office every day. You got the smile on your face. You’re talking, you’re singing, you’re whistling and you’re working with a bunch of introverts and the introverts all have their door somewhat closed. They came in early to get work done. They liked the quiet. The high walks in, knocks on the door and goes, “Diane, how are you doing?” and sits down and starts drinking their coffee.
Now you lock your door and when the high I comes in and say, “I wonder if Diane’s in there,” and he or she knocks. That starts to annoy people, so they start to avoid them and they come in earlier, they come in later or they hide. They work from home. They do all these things to avoid that interaction. When we do DISC, it comes out and they go, “I thought you didn’t like me because you always avoided me.” I go, “I really like you, Diane, but we’re just different.” I used it when I had my dental practice, which was unusual because we have eighteen people and we had lots of dynamics. I had an associate who had a completely different personality than I did. They were talking about it way back then. We did it and what I realized that then, and that’s many years ago, is that immediately half of the problems we had with people thinking that you don’t like me or you’re annoying, went away.
People realized they weren’t doing it on purpose. They still didn’t like it, but they did. That also required people to stop doing it or not do it as often. It requires people to be flexible in wanting to be part of the team and wants to be able to improve communication. That self-awareness of what do you do? The one most powerful page in our DISC reports is there’s a page called Communication Barriers. It’s a list of ten to twelve things that annoy you. That’s the one page I first go to. I go read your descriptions. Here’s what it is. Most of you usually get an 80% to 100% agreement. These are dead on which is the I’s and, and C’s are always the conscientious compliant when they go, “I think this is 82% accurate,” but it’s always pretty high. The one thing that’s amazing is you list down these and I said, “Look down this list of twelve or ten and identify two or three that really annoy you,” and people automatically gravitate to these two or three behaviors that bugged the crap out of you.
Now we said, “Share them with the rest of the group,” and when they share it, you see this glaze go over their people. It’s like, “I do that all the time,” and people recognize. We tell people to hand them out as instruction books. It’s like a human manual guide for behavior and says, “Take the top two things of how you prefer people communicate you.” The other page is a communication of how people want to be communicated with. Take that page, take the Communication Barrier page, take the two or three top things on each of them. Make a little 3×5 card, put it on your door, put it on the top of your monitor, put it on the closing of your email and your signature and let people know the best way to approach you. It’s amazing. There are all different ways you can do it. Make it fun. It doesn’t solve half the problems, but it does eliminate half the problems. It doesn’t solve all the problems, but at least then you can focus on the serious issues.
I think that’s a great idea. I worked for a company where we had to put our personality types on our cubicle. Anytime you understand the other person, you communicate better. It is something that a lot of organizations need to do more of that. Your company’s great for the people who are looking for solutions to that type of setting where we need to communicate better and develop emotional intelligence, DISC, all that stuff that you offer. A lot of people would want to know how they can get in touch with you, maybe your website? Anything you want to share, this is the time to do it.
I appreciate that. Pretty much, you can type in Ira S. Wolfe and it would show up somewhere, but if you’re looking for assessments or want to know about the company, SuccessPerformanceSolutions.com. I apologize about the length, but that’s it. You can learn all about the assessments. I also have my own website, IraWolfe.com. That’s going to be more about my speaking and the books and so forth. I’m on LinkedIn. I’d be happy to connect with people. I’m on Twitter. I’m on Facebook. I don’t communicate with business people too much on there, but I’ve got a business page, Instagram, you name it. I’m there. Fill out of blogging, writing. I’ve got a YouTube channel, YouTube.com/irawolfe. You can see a lot of videos. I got my podcast, GeeksGeezersAndGooglization.com.
You’re not busy, I can tell.
No, that’s the Millennial part. People say, “When are you going to slow down?” I go, “Why? I’m having a blast.”
I agree that everybody should check out all those sites and thank you so much for being on the show, Ira. This was so much fun.
Thank you. I could talk to you forever and I’m sure we will. We’ll follow up offline as well. I appreciate it, Diane. Thank you.
I’d like to thank Ira for being my guest. He’s such an expert in the area of recruiting, HR and all the stuff that we talked about is up my alley in terms of what I’m fascinated and discussed with leaders and organizations throughout the world. What we’re trying to do with curiosity and other instruments that I work with is to look at some of the behavioral issues and assess some of the things that are holding people back. I had talked to Ira before about the Curiosity Code Index and he’s one of the people who has shown a lot of interest in it because he’s an expert in assessments. I’m dealing with a lot of people who like to go emotional intelligence tests, DISC, Myers-Briggs, whatever it is that they find helpful in organizations, but they’re looking for something else to be relevant. That’s what we’re doing.
We’re teaching people to become certified to give the Curiosity Code Index. They can do that at CuriosityCode.com. They can also go to DrDianeHamilton.com and go to the Curiosity link at the top. It’s nice because you get five hours of SHRM recertification credit and discounted assessments later. That’s one way of being able to access the Curiosity Code Index. I know that we’re offering different programs for different people so if you know resellers and all kinds of situations where people are interested in getting involved in testing curiosity. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can get involved, you can contact me through the website at DrDianeHamilton.com or you can email me Diane@DrDianeHamilton.com. There’s so much information that we’ve found about curiosity.
Now we’re working on more information on perception and a lot of different topics that relate to what’s going to help organizations be more innovative, more engaged, more effective, more productive. That’s what we all want. I enjoyed having Ira on the show. We get so many great guests and if you’ve missed any of the past episodes, you can go to DrDianeHamiltonRadio.com or you can go to the blog at DrDianeHamilton.com. Everything that Ira and I talked about, there are links to which is nice and there are tweetable moments. It would be great to see some of those tweets go out there to show people that you’re interested in the show and support us because a lot of people can gain a lot of information from the sites. I enjoyed this episode and I look forward to the next episode of Take The Lead radio.
- Success Performance Solutions
- Recruiting in the Age of Googlization: When the SHIFT Hits Your Plan
- Curiosity Code Index
- The Perfect Labor Storm
- The Perfect Labor Storm 2.0
- Geeks, Geezers, and Googlization
- Geeks, Geezers and Googlization – Podcast
- TED Talk – Ira Wolfe
- Future Shock
- Brave New World
- LinkedIn – Ira Wolfe
- Twitter – Hire Authority
- Facebook – Success Performance Solutions
- Instagram – Success Performance Solutions
About Ira S. Wolfe
Described as a “Millennial trapped in a Baby Boomer body,” Ira S. Wolfe has emerged as one of HR’s most visionary thinkers in managing the convergence of the tired, the wired, and technology. Ira is a TEDx Speaker and President of Success Performance Solutions, a company that provides hiring solutions, employee assessments, as well as hiring and recruitment consulting. He is a prolific blogger, contributing writer, podcaster, and author. His first book The Perfect Labor Storm launched him onto the national stage which was followed by Geeks, Geezers, and Googlization.
His 2016 TEDx Talk Make Change Work for You became the inspiration for his latest book Recruiting in the Age of Googlization: When the Shift Hits Your Plan. He writes frequently for Forbes, CornerstoneOnDemand’s ReWork, Huffington Post, Lehigh Valley Business Journal, Business2BusinessMagazine, and several regional and industry business journals. He has appeared in INC Magazine, Fast Company, American Express OPEN, Business Week, NFIB, Inc., Intuit Small Business and Fox Business.
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