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  • Writer's pictureTony Richards

Don’t Choose an Apple If You Want an Orange

Imagine walking through your local grocery store or local fruit market. You have been thinking for a couple of weeks that you would like to have an orange for a snack or maybe for an after meal delight to take the place of a dessert. Or perhaps, you would like to start your day with a nice orange for breakfast. Or maybe, you recently had an appointment with your doctor who has suggested adding an orange in with your diet for various reasons. The point being, you are in the market for an orange.

You stroll around the fruit section looking for the oranges, but instead, you stop by the apple section. You like the way the apple looks. You roll it around in your hand examining it and it looks really good, so you decide to put the apple in your basket and then leave the store. The next morning when it’s time for your breakfast, you pull out the apple and peel it. You stick a piece of the apple in your mouth and surprise surprise…. It’s not an orange! You had been thinking about that orange for weeks and now you have an apple.

Believe it or not, leaders go through this exact scenario when they hire people. They have their heart and mind set on one thing and then after they hire the applicant, they are surprised and horrified when they find out they wanted an orange but hired an apple.

The ideal person they wanted to hire would have had these attributes:

  1. People-oriented

  2. Good at managing conflict between people

  3. Turns confrontation into positive results

  4. Creative at problem-solving

  5. Very adaptable in situations

  6. Very concerned about the quality of service

  7. Builds good confidence in others

But the person they hired had these attributes:

  1. Looks for logical solutions

  2. Present facts without emotion

  3. Comprehensive and data-oriented in problem-solving

  4. Suspicious of people in conflict

  5. Looks at the situation realistically

  6. Troubleshoots the process first

  7. Tough-minded

They wanted an orange but hired an apple. Don’t misunderstand, both apples and oranges are good in their own right, but sometimes you need an apple and sometimes you need an orange depending upon the position and when you mix your apples and oranges, you have a recipe for disappointment and disaster.

Our talent assessments and algorithms help our clients do a better job of identifying both the job you want to create and then locating the perfect fit by screening your candidates and evaluating them to fill the role you need for your perfect outcomes and goals. We recommend mixing together your objectives, your experience, and our science and expertise to make sure you don’t choose an apple when you really need an orange.

For more resources, sign up for Tony’s Monday Morning Coaching Memo.

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