Life’s Lessons Learned from a Mother. By Basil Smith

Life’s Lessons Learned from a Mother. By Basil Smith

I’m not about to enter into the Nature vs Nurture debate, other than to say that a caring mother, with a solid sense of responsibility and a work ethic to match, raised me and contributed to the formation of my character.

The chasm of a 40-year generation gap and the exuberance and irresponsibility of youth often prevented me from perceiving or fully appreciating the depth of her character, the power of her example and the wisdom of her counsel in a simple maxim, forged in the crucible of her life’s furnace; “Be calm Son. You can do it. ”.

To say that I was impatient and bad-tempered when things didn’t go as I wished was an understatement.  In situations, when impatience, frustration and anger were driving me speedily to breaking point, the last thing I needed was to hear her words.

I recall gritting my teeth and dismissively regarding her advice as a social nicety, offering little or no practical assistance whatsoever to solving the problem; Kinda like “Kissing it better”. She, however, patiently persisted, as many mothers did and sowed a seed which would have a significant influence upon my life and career.

What I didn’t realize then was that the actual problem was in my mind and not the difficulty I was experiencing accomplishing the task. My ageing mother could see what I couldn’t… or wouldn’t- I had an attitude.

In the 60’s EQ, or Emotional Intelligence, hadn’t yet become a buzzword and neither we teenagers, nor our parents, had the faintest idea that such even existed! Our parents however had another word for it, experience.

I became more aware of the ineffectiveness of anger and of the positive power of calmness when dealing with life’s challenges. I came to appreciate that her advice was profoundly simple and simply profound.

Twenty years into the future, business caught up with parenthood and discovered the mantra; “Hire for ATTITUDE and train for skills.”

Mark Murphy, the author Hiring for Attitude and the CEO of the company, Leadership IQ, stated in an interview by Forbes magazine that research into 20,000 new hires revealed that 46 % failed within their first 18 months! 89% of those failures did so for attitudinal reasons and only 11% for a lack of skill. Among their prominent attitudinal deficiencies were; a lack of teach-ability; inability to cope with failure and to assimilate feedback; a temperament reflecting low levels of emotional intelligence and a lack of motivation.

You can look forward to even greater success in your career by developing the right attitude… You may even want to ask your Mom.

  By Basil Smith

Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.
                                                                                                                                             – William James

What Are Psychometric Assessments? By Mark Cunningham

What Are Psychometric Assessments? By Mark Cunningham

Psychometric assessments can give managers and organisations objective, in-depth and consistent information about their employees. To manage effectively, one needs to measure effectively. Many factors inhibit managers from acquiring enough of the right information about their employees to make the best possible decisions for both the individual and the organisation.

There are 4 main reasons for this:


  1. People are difficult to read.
  2. Future employees have a tendency to embellish their c.v.’s and qualifications
  3. Managers tend to filter employee performance reviews
  4. We have biases that unconsciously influence our decisions such as race, gender, etc.

Valid psychometric assessments can uncover truthful information about the employee in a very cost and time effective manner.

When buying a R50 000 computer for a business, great care is taken in ensuring that a sound investment is made. The “right people” is said to be a companies greatest asset….do we spend enough time, effort and money in researching whether we make a wise investment in hiring and selecting the right people?

Here are some essential questions for selecting the right assessments for you and your organization:

  1. What is the purpose of the specific assessment tool and how will it help us accomplish the objectives of our assessment program?
  2. How does the assessment help us understand the whole-person to give us a more solid basis to make important career and employment-related decisions?
  3. Is the assessment instrument unbiased and fair to all groups who will be assessed?
  4. Is the assessment procedure and instrument adequately reliable for our use?
  5. Is the assessment procedure and instrument valid for our specific purpose?
  6. Is the assessment tool appropriate for our target population?
  7. Is there understandable and comprehensive documentation available for the assessment instrument?
  8. Is training and support provided for assessment administrators?
  9. Is the data from the assessment instrument secure?
  10. Is training and support available to ensure that scores are interpreted properly?
  11. Is the outcome of the assessment simple enough to enable managers to interpret the results or is a certified professional required?

Over 75% of the Times Top 100 companies in the UK and over 80% of the fortune 500 companies in the USA use psychometric assessments. If you or your organisation are not using assessments to assist in your people decisions have a look at the benefits thereof:

  1. Selecting people most likely to succeed in a job
  2. Accelerating time for people to become fully productive in a new role
  3. Improving alignment and communication between managers and employees
  4. Reducing workforce conflict and improving employee satisfaction
  5. Maximizing each employee’s contribution to the organization
  6. Reducing employee absenteeism and turnover
  7. Increasing sales performance and customer loyalty
  8. Enabling strategic workforce management and succession planning
  9. Increasing overall workforce capability, productivity, and agility

It has been said that to get to know people, you can either observe them, which takes time and is costly, or you can assess….Good luck on your assessment journey and remember to make informed decisions regarding your greatest asset…”the right people”.

 By Mark Cunningham

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