Hiring for expertise and/or experience only is a tremendous mistake that has heavily taken place in thousands of organizations throughout the globe for decades now with extensive disastrous results.Economic crisis has further worsen that. The entrepreneurs and executives do not have the composure (or is it the long term view?) to employ a person that combines high level required soft skills with a solid learning attitude unless she comes from the same industry! How do they justify that? “I have no time to invest on a good person that doesn’t know my market. I prefer someone specialized, experienced, ready to produce results even if mediocre (!)”. Under this very simple but autistic way of making decisions, useful skills are thrown away, synergies are never reclaimed, organizations do not become great, people do not get improved. It’s like you are being offered a giant ocean 100 meters from where you stand and you insistently stick on an insignificant lake next to your arm.

Of course, both expertise and experience are toughly obtained, and as such they should be highly respected and recognized. Of course, one needs time and effort to get them. On the other hand, it is rather unavoidable to obtain them through a solid professional career and absolutely expected to be acquired by assertive learners. But if one is incapable of sharing those, they are useless.

Undoubtedly, attitude is the key. Attitude is the master of the game. Attitude explains failure and success. Attitude accounts for any real achievement or serious malfunction. Attitude does not have to do with master classes, time spent on seminars, number of projects undertaken, years of service. Attitude has to do with attitude. With these little daily behavioral expressions that “make it or break it”. For any issue, any incident, any project, any goal. It stems very deep in one’s character and education and it waters every smaller or bigger manifestation in life.

Defining a positive attitude, this should include authenticity, honesty, integrity, willingness to share, team spirit, humility, consistency, resilience, determination. A good (positive) attitude can hugely make up for an average experience or mediocre expertise, because experience and expertise can be acquired with time and effort, whereas the best expertise and the greatest experience cannot make up for a bad attitude. I’ve seen average people with a good attitude thriving and helping their organizations flourish, and a lot (unfortunately more than a lot) brilliant people with excellent expertise, with tons of experience failing and destroying teams, projects, targets, organizations. Why? Simply because attitude is contagious.

In today’s era of unprecedented and up-to-the-minute competition, organizations that wish to thrive should prove in practice that they’ve learnt their lesson. They should stop repeating the same mistake again and again. They should focus more on attitude both before and after hiring someone. Because attitude can inspire people to make the difference.

So, hire for attitude, teach performance, fire for both!

(But keep in mind that performance is a mere result of a well-hidden attitude…)