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January 18, 2010

Hassan: You can't teach attitude.

Sorry--but I'm no Stephen Covey. Most employees cannot be "saved". Burning inside 99.5% of all employees worldwide is an overwhelming ambition to Get Home, Eat Twinkies and Watch Wrestling.

What About Clients?, July 2, 2009

But some of us keep make-believing we can "inspire" attitude. We get hurt. Worse, buyers, customers, and clients get hurt.

This MSNBC video is worthwhile. The attitude "can't be taught in a course" part starts at about 2:50. A native of Pakistan, Fred Hassan was chairman and CEO of Schering-Plough from 2003 until late 2009, when in merged with Merck & Co. (Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. outside of North America). Hassan is now on Time Warner's Board.

Nearly everyone sane believes what Hassan is saying. But hardly anyone (except maybe Jack Welch) has the sand to both say and act on it. You don't need to be mega-rich and have attended HBS to tell the truth. Straight talk is not a luxury of the world's elite.

Say it out loud first: "Very few humans will amount to the dream employees my customers and my firm want and deserve."

To be sure, "nice", "intelligent", "good", "talented" and even "brilliant" is not enough. It was never enough. You need people on fire. Is that what you have? Do you feel as though you have to demand quality? (If "yes", a bad sign.) Are you hiring and keeping people who are poor to mediocre--and then "pretending" they are good or will come around? (If "yes", a bad plan.)

Unless you have it in writing from your buyers, customers and clients that retaining "so-so" employees thrills them, get a new strategy.

Posted by JD Hull at January 18, 2010 12:57 AM

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