Over lunch today, Ben and I discussed the fairly well know eternal truth: "Suffering produces endurance, endurance builds character, and character gives one hope."
Wow, what a concept...character produces hope. This flies in the face of most myths we are fed through the media, movies and modern day parenting practices, doesn’t it? It certainly makes us reconsider serving up the gravy train for our kids.
But it got me thinking...What value do most organizations truly place on character? Do you fall into the fallacy of style over substance?
Riverdale Country School is one of New York City’s most prestigious private schools, earning itself a place among the city’s most elite private-schools. Tuition starts at $38,500 a year...and that’s for prekindergarten. The headmaster, Dominic Randolf, is drastically changing the way high potential kids are assessed and screened.
Paul Tough of the New York Times writes:
“Randolph is surprisingly skeptical about many of the basic elements of a contemporary high-stakes American education. He did away with Advanced Placement classes in the high school soon after he arrived at Riverdale and he says that the standardized tests that Riverdale and other private schools require for admission to kindergarten and to middle school are 'a patently unfair system' because they evaluate students almost entirely by I.Q. 'This push on tests,' he told me, 'is missing out on some serious parts of what it means to be a successful human.'
The most critical missing piece, Randolph explained as we sat in his office last fall, is character — those essential traits of mind and habit that were drilled into him at boarding school in England and that also have deep roots in American history. 'Whether it’s the pioneer in the Conestoga wagon or someone coming here in the 1920s from southern Italy, there was this idea in America that if you worked hard and you showed real grit, that you could be successful,' he said. 'Strangely, we’ve now forgotten that. People who have an easy time of things, who get 800s on their SAT’s...I worry that those people get feedback that everything they’re doing is great. And I think as a result, we are actually setting them up for long-term failure. When that person suddenly has to face up to a difficult moment, then I think they’re screwed, to be honest. I don’t think they’ve grown the capacities to be able to handle that.'
Instead, he is determined to figure out how to instill character traits and virtues in these privileged kids he is entrusted to educate.
'The idea of building grit and building self-control is that you get that through failure,' Randolph explained. 'And in most highly academic environments in the United States, no one fails anything.' "
My guess is that most of you who continue to “experience hope” in the real estate industry, have developed character through failure at some point in your life...long before conditions in the real estate market worsened. Those who were riding the success on the coat tails of everyone else’s hard work over the last couple of decades, couldn’t handle the recent adversity, and hit the road. It may not be wise to hire through that same lens again...
So, how can you identify character in interviews? How can you alter your discussions with those you coach and mentor to help build character, and therefore build hope for the future of real estate?
In the next edition, I’ll share with you some interesting research findings and an assessment that might help get to the heart of the matter.
But for the next few days your homework is very simple: Simply memorize or recite 100 times...“And Character Produces Hope.”
Editor's Note: This article was written by Dr. David Mashburn. Dave is a Clinical and Consulting Psychologist, a Partner at Tidemark, Inc. and a regular contributor to WorkPuzzle. Comments or questions are welcome. If you're an email subscriber, reply to this WorkPuzzle email. If you read the blog directly from the web, you can click the "comments" link below.