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November 2, 2020

What is the difference between experience and success?

What is the most important factor when hiring a leader? At Misura Group, we look for the candidate’s proven history of success. While a degree, certification, or number of years of experience might be on your list of must-haves, does it outweigh the impact of a candidate’s success in a similar environment?

Consider this example from NASA:

On October 14, 1947, Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier, at a time when the fast fighter planes struggle to reach 500 MPH. Yeager’s most outstanding achievement was December 12, 1953, when he flew his Bell X-1A at Mach 2.435, 1650 miles per hour, over Edwards Airforce Base. The flight did not go as planned as the aircraft spun out of control on all 3 axes, plummeting 51,000 ft in 51 seconds before he regained control at 25,000 ft and landed safely. Scientists believe Yeager’s body withstood 8x G forces, meaning a 200-pound body would feel the weight of 1600 pounds. Imagine battling through that trauma to regain control of a damaged aircraft and land safely, traveling at 1600 miles per hour. https://www.chuckyeager.com/1947-1954-testing-the-limits

Fast forward to April of 1959 – the Mercury 7 Project, the development of the world’s first astronauts, under the newly formed NASA. Why did the list of 7 legendary heroes glamorized in the 1983 movie The Right Stuff not include Chuck Yeager? It was not his age, as revisionist history was spun to control NASA’s image. Alan Shepard was only nine months younger than Yeager, Wally Schirra, one month younger, and John Glenn was 19 months older than Yeager.  In actuality: NASA required a college degree, and Yeager had his high school diploma from Hamlin, WV. Yeager was the most successful person in the world in exhibiting the physical and mental prowess related to being an astronaut. He had the proven history of success. https://www.businessinsider.com/14-reasons-chuck-yeager-may-be-the-greatest-military-pilot-of-all-time-2016-3


Know the difference between experience and success 

Leaders running a lazy hiring process will talk about the required experience of a candidate. The world is full of people with experience. The perennial bottom 20% of performers have experience, the professionals who repeatedly self-sabotage have experience, but success, on the other hand, is a clear distinction. A history of success in the exact situation, achieved 3 times or more in a similar environment, is the best indicator of future success.

What is most commonly the #1 problem with hiring processes? It is interviewing a limited and shallow pool of talent that lacks a proven history of success. If you do not have more than 2 excellent candidates fighting over the position at the end of your hiring process, your process is suspect. Do not settle. Embrace your strengths along with your areas for growth. The solution is simple, fix the problem areas or hire an expert recruiting firm to deliver the high-level talent your company and team deserve.


In 2002, at the EAA Air Venture in Oshkosh, WI, I saw an old guy climb into P51 Mustang and start taxiing down a runway. Like a kid, I start running after the plane, the family in tow, as the deep throaty merlin engines shake the ground. The fighter plane pulls over into side access next to a podium and the pilot Chuck Yeager climbs out. A mass of 10,000 people walking by clueless, as our family is talking with Chuck one on one. It took about 30 minutes for the crowd to figure out who he was. His message was clear: the minute the US Space Program moved outside the authority of the US military, the focus shifted to money, fundraising, image, and profits. The list of NASA errors and tragedies attributed to that bane is long. Here is a photo of my son, Logan, from the day we met a hero.

Hire Smarter – Tony

 

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