This is a short clip about character and competence. If I had to choose between either, I would always go for character. The transcript is below the embedded video, and you can also download the transcript in pdf.
Transcript for Character and Competence.
Hi, I’m Elijah Lim. Today, I’d like to talk to you a little bit about character and competence. Now you have probably heard that to succeed in life, to succeed as a leader, to succeed in business, we all need both character and competence, and this is the buzzword that’s going around all over the place. However, if you as a business leader had to hire two people, right, for example, and one of them has good character but doesn’t quite have the competencies or the skills that you need. The other person, B, let’s call him B all right, has all the competencies, has all the skills, but may have questionable character. Which one would you hire? Well, many business leaders would say this to me – I would hire person B, because person B has all the skills and all the competencies and I need those for my business. I can worry about character later on. Very few people will tell me straight off the bat – I am going to hire person A because I am not going to have people of questionable character in my company. I can train for skills, but it’s not easy at all to train someone for character. And I would tend to agree with the business leader who hires person A, the person with good character but who may not have the skills. You see, character is not something that is reserved for saints, it’s not something reserved for people like Mother Teresa, or Gandhi, or Nelson Mandela or any of the great world leaders. Character is something that all of us have. Character can be described as who we are when we are absolutely sure that no one is looking. Character is something like a diamond. You know, a diamond has got forty-nine facets, and each of those facets plays a part in making the diamond so beautiful. And what makes the diamond glitter is this thing called total internal reflection. Because when light enters the diamond from the table, it bounces around on the inside and it causes the diamond to glitter. Character is something like that. We can’t say, “Oh, I’ve got the quality of patience, but I don’t have the quality of tolerance”, for example. It just doesn’t go.
Now, today, I’d like to look at a certain competency called sales. And let’s examine what character qualities are essential for this business competency, this skill, that is called sales. Now, one of the qualities that a salesperson should have is the quality of Persuasiveness. Now, Persuasiveness as defined by Character First! is “Guiding vital truth around another’s mental roadblocks”. Now you will see from this operational definition that there are a few components to the quality of Persuasiveness. First of all, a person who is Persuasive has to have the truth. What is the truth? Isn’t it just facts? Well, truthfulness is more than just facts. You can present the facts to someone with the intention to deceive. You can present facts to someone in a manner that is intended to mislead, and I’ll talk more about that in another video. But, in order to be persuasive, we must have the truth. Now, recall this – when you were young, and you did something wrong. Maybe you got into a fight with a sibling, or something like that, and your parents called you up, and they asked you “What did you do?” Now, if you had to answer that question, what would you do if you were in the wrong? Very likely you would look down at the floor, and your voice would go very, very small, and you would not have the boldness to stand up and say “I was right because this, this, this and that.” Because you jolly well know that you were in the wrong. Now someone who is presenting something that is not true has the same kinds of feelings. And no matter what you do, your body is not going to be able to mask the fact that you are not telling the truth. Besides, if your client or your customer is a highly discerning one, he or she will know how to cross examine you in order to get at the truth. And therefore someone who is persuasive must have the truth. And in order to get the truth, we need to be diligent, we need to research our facts. We’ve got to find out everything that we know about the product, or the services that we are selling. We have to research the market. We’ve got to research the client, the customer. We have got to suss out what is it that they really need. And we need to tell them in a manner that would persuade them to say “Hey, look, this is what you want, but let me tell you that this is what you really need. Do you agree?” So if we have truth, it is a very powerful component to being persuasive.
Now the next one, the next component of the quality of Persuasiveness, is guiding the truth around someone else’s mental roadblocks. How do we know what a person’s mental roadblocks are? Now, a mental roadblock is a belief, right, it’s a….many of us call it a limiting belief. Or, it may be a belief that is simply based on something that is not true, but which that person has assumed is true. So how do I guide truth around…your roadblocks, for example? Well, first of all I’ve got to discern…the quality of discernment, knowing why you have those beliefs and digging deep, asking you questions, giving you examples, illustrations, asking you to give me examples, illustrations, as to why you think this or why you think that. So, the quality of persuasiveness also needs within it the quality of discernment. I would also need the quality of sensitivity. I will need to be able to feel what you’re feeling, try to get under…inside your head, to know what you’re thinking, and I need to understand why you are having those thoughts, why you are having those feelings. And to present the service, or the goods, whatever it is that I’m trying to sell to you as, “Hey, look, you know, this is going to address your concerns. Right…and your concerns are baseless…” And not say it in the way that I’ve just said, but help the person to see that, “Hey, that what I believed in is not true. But instead, this is true.” So, you see, when we speak about character qualities, we don’t just look at them in isolation. There are reinforcing qualities, and there are balancing qualities. If I, for example, become “excessively persuasive”, if there ever is such a term, then I could go into the area where I become manipulative, where I press your buttons, where I, you know, tell you things that you want to hear, where I play on your fears, where I play up your inadequacies, where I make you feel that if you don’t buy this product or this service, life is not worth living for you. Well, if I push my “persuasiveness”, so to speak, that far, it becomes manipulation. And so, that is why balancing is required. We can’t be too aggressive in our persuasiveness. Well I hope you’ve taken away something from this video, and I do hope that the next time you hire someone, you engage with someone, or you move out on a joint business venture with someone, that you do so with people of integrity, people that have good character qualities. Thank you for watching, this is Elijah Lim, have a great day!