From the hidden to the obvious

We found this - stunning - image by chance.


It shows, simply, that there are qualities and traits during our selection processes of employees that we look for but that aren’t explicitly available – maybe even they can’t express that they have these traits – how do they solve problems?


What goes on in their minds as they work?

During selection or development, we try to gain a glimpse of these qualities and draw conclusions based on what we see.

The performance of the employee, their pace, their punctuality, their persistence, their reliability will become apparent to those who work with them in a matter of moments.


When we have the opportunity, when we have the tools, why not use them in selection - measure what the person does, how they do it, not whether or not our perceptions of them "fit".


Image source is fischerandpartners blog

The dimension between soft and hard skills

Neither interviews nor paper and pencil questionnaires will discover the daily activity / working style of an associate.


Image was taken in our PsyOn laboratory

We are proud to share this relic

We are proud to share the relic that still affects not only our current services, but also our new developments.


This article published in 1989 is titled "Observations concerning the computer modeling of accident situations" (by Judit Farkas). The computer was a Commodore 64.


The results were not only at the forefront of accident research, but also saved lives - at the time, 10-12 fatal accidents in previous years were reduced to zero in one year, and the same has been maintained ever since in plants using our assessment methods.


Image source iMagyar Pszichológiai szemle 1989/4

An exciting fact about tolerance to monotony

There is a misconception: women are more tolerant of monotony than men.


The tolerance to monotony is actually an attribute of the nervous system; 30% of people tolerate it well, another 30% barely.


The misconception is based on the experience that more women work in monotonous jobs; the truth is that they are coping with the load monotony causes better than men, as secondary earners in the family.

Relic - when tests opened the gates

On Ellis Island, approx. 20 % of early immigrants were tested with intelligence tests.


Based on the results, 2% of them were denied the opportunity to immigrate (


The photo was taken in the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration.

What Maslow didn't say

Maslow did not claim that everyone has a motivation to work.


In fact, nearly 75% of employees work just because it’s the only legal way to make money; which explains why money has the greatest incentive power.


That is, they are empowered by nothing but money ...


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Reaction time - quick and easy measurement

In the first occupational psychology laboratories reaction time was measured using a ruler. Based on the distance the ruler lowered on the wall covered until the persons stopped it by sticking it to the wall with their finger.


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Watching fatigue growing

The common factor of watching movies and fatigue is the resolution capacity of our brains.


There is a frequency at which our brains do not perceive separate images but a coherent sequence of motion.

Workload tests applied at the beginning and end of work show that this resolution changes as fatigue is growing.


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An example of how our brains' resolution changes with the FPS (Frame Per Second) rate in case of 15-30-60-120 FPS rate.

Why are IQ tests frustrating?

There is an intelligence test in which the respondent experiences a barrier and an obstacle of having only 25 minutes to answer forty questions.


The intention in the background is just the opposite: the large number of questions allows to achieve above-average value for those who are good at solving only one type of problem (e.g.. only good at logical problems with numbers, do not know what to do with the figures).


Image source: suhailalgosaibi

Color of trust

It looks like anytime, no matter how many times we look, bright, mostly blue-eyed people have to work much more, much better, and harder to gain the trust of others.


Deep-brown-eyed people are in the best position in this respect - they are chosen by most as a travel companion in a train, most people prefer to sit next to them in public transport, they are most likely to be asked for time or directions.


Even blue- and green-eyed people choose them when photos need to be aligned according to their preference of friendliness judged by the pictures.


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The hidden issue of the interviews - the Psychological Contract

This contract determines the things for which the employees are willing to mobilize their own resources, i.e. where they draw the limits that the employer cannot cross with its expectations, promises, or increasing benefits.


Knowing the type and content of the contract, it becomes clear how the associates can be encouraged and also to what degree they will be satisfied or dissatisfied, or be staying with the company.


However, the Psychological Contract has a critical feature - as soon as it is communicated, it loses its power.


The answer and question type interviews can not reach so deep into the expectations of the candidates. Only the first months of collaboration can reveal some conflicting elements of this silent contract.


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We can draw the rumor

Rumor is like a chain; goes around and closes on us.


It appears when group members work together in a chain-like way, meaning they don’t give information backwards.


In such cases, the links of the chain only convey the information they receive, adding what they know, or how they understood what they heard.


By the time you reach the third, fourth link in the chain, the information is turning into rumors, which we then call gossip.


Similarly, we can draw strong central control, well-organized collaborative groups, and even solitude.


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Good stress is good

There is not a single day when we are not reminded of the harmful effects of stress.


There is undeservedly little talk of positive stress.


In Professor Selye’s original work, good stress is given just as much weight as bad stress.


Unexpected good news, a joyful surprise, also causes stress in the body with the same physiological reactions.


A well-accomplished task, a time that is finally successfully assigned, fills us with satisfaction that drives us to perform better, creatively improve our efficiency, improve ourselves, and increase our self-esteem.


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Shoeshine and smile

There are only a few who has not met yet a quiet, restrained but very successful salesman.


Even having some predictive indexes, psychology does not have an ideal sales profile.


What we know for sure:


  1. Introverts can be as successful in sales as extroverts

  2. The high emotional intelligence of a salesperson supports success only if the buyer is forced to make an impulsive decision

  3. The most efficient working model for selecting and managing salespeople is the Hunter-Farmer-Fisherman model aligning daily sales activities with the sales strategy of the company.


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Dissatisfied satisfaction

Dissatisfaction with the job can drive creativity.


There are needs that, even if satisfied by the organization, as a result, employees will only not be dissatisfied; at least for the time being.

Examples are pay rises or changing the type of inconvenient protective equipment.


Then there are things that can make employees happy, but they also need to be satisfied on a regular basis; such is the amount of information they receive from what they expect, such as feedback, encouraging handshakes.


And there is the creative dissatisfaction when employees want more, differently, and do everything they can to bring about their ideas, change.


It is not known (at least we did not find one) whether there has ever been a questionnaire that included all three satisfaction groups, but for most companies, the majority of the surveys focus on the factors that cause dissatisfaction.


And work could be a more enjoyable activity.


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Instrumental measurements drive psychology at work

When we talk about psychology at work, we mostly associate it with tests.


However, labor & organizational psychology also uses instruments to measure skills and abilities; time and error, speed and accuracy to prevent accidents, overload, and fatigue, to personalize job elements


These data are used  to make reliable predictions about who will be satisfied  and successful in what activity, job, and even organization.


The reliability of these measurements is very high because the results cannot really be influenced by the actual conditions or preparation being defined by the characteristics of the nervous system.


Image source: our PsyOn psychology laboratory

The reverse assessment centers

The first Assessment Centers were just the opposite of the methodology currently used: the occupation, age, and abilities of the people enlisted in the World War II army were very different.


To increase the chances of survival, the tactical role best suited to the nature of the soldiers had to be found.


They were given tasks that revealed which soldiers were better at solving intelligence, reconnaissance, supply, and other combat situations.


In the selection, in addition to the correct task solution, the behavior corresponding to the role was the stronger criterion.


Today, most ACs are put together by testing the same predefined competencies in multiple situations to select the candidate who, according to the evaluators, best fits the organizational culture.


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The limits of soaring

The lower altitude limit to flights was dictated by the information processing speed of the brain.


After a series of improvements, the planes flew so fast that the image seen by the pilots simply lagged behind the actual position of the plane, so they repeatedly collided with hills and mountainsides thought to be distant.


Thus flight controls had to be given to robots.


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The limits of soaring

The lower altitude limit to flights was dictated by the information processing speed of the brain.


After a series of improvements, the planes flew so fast that the image seen by the pilots simply lagged behind the actual position of the plane, so they repeatedly collided with hills and mountainsides thought to be distant.


Thus flight controls had to be given to robots.


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Handling conflicts takes more than just talking about it

Today, I listened to a lecture where the most effective way to deal with conflict was identified as “Let’s Talk”.


In labor psychology, in workplaces, we see that dealing with truly insoluble conflicts needs more.


First, the parties to the conflict must agree that they are willing to cooperate in the future. Without it, no step forward can be taken.


Once this agreement is in place, the second step is to set common goals - why they are willing to continue their relationship.


The third and final step is to establish the rules of cooperation in such a way that all those rules are clear and acceptable to all actors.


Then and only then can come the "Let’s Talk" part.


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The power of colors

The first of the color tests were the Lüscher test. The basic test consists of eight colors and assesses the forms of personality cooperation with the outside world, such as activity passivity, need for reinforcement sensitivity, etc.


In order to reduce the projective nature and thus the complexity of the evaluation, the original test was 'reversed'; personality descriptive properties should be chosen and the results expressed in colors.


The test is also used to show the nature of the change in the behavior of the responder in stress or emergencies other than 'normal' operation.


The Lüscher test is curious about how someone feels, how they express themselves, how they relate, how they experience what happens to them - a cavalcade that is variable, agile, full of life.


Simplifying the complexity of personality into one color is enough only to initiate a dialogue rather than form an opinion or judgment - the latter makes both the observed one and the observer poorer.


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Success seeking

Success seekers (Rotter) are defined as those who strive to succeed by finding the means to control the things and events they can change and by cooperating with circumstances over which they have no control.


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Without boundaries

The airline pilot aptitude test was introduced after the first 10-yearly meeting of the training school could no longer invite any members of the first class - they were no longer alive.


Research into the reasons for this, among other findings, confirmed Szondi's theory of instinct; many flew until they reached their limits.


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Measuring emotional intelligence

As early as 1920, Thorndike was already researching what we have since 1998 attributed to Goleman, emotional intelligence.

In fact, it is the only test whose results are not interpretable on a normally distributed scale, i.e. not evenly distributed in the population from low to average to high.


Its validation is better to be based on the results of groups that are demonstrably different in terms of emotional intelligence.


The most successful long-distance runners and deep-water diving champions have the least developed EQ, while the most successful salespeople have the most developed EQ.


If an emotional intelligence test can show this difference, it works well.


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When 3D works

There were 10-12 fatalities a year and a lot of mutilations in large companies before the introduction of occupational fitness testing - one of the main causes of which was a one-eye vision.


About 30% of people are born with one-eye vision.


The brain is good at correcting for three-dimensional vision, but in blurry factory halls, at great distances or even at too short distances,


it can no longer form a very accurate picture of the spatial positioning of objects and people in relation to each other - for bridge crane operators working at heights of 6-8 meters, forklift drivers, saw operators, good visual acuity was not enough.

More experience, more thrill, more excitement!

Just 25 years after Zuckerman's 1978 Experience Seeking scales were published, we had to raise the average range of three of the four factors because more and more people were falling into the higher-than-average zone.


It looks like we have responded to the increased accessibility of extreme sports and extreme experiences by increasing our demand for thrills and - it seems - we are asking for more and MORE!


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Discipline vs. personality trait

We would like to share two extreme examples of what a simple personality trait can do.


The first is that of a crane operator who regularly teetered on the edge of discipline and indiscipline.


Sometimes he had coffee, sometimes he had to go to the toilet, sometimes he got a little dizzy at 8 meters. A labor psychology examination revealed one thing: extremely high sociability, a particularly high need for social interaction.


It was not a problem of discipline but of simply not being able to be alone.


Another example is an extreme introvert who was assessed after several tardinesses and unjustified absences; we had revealed that being placed in the onboarding process of a group of new recruits caused too much workload.


Extroverts have a silent nervous system, so they need impulses from outside to keep on moving. Introverts however have a very loud nervous system and are so busy to handle their inner activity that there is little space and time to cooperate with the external issues.


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About the origins of assertiveness

As a communication style, assertiveness was invented by sales - originally it was intended to provide the potential buyer with a series of questions, the last of which could only be answered with "Yes, I'll buy".


By nature, we only have three communication positions:

either dominance or subordination, depending on what we want to "get out" of the situation, and the third one, cooperation.


The point is not which style we adopt but rather whether the communicators are partners in maintaining communication and seeking to resolve the situation through complementary styles.

Ergonomics - about workplace design

Ergonomics is the most technical branch of labor psychology:

in the design of workplaces, work equipment and products, ergonomics aims to ensure that work is done and equipment, tools, and controls are used in a comfortable posture, with as little effort and strain as possible.


But one of the first experiences/approaches was the other way round: you could only be a tank driver if you were less than 180 cm tall, otherwise, you wouldn't have fit into the tank.


Image source: lifehacker. com

Success after success

It is mainly the people who take intelligence tests who are asking how much of a disadvantage they have compared to those who do puzzles and solve logic problems - even as a hobby.


From GE's experiments in 1922, and from my own experience, it seems that the disadvantage can be quite large.


O`Connor has shown in GE research that, for example, those with innately excellent manual dexterity or mathematical problem-solving skills retain this advantage over those with average performance in these skills even when the two groups are in the same development program and the average group's performance is above average.


The innate ability that we develop pushes us to do activities and tasks that we feel successful at, so we repeat more and more, leading to further refinement of an already excellent skill.


Image source: pixabay com

A step into the dark

When we go from light to dark, it takes on average 30 minutes for the eye to fully regain clarity.


Some pilots have been so light-blinded by the lights being off in the cockpit that they didn't realize there was a mountainside ahead.


That's why forklifts have priority in the plants - entering the sunlit yard and dusk-lit hall, drivers can't see much...


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Ball on the road

In the late seventies, the speeding behavior of drivers was studied in a housing estate - braking and accelerating before restrictive and then permissive signs.


At one point on the experimental route, a red polka-dot ball was thrown in front of oncoming cars to measure how the toy, which warned of a small child's approach, would make drivers react.


The results were shocking, and psychologists did not dare to publish them for about 20 years - 90% of drivers showed no reaction at all, not even the slightest sign of slowing down, let alone braking.


It is no coincidence that there should be special signs to warn about children...


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The Pygmalion effect

The Pygmalion effect - if you believe in others, they will start to believe in themselves.


In the early 1960s, Jacobson and Rosenthal discovered the Pygmalion effect by investigating the power of positive and negative feedback.


After teachers had received "near-genius" psychological evaluations of some students, these students began to achieve truly near-genius results.


Those students who were told that another person liked them actually began to behave in ways that made the other person like them.


Of course, it wasn't the students who suddenly changed - it was the more frequent reaching out, the supportive correction of mistakes made, the increased level of acceptance that brought out the best in them.


The experiment proved that the self-fulfilling prophecy works... if you believe in others, they will start to believe in themselves.


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The loss of innocence

According to Freud, we laugh at jokes because they unlock a hidden part of our unconscious for a moment without shame.


Maybe it's our subconscious having fun...


What's certain is that jokes work because of the unexpected - the punchline is a solution to a question or situation that we don't expect at all, because it's outside the alternatives we think of as possible endings.


The secret of excellent joke-tellers is to bring the introductory situation as close as possible to our personal experience, only to demolish it with elemental force - that's what makes us laugh.


Those without a sense of humor are the most creative people - the punchline doesn't work for them because their brains don't limit the range of possible solutions to what might actually happen.


This is also why children up to the age of about 4 or 5 don't understand jokes - for them, anything is possible and the impossible or the absurd is "normal".


Sadly, it can be a sign that a child is becoming an adult when starts laughing at jokes.



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The pursuit of individual benefit harms the majority

There are many dangerous traffic situations, but some in which any one of the three actors could save the day, yet very often end in death, even for professional drivers. One such is a head-on collision when overtaking a slow vehicle on a two-lane road.


The overtaking driver has been forced to stay behind the slow vehicle for God knows how long and is in a serious adrenaline rush to get a clear overtaking situation.


The "innocent" oncoming driver has no idea what has happened - all he sees is an intruder forcing him to slow down or brake, taking up his space and time, a competitor to say the least, but more like an enemy. This driver doesn't slow down, doesn't turn back, but rather fights for what they think is right, or what is "his due"; even if it kills them.


And then the "laughing" third - the slow vehicle, who, if the driver has pulled over, who, if the driver has stopped and let go, or at least helped to overtake... does not often remain on the scene after the accident, following the principle of "go slow", go far...


This is a typical conflict situation, where it would be enough if only one actor acted differently to achieve a common benefit. The pursuit of individual benefit harms the majority.


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Work avoidance

People who take on other people's tasks instead of their own are costly.


It was a Time Management training in a sales company.


The employee because whom the training was initiated and who had the group to be trained in time management turned out to be excellent at fixing printers, delivering mail, restoring databases, and anything else that wasn't sales; because he was willing to do anything, as long as it wasn't sales.


It came out quickly, the problem was not that the person couldn't manage the time, but rather how to find enough 'pseudo-tasks' to fill the eight hours of the working day to justify avoiding any sales-related activity.


I wonder how many training courses are funded by companies and held by ourselves, which we know can give a lot to the participants, but do not even touch the surface of organizational or individual problems..


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Colors of mother and daughter

Colors of mother and daughter - some info that shades the "science" behind the MBTI personality test


Despite the fact that Edward N. Hay (whose name is best known for his grading systems) introduced the MBTI (Myers-Briggs test) to big-name companies such as GE, Standard Oil, and Bell Telephone in 1947, the authors of the test, mother and daughter, believed that you didn't need to be a botanist to pick flowers, and therefore didn't need to be a psychologist to create an instrument that "measured" personality types.


In 2015, Merve Emre was forced to attend a one-week course costing $1,695 just to get access to the authors' original studies donated by their families to a public library.


As a student, he learned that the test is not a test, but a self-assessment questionnaire and that if we are not satisfied with the results that "came out" about us, it is not the fault of the instrument, but our own, because we wanted to present ourselves in a different, better light than we really are.


It seems that the validity of the instrument is only provided by the citation of Jung's name, and there is no printed original research.


The MBTI training teaches that the relationship between an employer and employee is like a relationship of a couple: once you find the complementary another half, there is nothing else to do, you live happily ever after.


The authors used the results of 550 people to show that people who do jobs that match their personality type perform happily and without complaint because they have found the activity that satisfies them most.


The mother has left behind an unpublished book and a collection of 33 articles (The Ladies Home Journal), one of which is entitled "Why I believe home is the best school", and her daughter won first prize in a crime fiction competition - worth $100,000 today - for her book "Murder is still to come"...


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Selecting the selection tools

Whether as a servant, a prince, or a princess the heroes of the fairy tales had to pass at least three tests and harder and harder tests.


The "There can be only one" has been with us since the world began, when it comes to choosing.


We are preparing a presentation on tests, and are in the middle of a series of articles on the validity of selection methodologies, which is the reason for this post.


Looking at tests historically, one finds that the emergence of methodologies has followed social, technological, and economic changes.


Mass schooling gave birth to Binét's IQ test, world wars to the emergence and widespread use of ACs, industrial revolutions to the various skill tests (this is still going on in IT). The need to increase efficiency led to e.g. Maslow's and McLelland's motivation tests, Belbin's group series...


The question about selection tools is not how many-headed dragons to send candidates to battle with (what to test with), but rather what dragons to breed; where are the methods that give reliable answers to the questions we now have.


In a wartime environment, the need to protect the privacy of the draftees may have been overridden by the need to increase the chances of survival.


When overproduction was used to increase consumption, it seemed the right strategy to make employees themselves the drivers of this consumption spiral, with higher rewards for higher results.


The way for firms to hire all applicants on a will-be basis is very costly.


But what will be the most effective selection tools of the very near future are not widely seen -hopefully - only because those are still undergoing a validation process to provide a firm basis for the answers sought to the questions we are now asking.


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Escape Route

On his first day at a transport company, the new employee drove the truck forward instead of backwards and immediately knocked down the fence wall.


It was mutually agreed to end the employment contract, but the HR employee was concerned about the issue for a long time.


When we started to dissect the story, it turned out that the young man's mother had called the company to ask if they had received his CV, and then also about the interview  appointment.

To the HR manager's knowledge, the mother did not accompany her son to the interview, but it would have been possible if she had waited for him outside the company.


In any case, it was also the mother who called about the outcome of the interview.

The interview went well, there were no concerns about the young man, he was cooperative, sympathetic and his experience was just right.

In the end we concluded that the most likely reason was that he simply did not want to get hired.


As his mother had tight control over the process, and was not satisfied with the information she had received from her son, but  supervised the process directly with the company, the son had no way out.

With no other option to avoid being hired, he chose the simplest solution, which would be of great benefit to him and sufficient harm to others, to avoid having to satisfy his mother's motivation.


This is not an isolated case. In a recruitment pre-screening we saw a young person performing so extremely badly in the tests, that even the most unqualified candidates could not.

We thought she would go home and complain that they, like other companies, did not find her good enough (again).


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We behave in two ways when carrying a container full of liquid or a tray full of drinks.


Some people don't even take their eyes off the pot in their hands and watch for the drink not to spill.


The others, with their eyes, scan the possible routes, looking for obstacles  to avoid falling or stumbling.


The former ones are field independent, according to Kurt Levin, and the latter ones are field dependent.


In Witkin's experiments, in a dark room, only neon tubes were lit on the wall, and there was an armchair that could be adjusted in all directions.


In the experiment, the field dependents "straightened" the chair relative to the oblique tube, and the field independent ones to their own vertical-horizontal sensation.


This quality of ours determines how we perceive our environment, how we learn; field dependents are more inclined to conform to others, to accept their opinions, while those who are field independent need to build their own experience.


Field dependents see things in context, so they adapt easily to their environment, whether it is physical or social.


In contrast, field-independent people are more concerned with the emotions and experiences that things evoke in them, and thus learn.


It amazes me what even a full tray can bring out in us.


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Attention! Selective!

If, for example, chickenpox suddenly pops up in the family, the proportion of people around us who also suffer from it suddenly rises, every  other conversation on the bus or tram is about it, vaccines appear in the news, most advertisements start to talk about it, and even the Saturday night crime story is about chickenpox.


The selective attention makes us think that the world starts to revolve around our recent and current problem.

In the conversations, in the news, in the commercials, all around us, there has always been the same amount of information, the crime story is broadcast at least seven times a year, but only when and if it becomes meaningful to us, we really do hear it, then only rises above the general murmur.

On the one hand, it's a good thing, because it filters out a lot of unnecessary information, but on the other hand, it also hinders us in a lot of ways.

For example, the problem solving that organizations are so keen to make alive and vibrant - when a machine breakdown or quality failure occurs, it's not our laziness but our selective attention that is the biggest barrier to a new approach and to coming up with a new solution.

Because we see, hear and collect the data and information that confirms the previous, proven solution, and that leads us to the same conclusion over and over again.

We don't need anything new, everything proves it's an operator error again, and can be solved by training the perpetrator...

What prevents us from information overload is the same thing that prevents us from being creative, from letting it all flow through us, from letting the connections show themselves; because maybe what we have been told is chickenpox is the black death itself...


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The Barnum effect

"Security is very important to you, but you often feel an irresistible urge to do something that takes you out of your daily routine.

You are independent and don't really allow the opinions of others to influence your judgment.

You like company, but sometimes you have a great need to be alone and think things through..." In 1948, a psychologist named Forer promised his university students that the test he had devised would give them a very accurate, personalized characterization of the people who completed it.

After a week, most of the students rated the descriptions he gave them as very accurate until they were exchanged.

All the characterizations were the same, and the text contained statements similar to those in the introduction - personalized (because their name was on it) positive statements from a person they recognized as a professional authority.

These three factors were enough for them to 'read' their own strengths into the very generalized assessment.

This phenomenon has already been exploited by circus man P.T. Barnum, who promised to offer everyone an experience of his own, albeit with a limited number of attractions. And it has been - just for you, just here, just now...

This Barnum effect also comes up in reverse during the selection process - when you have to part with a not really qualified person, suddenly you know that you had already had doubts during the interviews that it was written down in the test results, but you rather believed or trusted your good intentions in order to fill the position as soon as possible, and in the end it was not specifically written down as NO.

The Barnum effect is why we like horoscopes and the quick personality tests available on the net, where we can see whatever we want into their general and vague assessments.


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Rationality wins

Back in the 1990s, Perrow joked about H. A. Simon's "Rational Man" model, which, if we left it to people, would suggest that the ideal workplace would be one where we could have pleasant conversations about subjects that interest us, where we could suspend our working hours to relax, where we could make new friends and partners, where we could take the baby, the dog...

It's only been 20 years and the Best Workplaces awards have been won by companies where managers create situations where employees make the right choices - for their own well-being and the well-being of the company.


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Is technology our life?

Even if we only spend four, six or eight hours a day at work, it is interesting that when educational channels make films or series about work, the focus is on inventors, the development of technical solutions, special machines and conditions.

Why people are not interested in why we work the way we do work today, how workplaces have evolved throughout history, how cooperation at work has developed?

Why have we left work out of our history education, while it fills almost all our lives?


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In our hands is the dynamics

Graphology officially came into existence in 1872 from the pen of Father Michon...

He and his follower, Crepieux-Jamin, compiled serious standardized lists - the Father based on the individual features of writing and the latter based on the dynamics of writing.

The study of writings at that time was based on a comparison with these scientifically validated standards.

Writing is movement, and just as our movements are unique, our writing also reveals what and how much is working within us (the speed of writing, the pressure of the pen on the paper), as well as how it comes out of us (large letters) or remains within us (small, crumpled words).

One of our colleagues who is knowledgeable in graphology looked at their note taken during a phone call one morning and said, "Oh my God, I'm so terribly disturbed this morning!"


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Our true nature

Until now, we had only one method that, when we gave the instruction, made the candidates fidget, which made them feel uncomfortable - they had to draw little houses as part of the task.

We have previously thought that the reason for this discomfort that they sensed that they are revealing something deeper about themselves than in other tests, like answering questions that assess their technical problem solving or mathematical ability.

Now that we've started online workprobes, we've had candidates who have quickly seen through their differences.


They expected a self-descriptive, self-assessment test, in which - perhaps out of routine - they could present a picture of themselves as they wanted to appear.

By demanding actual work in the work assessment, they no longer wanted to cooperate - this would have revealed something that truly shows how they work, how hard they “push” themselves, or how “lazy” they are, and how much supervision or encouragement they need.

Yet, in the end, in performance situations everyone is exposed because no one can hide their true nature for too long...


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Loosening and binding

We have a testing tool called the Thread Board.

The task is to follow the path of a lower red thread with another thread.

There are protruding pins in the path of the thread, which make the task difficult because the path followed may be modified by them.

We noticed that while representatives of every other profession, including financial directors, logisticians, and operators, wind the thread along the path continuously and without stopping, two professions go about it differently.

Sewing professionals work from pin to pin.

They stop at each pin, go around it to see how the next section will be, and only proceed when they are sure everything is in order.

The other group is the accountants, whose work method reveals their profession.

In their case, accuracy and speed go hand in hand like no other, and the time it takes them to complete the task and the number of mistakes they make are consistent even when comparing data from 15 years ago and now.


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Nobel Prize winner or homeless?

In the 1970s, psychology students were tested to see how "falsifiable" the 480-question (!the longest version) California Personality Inventory was.


First, they were asked to answer as themselves, then as Nobel Prize-winning physicists, and finally as homeless people.


The results were surprising - the profiles of almost 300 physics professors were just as identical as the profiles of homeless people, while their own answers showed a wide range of individual differences.


The results suggest that even in the longest test, the test-taker may be able to present a desirable image of themselves, that is, to achieve more favorable results than their true personality.


This not only shows that the test-taker will try to live up to the image they have created for themselves in real-life situations, but also that - especially because of their widespread use - personality tests provide less and less information about the test-taker and more about how well they work with the test users’ processes and how much they try to meet social expectations.



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On the Obsolescence of HR Tools

It's one thing to continuously examine the methods used and determine if they still measure accurately and credibly. At the initiative of a Mexican consulting firm, we recreated the American Wechsler IQ test (known as Terman there) because the questions had become so outdated that some of the respondents didn't even know what they were about.


The other thing, however, is how well we keep up with socio-economic changes in the content of the measurements. It's a frequent experience for us, and the profession writes a lot about it, that candidates don't show up for interviews, or they don't come to work anymore after the first day, despite having signed a contract.


When most jobs are simple manual labor, when most sales and customer service is based on pre-written scripts, when SAP and Oracle differentiate many engineers who only handle a well-regulated part of the process, it's no longer the level of skills and competencies or even work motivation that distinguishes successful from unsuccessful employees, but rather their work attitudes.


I would like to sound a big alarm - we are slowly reaching our business partners that in addition to traditional measurements, we should also look at who among the candidates really wants to do what the company offers (professional interest, commitment or the lack thereof), whether they want to do it the way the company does (role interpretation), and finally, to make it clear at the selection stage who can be retained and incentivized, as every company has its own set of tools and possibilities for this.


No matter how modern and elegant a test or assessment is, if it doesn't provide the results that employers need most, it's useless. You can teach and develop many things in many people, but their relationship with their employer and work attitude cannot be changed overnight, and we must plan accordingly.


Therefore, there are, and there will be, tools that can be answers to the complaints of HR employees - the question is how open and willing the HR profession is for rapid change...


(Since we introduced these measurements at one of our employment agency partners, the previous interview appearance rate of 60-75% has increased to 100%...)


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The applicant decides

Yesterday, I was almost ready to share a post from an HR professional with extensive interview experience, but the last sentence stopped me in my tracks.

The writing was going well and we got an inside look at what happens behind closed doors after a candidate leaves.

However, there was one sentence, the last one, in which the author suggests that the candidate should not express anything that would be in their own interest, and uses the question "Can I leave early to pick up my child from school?" as a deterrent example.


And then what? Sneak away quietly? Feel sick every afternoon? Or what?

And how is it that a community that supports modern organizational functioning and culture shares such an article?

Just because a representative of a well-known company wrote it?

Or did they not read the last sentence?


Ask any questions that interest you during the interview, tell them anything that is important to you.

You would lose the most if a company hired you that didn't base collaboration on reciprocity, unless you are looking for a "command and control" type of operation because you were born with a whip in your hand and if nothing else, you whip yourselves.


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Truth and Reality

Pointing to the bright yellow sign in front of me, the woman in line who was keeping a constant eye on her two children asked for 25 decagrams of the discounted sliced meat.


As the cashier handed her the package with the price tag, he remarked, "This one is just as good as the other one that's cheaper without the sale...always," and then turned to the next customer.


I know because I learned.

I understand how it works.

Yet every time I encounter it, it hits me hard.

A statement - a piece of information that doesn't say anything more than what it contains.

On sale for this price. That's the truth.

The reader's reality is what gives value to the simple statement... even in a corporate setting...


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Is it worth appearing pink?

This - at least mixed - job market situation, where there is a shortage of labor, but many are still looking for work, puts more emphasis on coping strategies. We mobilize these when we encounter some difficulty. When a new employee enters a company where the turnover rate is 30 or even 70%, they cannot know how exhausted and stressed the organization is.

However, they see that there is no locker, no one who seriously trains them, but many people tell them different things, and they feel that the old-timers do not look upon them favorably - because they see in them someone who will cause at least as many problems as the last new hires, and so on.


And if someone's coping strategy is not to triple their strength and fighting spirit when faced with difficulties, they are likely to leave what - even a little - requires more effort, adaptation, or stress tolerance from them, and move on. Perhaps breaking out of this vicious cycle would require preparing employees for where they will end up, on the one hand, and companies giving a little more emphasis to integrating new people on the other hand.


Somehow, I see that in the search for new employees, both candidates and companies present themselves as “pink”, while the colorful reality is one in which companies should jointly ensure business results, and employees should ensure their livelihood.


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What does the Post-it message say?

Much deeper information about the true nature of organizational collaboration can be obtained by reading the messages on the tea room, bathroom, and refrigerator, and much more from the titles of the diagrams posted on boards and walls and the date of the last update than from the technology accompanying product manufacturing or service.


The "Wash your dishes after yourself" Post-it, but even more so its A4 version preserved in a plastic cover, conveys the message that everyone is fed up with others not behaving as expected - not just in the kitchen... The message becomes impersonal and thus threatening if it is not signed, or if it is signed by the HR department (!!! :))... Someone is watching, seeing, and sending a message... if the organization still has a "soul," humorous comments may emerge that can lighten the mood and offer hope for resolving the accumulated tension within the organization.


The yellowed instructions posted years ago, the Pareto charts sadly sitting under a layer of dust from several months ago are memories of a bygone management culture, whose representatives still live among us but not for much longer...


If we come across such things, we can assume that dissatisfaction is mounting, and firefighting is becoming the everyday form of operation at work. If the consultant sees these things, they can know that they are in the right place because there is indeed a great need for their work.


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Data reading - a future-oriented skill

Welch's work at GE, Kotter's management theory contrasting with leadership theory, and Steve Jobs' leadership charisma only continue the line opened by Ford, which suggests that leaders almost only need to be born.


We have seen an "overachiever" type of director, determined and constantly pushing, we have seen a quiet, more meditative one who never failed to support his colleagues, who anticipated their needs, and we have also seen someone who seemed to do very little but always achieved results.


These leaders have one thing in common: they can go beyond justifying the value of key performance indicators (KPIs), their own and their organization's work, or the lack thereof, waiting for others and pointing fingers...


Their secret is that they know how to read data. It is not enough for them that the indicator is green - they also know how much energy, sweat, effort, and creativity were needed from whom to make that value green, and they are also aware of who else will be needed and to what extent if they want to keep it green.


And this is what makes them truly leaders and good leaders, no matter how they communicate, their colleagues can always feel that they only ask for what is under their control, that they only ask for what they are capable of, and only ask for it until it really leads to the desired result... SAP, Oracle, and similar enterprise resource planning systems provide as much help as they cause trouble...


Either we see all the data or none.

The biggest problem with all the details that leaders also reach information that they have no control over,  but their expertise is limited only by management meetings.

The second greatest leadership virtue is self-restraint - anyone asked for any data (e.g., the scrap% today by the shift supervisor) immediately feels responsible for the value of the indicator, even if they cannot do anything else with it than read it from the system.

This is how the organization is communicated.

The third virtue is distinguishing between information and data.


Just because it is a number, just because a responsible employee says it, it can still be information (we had downtime, but we already fixed the machine) - little information, no data...


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Reality pays off

"Well, even though they were offered a $150 net reward, they didn't produce any more pieces from the assembly line."


But the problem wasn't with their motivation , but rather that they couldn't produce more.


Really not.


It's a closed production line: the piece goes in at the beginning, and a finished piece comes out at the end.

The operator can only change the number of pieces produced by stopping the line; there's no chance to increase the speed or the number of pieces produced.


They just needed to look around a bit; if they pay attention to problems like oil leaks, grinding sounds, or slow parameter changes, they can prevent unexpected downtime, indirectly increasing the number of pieces produced.


If they stop at the first defect instead of waiting until the fifth, they can identify defects earlier and again increase the number of pieces produced.


They just had to find what they could actually influence and act on it, which they did. I know it's not easy to break away from the obvious, but it's worth it because reality pays off much more... for everyone...


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From Execution to Support Levels for Effective Change

One of the most frustrating narrow-mindedness in current organizational development practices is that while customer service, production lines, and anything that works at the implementation level is optimized to the bone, the fish still stinks from the head.


Standardization, 5S, efficiency all stop at the execution level, while the real reserves are at the support levels (product developers, process engineers, to name a few).


Organizations that do not channel the problems of the implementation levels into the problem-solving of the support levels, and do not measure their supporters by how effectively they stabilize production and service processes, execute only the easier half of change management, and in vain.


The reverse practice leads much further: if we first fix the leadership and expert roles, they simply "pull" the effectiveness of the implementers, which puts less burden on everyone and leads to much better results.


The standardization of problem solving creates a system of Best Practices across continents, standardizes managerial work, yes, standardizes managerial tasks at a level required to elevate the work of managers and management.


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Who shall we sit next to?

It seems that no matter when, how many times, or in what way they are examined, people with clear, mostly blue eyes have to work much harder to earn the trust of others.


Those with deep brown eyes are in the best position in this regard - they are chosen by most people as travel companions in a train compartment, people prefer to sit next to them in public transportation, and they are the ones most likely to be asked for the time or directions.


Even those with blue and green eyes choose them when arranging photos according to the degree of radiated friendliness.


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The Best Resume

The best resume nowadays is the one uploaded to as many databases as possible.


In a job market that is lacking thousands of workers, the question is no longer whether a candidate can stand out from the crowd, but rather if they can find the platforms where recruitment professionals, who have already become independent professions, are searching for their qualities.


On social media platforms, the influx of new appearances quickly pushes the data of candidates who have just emerged in the news feed far behind, just like job offers.


The merging of many small databases into a large one usually occurs when applying for a specific, advertised position. So if they are not approached for that, their resumes become outdated and sudden impulses are left for other recruiters...


Perhaps the most effective approach for candidates is to behave with intermediaries in the same way as they would when submitting applications to companies, based on which ones specialize in the positions or types of companies that meet their expectations.


Because one intermediary specializes in insurers, another in lawyers, a third in manual laborers, a fourth in SMEs, and the fifth in recruiters (! :)), etc., each one camps at the entrance of their respective gates, but they all eagerly await the correct answer to the question of their favorite color... (Based on: Monty Python and the Holy Grail).


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Competing Competencies - AC/DC

"At an electric charging station, the power goes out just as a group of 12 tourists arrive to charge their bicycles.


As a regional manager, you are supervising the arrival of the "components" for the new bike wash at the nearest charging station, which is 7 kilometers away when you receive a phone call informing you about the power outage.


What do you do in this situation?"


This is a multi-competency AC/DC task - if you send someone or personally take action, it demonstrates your delegation competency; if you contact the power provider, it showcases your leadership competency; and if you unload the truck carrying the components and bring the tourists and their bicycles over, it mobilizes your customer orientation competency - the choice is yours.


It's easy to break away from traditional tasks developed for single competencies. If we assign a task that requires persuasive skills, anyone who wants to cooperate even a little with the situation will mobilize more than just that one skill. They might try to convince the necessary person, but it's not guaranteed that they will recognize that persuasive skills are the key to a successful solution in a real-life situation...


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Contribution - problem solving or development?

While in a company the initial formal job descriptions assign tasks to people, making the division of labor clear, the additional job descriptions are "requests for help" - they contain tasks that the "veterans" no longer want or are unable to perform, or they include new tasks that require different qualifications than what the organization possesses.


And as the number of tasks proliferates, the organization grows... where the creation of newer and newer job descriptions gives the illusion of control over them.


This is how positions like warehouse and production administrators are created, whose business value is highly questionable, which leads sales to be incorporated into the customer service position - resulting in either a detriment to customer service or stagnant sales accompanied by frustration.


A truly good job description is based on the added business value of a position, on the business results we expect from it.


The whole process works in reverse: if we measure the business effectiveness of an engineer by how quickly they restore a process after a problem, then we are looking for an operating engineer and assign tasks accordingly, including shift meetings where they have to report.


If we expect them to increase the stability and capability of the process, then we are looking for a development engineer, with corresponding activities and project reports.


If - and this is the generally prevalent practice - we employ a process or manufacturing engineer, we mix these two functions, taking the risk that in a problem-solving situation they want to develop, and instead of developments, they solve the same problems day in and day out, because the service has to function, and production has to continue.


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Contribution - problem solving or development?

While in a company the initial formal job descriptions assign tasks to people, making the division of labor clear, the additional job descriptions are "requests for help" - they contain tasks that the "veterans" no longer want or are unable to perform, or they include new tasks that require different qualifications than what the organization possesses.


And as the number of tasks proliferates, the organization grows... where the creation of newer and newer job descriptions gives the illusion of control over them.


This is how positions like warehouse and production administrators are created, whose business value is highly questionable, which leads sales to be incorporated into the customer service position - resulting in either a detriment to customer service or stagnant sales accompanied by frustration.


A truly good job description is based on the added business value of a position, on the business results we expect from it.


The whole process works in reverse: if we measure the business effectiveness of an engineer by how quickly they restore a process after a problem, then we are looking for an operating engineer and assign tasks accordingly, including shift meetings where they have to report.


If we expect them to increase the stability and capability of the process, then we are looking for a development engineer, with corresponding activities and project reports.


If - and this is the generally prevalent practice - we employ a process or manufacturing engineer, we mix these two functions, taking the risk that in a problem-solving situation they want to develop, and instead of developments, they solve the same problems day in and day out, because the service has to function, and production has to continue.


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Role Battles

Communication has three levels: the first one is physically visible, audible, and tangible - the movements, gestures, words, and the atmosphere they create.

This, in a "good girl" manner, often corresponds to the valid social norms and behavioral expectations in the situation.

However, all of this merely wraps up the messages of the second level - what we actually want to achieve in the situation, what we want to persuade the other person to do, or what we allow ourselves to be persuaded into, and, in general, how we want to use the situation and the people involved in it.

But all of this is meaningless until we engage in the everlasting battle of roles on the lowest, third level of the relationship.

Until it is determined between two individuals at this level who is dominant, who submits, or whether they accept each other as partners, the endeavors of the other two communication levels for any kind of dialogue are futile.

This is the explanation for unexpected, sudden emotional reactions in a neutral work situation, one of the explanations why certain promises remain empty words, and also why endless streams of complaints are voiced against individuals and groups within the organization, yet no action is taken to eliminate mistakes or solve problems.


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Motivation, need, incentive

I write it because I write it.

I can't help but read in the literature the kind of statements like "how to motivate your employees."

Motivation, once again: motivation is an internal drive arising from the need for satisfaction.

So motivation is an internal drive that arises in an individual, it sprouts, stirs, and then compels that individual, who has the need, to do something so that the lack caused by the unfulfilled need finally disappears.

Externally, that is, it is only possible to incentivize, not to motivate.

Once again, to incentivize.

Not to motivate.

Because motivation comes from within...

What else can be done is to awaken the need that this individual didn't know about before, as they happily sat with their existing needs, which had already given them a lot (e.g., motivation). Therefore, in its absence, no new, unknown motivation could be born from it.

From within...

I've just poured out the tension of many years (which is also evident in the handwriting I shared), although I feel that I will write it down a few more times, that motivation is an internal drive.


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Is assertive delegation leadership?

I am increasingly convinced that the function of leaders - not the most important, but the only one - is to keep employees in the role for which the position was created by the company.


By delegating tasks and then holding leaders accountable for performance (in any assertive manner), we suggest that the position only exists through the distribution of leadership tasks, and if the leader were not there, the owner of the position would wander lost in the organizational corridors until they starve, or someone finds them with a discarded role.


Of course, I am exaggerating, but still...

With role management, it would be unlikely for a consulting company to hire employees who sell "boxed products" (just because it was successful at other consulting companies) and then reward them based on their compliance with the route plan, even though the revenues are not proportional to the number of acquired clients, and the product does not exist until the consultants create it together with the client.


And if you cannot keep someone in that role, don't just assume that the employee is unsuitable, but also consider that perhaps the role itself is changing... I see this as the key that opens gates for change management....


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Building and Dissolving Groups

As I use public transportation, I find myself contemplating the dynamics of group formation at every multi-stop station. Today, while I stood alone, another bus pulled in, and I simply stepped back. The driver understood that I wasn't waiting for that particular bus.


When many of us gather at the station, we naturally segregate ourselves from those merely passing through, bound for other stops. So, we form a loose group, connected by time, place, and the shared activity of waiting.


The true bonds within this loose association of people become apparent when individual buses arrive, and those reaching their destinations board. Among those who remain, a select few separate themselves as non-boarders, often solitary individuals who step back if the approaching bus isn't their own. The majority stays put, united as the waiting group.


It only takes the splashing of rainwater by a passing car onto the sidewalk for these strangers to suddenly coalesce into a strong, temporarily united group, bound by their shared inconvenience caused by the drivers. Then - perhaps even unexpectedly to themselves - they take on group roles to handle the various aspects of the situation in line with their adopted roles - there are those who blame the cars, some the plumbing or road conditions, and some are angry for the sudden defensive leap of those in front of them.. Swift alliances for protection and resistance form, but they dissolve as each person's bus arrives.


The group's strength gradually wanes as buses depart one by one, leaving those who remain feeling as solitary as they were when they first arrived at the station. The past and future remain hidden, while the weary travelers stand out as members of a larger group.


This picture was taken at Mátyás Square in the 8th district of Budapest.

A dysfunctional organization

The main challenge with group and shift supervisor training programs is that even though participants acquire a lot of knowledge and could implement what is necessary, every other position "above them" in the organization functions "one level below“ ; the production manager does the work of the engineers, the engineer does the work of the technician, and the technician does the work of the shift supervisor...


Until we "elevate" these positions to their proper place, the group and shift supervisors are trapped in the narrow scope of action that the organization provides them with, primarily to rectify the mistakes and issues caused collectively.


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Communication disorders

When we refer to a position as Key Account Manager and in the weekly report, we hold them accountable for the fulfillment of the customer visit route plan, there is only one thing that drives those in the role: obtaining their own commission at any "cost."


Neither customer, product, nor service strategy, nor the company's market position matter, because the contradiction between the designation and the meaning shows them that the organization itself doesn't know what it wants.


If it's a KAM, then there is a customer strategy, and the measure of customer development is the key metric, with complex services or enhanced products being the value proposition.

If fulfilling the route plan is the operating mode, then the sales volume of well-developed products is directly proportional to the number of visited customers - in other words, it's an agency activity that needs to be carried out.


Who would think that - possibly given out of courtesy because it sounds more serious than simply calling someone a salesperson - the simultaneous use of the KAM designation and the route plan (because in the previous company, everyone who worked in the sales of cold cuts meant this) confuses not only the success criteria but also the behavior choices of the employees: if they fulfill the route plan, they are praised, even if they don't sell anything; if they sell, but only to the same nine companies, they still receive the commission, even though they don't actually meet the expectations placed upon them...


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Organizational downgrade

„Somehow, I forgot about the competencies of stress tolerance and problem-solving in the customer service position, or how was it again?


I know we were talking about it, but what was the conclusion?”

At the company whose HR manager called, it's been almost a year since we implemented the competency system tied to performance indicators.


We said that these are not competencies; these are system flaws...

The scripts are missing that provide guidance for handling potential customer complaints, just as the tracking of customer history is missing (it is technically feasible to calculate "customer error points" - i.e., how notorious someone is for complaining).

The problem-solving system is also missing: one element of this is that a high-error customer is handled by someone else, not the "normal" customer service - the call duration does not fit into the prescribed conversation time norm if we only consider this.

Another element is that a real problem-solving expert should be immediately available (whether it's about a balance, i.e. money, technical assistance (how to set up, handle), or communicating how to minimally use the system during a currently arising, irritating error or disturbance, and when its resolution can be expected).


„Well, now I remember...” - after a long silence, - „so we're back to the point that the problem lies with leadership competencies...”

Well, yes... somewhere there...


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© 1991 PsyOn All Rights Reserved.

© 1991 PsyOn All Rights Reserved.
© 1991 PsyOn All Rights Reserved.
© 1991 PsyOn All Rights Reserved.
© 1991 PsyOn All Rights Reserved.