Is Reward Seeking Behavior the Key to Success?

Recently HVS Executive Search conducted interviews with three male executives and a breakfast brief made up of approximately 12 women and three men. One of the males in this group suggested that males spend 50% of their time doing a good job and 50% of the time seeking approval and are therefore more visible. This high visibility is the key to their success. He went on to suggest that women spend all of their time doing a good job and do not seek approval. This behavior, therefore, is the key to their lack of visibility and drives their failure. In another interview, one of the executives suggested that males climb the corporate ladder because of their visibility due to the approval they seek for doing a good job. This is interesting fodder for discussion. However, we know through the use of assessments, that both men and women seek rewards for their work. The other two drivers for success mentioned in the interviews by various contributors were development and relationships.

The main topic of these interviews was the existence of a glass ceiling in the hospitality industry and the success of women. One executive suggested that many groups have their own glass ceilings based on ethnicity, culture, qualifications, not just gender alone. Several executives suggested that developing organizational team members regardless of gender plays a role in the success of both the individual team member, team productivity, and the success of the organization. Therefore, the question for leaders is does your organization have both the ability to recognize those with the knowledge, skills, and attributes necessary to keep the organization moving forward and then a program to develop these individuals and teams? A foundation for development is for individuals to know themselves. Development cannot begin from a place of ambiguity. One must have self-knowledge of behaviors, knowledge, experience, skills, motivators, and thinking processes. Armed with this knowledge, development can begin. Procuring this self-knowledge via assessments can facilitate the sharing of the information. In addition, relationships play an important role as well.

When coaching people who say they want to get ahead, it is amazing that these same individuals do not bother to network and if they do, it is typically done while in a panic mode of just having lost their job. Evenly more astounding, they do not bother to network and build relationships within an organization. Relationship building works just the same internally as externally. The organization can play a role in relationship building by holding round table discussions, town hall meetings, and focus groups internally. Invite those who are respected for their knowledge, experience, and vision. In addition, establishing mentor programs for promising team members can help accelerate their development, enhance succession planning, and help build productive networks within the organization.

There are women who have the drive to succeed and men who are laggards. Of course, the reverse is true as well. It is the responsibility of the individual, regardless of his/her gender to ensure their growth and success. It is the responsibility of the organization to recognize these individuals and reward them accordingly. It s essential to the success of the organization that deserving team members are not bumping up against a glass ceiling and that they are in the right positions for their talents and meeting the goals of the organization – regardless of gender, ethnicity, or any other insidious barrier.

Thank you for reading this blog. We look forward to your comments.

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