The Psycho-path to Success?

One of my favorite Warren Buffet quotes is “In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.”  This quote was the first thing I thought of after reading Kevin Voigt’s article in CNN International’s Business section titled “Bad bosses:  The psycho-path to success.”  Beyond a terrific title, the article forces us to think about the values our company enforces when making hires and promotions.

Fortunately, I’ve only had one psycho-path boss and I’ve never had a psycho-path client but according to the data, some of you probably have.  Dr. Robert Hare, a Canadian psychologist who is co-author of the book “Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go To Work” suggests about 4% of senior managers displayed psychopathic tendencies, up from the 1% that researchers say could normally be found in society.

Many companies, maybe yours, identify and print their corporate values.  They are almost always “apple pie” sort of values, as you would imagine they would be. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any company list cunning, manipulative and psychotic as their most admired values.

We can all have fun with this discussion, but the serious question I’d like you to answer is “have the last five promotions you’ve made been given to people that eat, sleep and breath your company values?”  Is performance more important than your stated values?  It is easy to say no, but go back and check your hires and promotions to settle the question once and for all.

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