How many times do you have that one tremendous employee who excels in the technical arena, but falls short in the soft skills. How many times have you been told, how I present myself or my attitude should not matter, I do a great job.
I can’t count the times.
I decided to share an object lesson I have used many times in my career in IT leadership. This is a great way to talk to your leads and senior resources regarding image and branding. I call it the apple test.
- A small bag of apples.
- A bowl.
- A few band aids or any type of tape.
Dump out the bag of apples onto any flat service. Wash them thoroughly. Then after drying the apples, take one of the apples. You want this to be an apple without blemish. You will then cover this apple with tape or the Band-Aids. You will place the other apples in the bowl and place the apple you covered with the Band-Aids on the top. I have found a large KFC type cardboard bucket you can get at some dollar stores makes a better tool than the bowl.
During your one on one, hand the bowl and ask them to pick an apple after you have picked one and taken a bite. You do not want the Band-Aid covered apple.
After pleasantries, pick up the apple covered with the Band-Aids and say why didn’t you choose this one to eat?
Wait for response, then mention there are no warts, bruises, the skin is still clean, and probably more clean than the others? Would the Band-Aids be something you would have to overcome or remove in order to make use of the delicious apple?
There is your object lesson. We as people may have all kinds of talent, but if we have attitudes, habits, behaviors that become a barrio, others will value us less. Yes if they are desperate they will choose us, but how many times have they not.