Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Male Ego

You ladies will probably like this post and you men will probably take exception to it. Oh, well. I call 'em like I see 'em!

Have you ever noticed how male ego gets in the way of rational behavior? OK. I guess that was a no-brainer question. So, I'll start over.

We've all noticed how male ego sometimes gets in the way of rational behavior. It can manifest itself as pride or as a fear of being seen to be weak. It often involves (at least in real men) a defense of their family. It is especially prevalent in successful men. I suffer from it myself.

What brought up this brief discussion is a difficult decision that I had to make last week. I interviewed a number of candidates for a new position in a new facility which we just opened. It was by far the best field of candidates that I have ever interviewed for a position throughout my 26 year career in business. It was extremely difficult for that reason.

There were a number of complicating factors in the hiring decision. One of the candidates was the wife of a former customer that I anticipated getting back due to our new location and the advantages that it offered over our competition. Another was the wife of an operation that we hoped to gain as a customer and who came highly recommended by a couple of other customers. Both were highly qualified, interviewed well and could bring great value to the position.

I knew that if I hired the wife of the former customer that I would get his business back -- and it is a sizable amount of business. If I hired the other, who I felt was the better candidate, it was also unlikely that I would upset any existing customers and it would probably have little negative impact on our existing business. So, based strictly on those surface criteria, it would seem that the safe hire would be the wife of the former customer. However, I strongly felt that long-term, the other individual was the best fit for the position.

I agonized over the decision and prayed hard for guidance. It seemed clear to me that I had to hire the best candidate regardless of the potential positive or negative repercussions of not hiring the wife of a former customer. So, that is what I did.

Today, it finally came to fulfillment -- the dreaded phone call. On Monday I informed by telephone, the wife of the former customer that she did not get the job. Today he called me to let me know that he would not be changing his business back to us -- even though our facility is just a couple of miles from his operation. He will be sending his business to a competitor that is located a significant distance away. He stated an excuse that was totally unrelated to my not hiring his wife -- but you could tell from the tenor of the conversation that it was the real reason.

It hurts me that the relationship with him is strained at this point. I understand his position. I truly believe that he really wants to do business with us but his pride tells him that he can't because of the "slight" to his wife.

It really was no slight to her. I suspect that she felt a little bit pushed into applying for the job by her husband. She just wasn't the best fit for the position. I would love to hire her -- I just don't have a position available in which her skills and experience could be utilized to the point that she could have a fulfilling and meaningful place in the company.

I know that her husband's excuse was just that -- an excuse. He used the reason that our competitor is cheaper. However, he has told me in the past that turnaround time is one of the most important factors to him in his business. We could save him about 24 hours in turnaround time. He also would save shipping costs. The impact of those two items alone would easily be worth 10 times the difference in cost.


"Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." -- Prov. 16:18


ptg said...

Sure, it was an excuse, BUT he has to live with her.

Chris McClure aka Panhandle Poet said...

So very true....

Travis Erwin said...

You can take pride in the fact you did the right thing.

Chris McClure aka Panhandle Poet said...

Heh,heh, heh -- thanks, Travis, that was very punny!

i beati said...

You must walk in mighty big boots. I would not give this scenario to a monkey on a rock ..