We Need Mettle Detectors, Not Metal Detectors

By | March 18, 2010

I seem to live in airports these days and I’ve probably walked through hundreds if not thousands of metal detectors designed to keep our skies safe. What we really need are Mettle Detectors to keep our companies safe.

We need our organizational leaders in business and government to have the mettle (the character, fortitude and courage) to rise to occasions they are being called to take actions for. Wouldn’t it be great if we had these electronic archways leaders could walk through so we could detect who really has the mettle to accept the challenge and do their best?

What would a mettle detector look for?

Grace under pressure

How do leaders react under pressure situations? How many pilots faced with ditching a plane in the Hudson would’ve handled the situation with such a calm and determined demeanor? The best indication of possessing that ability is to look at prior actions. I dare say Capt Scully Sullenberger was never perceived as a “cowboy” in the skies prior to that flight. I imagine his flight record was impeccable.

How are your organization leaders acting in the face of the financial crisis we are facing these days? Sadly, our government is demonstrating with each hearing they are more interested in placing blame than in finding solutions. This a mettle failure on public display.

Solid accountability

American business has fallen into a game of executives assuring themselves of a golden parachute and then making carefree corporate decisions as if nothing was at stake, when in fact for them nothing is at stake because they get their large sums of money regardless.

True leaders have the mettle to accept the responsibility of creating organizational success and wealth at their own peril. They accept the compensation directly tied to their actions and responsibilities. If we truly had a mettle detector business disasters such as Enron, AIG, and Illinois former governor Blagojevich never would have made it to their positions of authority.

As you select leaders for your company even at the department head level, set up your own version of a mettle detector. Find out how your prospects act under pressure, determine how they will react in crisis mode, and finally set up a program for mettle development in your organization because detectors are only determining what already exists. Mettle development adds more strength to an organization that is driven for success and growth.

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