Saturday, October 26, 2013

How to Use GPS Theory to Hire Inspired Employees

How to Use GPS Theory to Hire Inspired Employees

A friend of mine recently tweeted me a link to Laura Entis' article, How Online Personality Assessments Could Revolutionize Hiring 

I read the article and responded with this tweet:

Why Did I Respond This Way?

I want to make the distinction between the statistically based predictive models like the one Michael Kosinski and his colleagues developed and the way you can actually select candidates who will be inspired employees. To be clear, I do not mean to criticize predictive personality assessments as I believe they provide some valuable insights into behaviors but I also believe when it comes to personal and organizational growth, statistical predictions do not actually drive the behaviors you're looking for in people. They predict, that is all. I don't claim that Entis, Kosinski, or anyone else say they drive behaviors either, but based on my experience with the manner in which predictive personality assessments, or psychometric assessments, are implemented within organizations I believe there tends to be a disconnect in understanding at the user-level. 

Psychometrics & Predictive Models

  [sahy-kuh-me-triks]  Show IPA
noun used with a singular verb Psychology .
the measurement of mental traits, abilities, and processes.
Also, psychometry.

1850–55; psycho- + -metrics

The definition of psychometrics, shown above from, should help make the distinction between predictive assessments and understanding true behavioral drivers. Measuring "traits, abilities and processes" is not the same as understanding what drives a person to break through personal, professional and organizational barriers to try to make things better. Saying a person has traits and abilities is like saying the race horse you're trying to sell me has four legs. My is, "Great, sounds like a horse...but...can he run faster than the other horses?" 

What separates the great from the middling candidate isn't ability, it's the will to do more.  Isn't "more" what every organization is really looking for in a candidate? The person who will quickly master the duties and responsibilities assigned to the job and then make process improvements? The key to finding the employee who will do more is identifying the person whose Core Values align best with the values the people and the processes they will be required to interact with in your organization. In order to find that person, the key is understanding the mental processes that drive the desired behaviors a psychometric test indicates are present, but a standardized predictive model uses an algorithm with a finite number of inputs and therefore can only provide a finite number of outputs. The psychometric test cannot identify what inspires a person. 

How to Find the "Right" Employees?

The key to finding the person who will most probably do the things you want them to better than
anyone else is to understand how their Core Values align with the behaviors expected of them in a given situation.  Here's how to look for them:
  1. Identify the tasks/activities required to create value for the organization/customer in the position you seek to fill.
    • Make a list.
  2. Identify the values the employee needs to personify in order to perform each task/activity.
    • Add any new values to the list.
  3. Identify the values the employee needs to personify in order to continuously improve the processes they will interact with.
    • Add any new values to the list.
  4. Ask the candidate to identify their Core Values
    • Does there appear to be a match based on the two lists?
      • If No, do not hire them, at least not yet. You may need to dig deeper if you have a "good feeling" about them.
      • If Yes, go to the next step.
  5. Measure how well they personify the Core Values that would best align them with the position. 
    • Use BoomLife's GPS Theory App to get honest and accurate feedback from references the candidate provides.
      • Do the people in the candidate's World agree they personify those values?
        • If No, do not hire them, not yet. You can if you want to, but you now have multiple data points that indicate they won't give you "more".
        • If Yes and you don't have a "good feeling" about them, keep the conversation going, try to get to know them better. Keep asking questions until you're sure it's a "yes" or "no".
        • If Yes and you have a "good feeling" about them then it's worth the risk isn't it? Hire them. See what happens. Everything we do is an experiment. Develop them if it works out!
If you're not sure how to complete any of the steps listed above, BoomLife's experts know how to reverse-engineer any job description into a list of the values an employee needs to personify to be the best fit. We utilize the most effective processes for developing top-level talent and creating inspired cultures.

The "Right" Employee is the Inspired Employee

Inspiration drives the will.  The will is the ability multiplier.

The differences between the three behavioral drivers, inspiration, motivation and coercion are the keys to creating an inspired culture.
As human beings, we are motivated to do things by the rewards we expect to receive as a result. A commission-based compensation plan is an example of a motivator. We are coerced to do things by the punishments we expect to receive if we take certain courses of action. For example, a person who has no inspiration or motivation to go to work is coerced into do so by the attendance policy their employer enforces. They choose to avoid the punishment of unemployment so they show up when they're expected to.

The problem with Motivation and Coercion as behavioral drivers that will create a culture of excellence is, when motivated or coerced the employees will to act is limited by the the net-positive or net-negative value they perceive in the reward or punishment offered. So, predicting behaviors based on abilities and personality traits can actually limit what a person is willing to do. The comfort zone they create for themselves by trying to maintain the balance between motivating and coercing forces actually causes them to play it safe by minimizing the risk of punishment. There is a tendency to view maintaining the status quo by not expending the effort to try new things as more desirable than taking the risk of not being rewarded for extraordinary successful effort. There lies the problem: When one is not willing to take the risk of not getting the reward (perceived as a punishment), they are not willing to do what it takes to earn it.
Do you want to work with inspired people? Do you want to be inspired? Does a predictive model with a statistically probable algorithm plant the seeds of inspiration for the people in your organization? Really?

The Order of Priority for Organizational Behavioral Drivers

When leaders understand the true nature of Inspiration and how to practically apply Core Values to their personal, professional, and organizational situations they hire employees who will do amazing things...they create inspired cultures! But, it's not realistic to believe inspiration is possible all of the time.  As a leader, you must understand how to recognize each situation and know how to respond to it:

  1. Priority 1- Core Values Inspire- Use Inspiration whenever possible. Setting the conditions for an inspired culture is your number one priority.
  2. Priority 2- Rewards Motivate- Motivation can be a powerful tool to reward inspired performance or to influence employees to perceive an increased value proposition in specific situations where the what you are asking them to do aligns less with their Core Values than what they typically want to do.
  3. Priority 3- Punishments Coerce- Coercion can be a legitimate way to drive employees away from undesired behaviors and employers must have plans for how they will identify the barriers of acceptable behaviors and how they will respond to incidents when employees act outside of them. There is an order of priority leaders must follow

The fundamental question for hiring new people as you build an inspired culture is: Do you want to rely on a practical, values-based approach to finding the inspired employee or a predictive model? 

Psychometric tests, in and of themselves, will not contribute to growth and breakthrough performance.  Understanding how Core Values align with what it takes to be the best leads to Inspiration and performance beyond the virtual limits derived from past successes and failures.  Find your Core Values! Find the candidate who shares your organizations Core Values! Create the organizational culture you want!

You might also be interested in reading, "Don't Hire People Who Can. Hire People Who Can and Will." right here on the BoomBlog!

BoomLife provides personal, professional, and organizational success engineering services. Our Values-Based, practical processes will help you:

  • Recruit Inspired Employees
  • Evaluate Performance- Inspired, Motivated or Coerced?
  • Measure Engagement & Create Improvement Strategies
  • Develop the Organizational Structure to Ensure Core Values Translate Throughout Business Processes

Sign-Up for BoomLife's Newsletter to stay informed of updates, events and news about GPS Theory!

Getting what you want and being the person you want to be can seem complicated and confusing! Together, we'll define what you want, what it takes to get it and help you realize the kind of success you never been able to achieve before! Sign up for personal one-on-one coaching. You can sign up for a program or a single-session. It's up to you!:

Try our GPS Theory App-

Need an Inspirational Speaker for Your Next Event? 
Tom Eakin's presentation of "What Do You Want?" is designed to challenge the way you define success and inspire you to engineer your own personal, professional or organizational path to success.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Can She Really Fly With Her Feet?

Can She Really Fly With Her Feet?

I was fortunate enough to meet Jessica Cox, the keynote speaker at Wire Me Awake, an entrepreneurial and community based event in Yankton, SD.  According to her website,
Jessica shows a member of the audience
how to greet a person with now arms...
you shake feet.
photos_stream, Jessica was born “differently-abled,” without arms. By teaching herself to constantly find ways to get past obstacles, Jessica has compiled an enormous list of other amazing feats including “receiving the Guinness World Record for being the first person certified to fly an airplane with only their feet.” As her introductory video played on the large screen, I heard something that made me think of an article I wrote a few months back asking, “Why Are People Afraid of Success?”  It occurred to me, the article may not have been very helpful. Why Are People Afraid of Success? only provided an explanation and maybe not a complete one, it didn't provide a way forward.

The Paradox

At the beginning of her video, Jessica told a story from her childhood of a vision she had while watching an airplane fly over the playground at her elementary school. She could picture herself flying high up in the sky, like a super hero. She'd swoop down and picking up friends and family members one at a time and show them the neighborhood from above. What got me thinking, was when the narrator spoke of her greatest fear...flying, as the video faded out signalling Jessica to come out on stage.  Later in her presentation, Jessica mentioned her fear of flying again, not just as a pilot but also as a passenger.  

One of the important messages Jessica delivers is: if you want to accomplish your dreams you need to learn to be fearless. Yet, she admittedly has had to overcome significant fears to achieve hers. 

The paradox? I'm not trying to split hairs on Jessica's message. I thought how interesting it is that what might have been Jessica's greatest dream was also her greatest fear.  I asked her about it during the Q&A. We also spoke about it following her presentation in a brief conversation. She said she'd never thought about the question before but she did clarify that she mainly feels fearful when someone else is flying the plane, like on a commercial airliner for example, but doesn't have the same level of fear when she's at the controls. Jessica's clarification helped me understand how her fear of flying fit into her situation but I sensed there was a more universal paradox to be explained. I couldn't stop asking myself the question, "Why do we need to overcome our greatest fears in order to achieve our biggest dreams?" Why are we afraid of success?

My Attempt to Explain the Paradox.

There are probably many answers to explain this paradox, but this one is mine. I don't wish to speak for Jessica and whether she agrees my answer applies to her, but I'd certainly be interested in her thoughts.

We dream of doing incredible things when we're kids because at that point in our lives, the time we'll be able to try it is intangible and abstract. The thought always includes the phrase "some day" as in "Some day, when I'm big enough, I'll fly." Because we don't get into the details of how we'll accomplish those dreams at that age, because of our limited knowledge and experience, we don't see the reasons why it could fail, so it remains in the realm of possibility.

I believe, when you have a dream of what you could be, it represents something that has importance to you at your very core. As long as it remains a vision, nothing can take the dream away from you. Through the course of living, growing and learning, you experience failures in which you focus on the results. For ease of reasoning, you attribute those results as highly probable outcomes in future situations in which similar conditions exist. You perceive there is a high probability the dream can be taken away from you if you try to accomplish it. You try protect it from the bad things your reasoning convinces you could happen to it

Jessica probably never viewed flying super-hero-style as realistic, but I'm guessing there is a connection between her desire to pilot an airplane and her vision as a small child. As she grew to adulthood and accomplished a number of similarly challenging things (scuba diving, surfing, etc.), she grew ever closer to believing it might be possible. But, she wouldn't know if it was possible until she tried.  There must have been a powerful fear that something insurmountable would get in her way. That fear would have to be overcome.

Think about how to apply this to your own life. What dreams did you have when you were a kid that you talk yourself out of trying now that you're grown up? 

Does your fear that failure will remove your dream from the realm of possibility cause you to protect your it and keep it safe. Do you recognize that attempting to preserve your dream and maintain the status quo actually creates the self-fulfilling prophecy that it will never be unrealized?

Can a person who has no arms earn a blackbelt in Taekwondo? Ask Jessica to show you hers. 

Can a person with no arms learn to fly with her feet?

Learning to Fly With Her Feet- The First of Many Problems

Jessica telling the story of how she
overcame an obstacle, strapping into
 an airplane seat harness,
at Wire Me Awake.
Once she determined she would attempt to fly an airplane with her feet, Jessica was faced with what might seem like an impossible obstacle, her instructor told her before any in-flight training could start, she needed to securely strap herself into the four-point harness in pilots seat. Can a person do that with no arms? 

The First of Many Solutions

At first, according to Jessica, fastening the four-point harness didn't appear to be possible.  But, she didn't just walk away. She figured it out.  How? 

  1. She thought about how important solving the problem was to her (Identified her Inspiration). 
  2. She thought about the nature of the problem.
  3. She thought about solutions that worked in the past that would conceptually work if she could effectively translate them to fit the current situation.
  4. She tried.
  5. She evaluated the results- What went wrong and what caused it?.
  6. She thought of ways to prevent the failure causes.
  7. She chose the best option and tried it.
  8. She repeated 1 through 7 until it worked.
Jessica Cox accomplished her dream because she didn't let the results from one situation dictate what she would do i the next. Jessica focused on the cause of the problem, rather than the problem itself, so she could identify what specifically needed to be changed in her approach. The changes in her actions caused the results to change incrementally until she got what she wanted. Jessica engineered her own success!

Getting herself secured into the harness was only one of many problems Jessica had to solve in her quest to become a certified pilot. Today, Jessica is a certified pilot! BOOM!

Few dreams come true without struggle. Most, like Jessica's example, require deliberate tenacity.

Some Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. What did you dream of accomplishing when you were a kid?
    • Are they still important to you?
    • Why?
  2. What challenges get in the way of accomplishing those dreams?
    • How many of those challenges were identified by you?
    • How many were identified by someone else?
    • How many relate to what other people will say about you when you try?
  3. How many of those challenges are imagined, untested or unqualified?
    • Are they even valid?
  4. Can you think of things you can do?
  5. Are you willing create real and qualified results by testing your solutions? 
  6. Are you willing to analyze, adjust and try again?
The truth is, as Jessica shows us, we are all "differently abled."  She can fly with her feet. 

Are you deliberately tenacious? What do you WANT?

If you'd like to learn more about Jessica Cox and how you can support her efforts to create a documentary about her life and her powerful message CLICK HERE.



UPDATE- 10/15/14- I liked the message in this article so much, it became a part of my new book FindingSuccess: Get what you really want. CLICK HERE to find out more about it.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” 
― Marianne WilliamsonReturn to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles"

BoomLife provides personal, professional, and organizational success engineering services. 

Need an Inspirational Speaker for Your Next Event? Tom Eakin's presentation of "What Do You Want?" is designed to challenge the way you define success and inspire you to engineer your own personal, professional or organizational path to success.

What do you want? Come visit me on, I'd love to hear about it! Click Here to check on available open session times. 

Sign-Up for BoomLife's Newsletter to stay informed of updates, events and news about GPS Theory!
Try our GPS Theory App-

Getting what you want and being the person you want to be can seem complicated and confusing! Together, we'll define what you want, what it takes to get it and help you realize the kind of success you never been able to achieve before! Sign up for personal one-on-one coaching. You can sign up for a program or a single-session. It's up to you!:

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

GPS Theory App- The Most Powerful Tool for Finding Success- Article Link from

GPS Theory App- The Most Powerful Tool for Finding Success

I apologize for bringing you all the way into my blog only to send you somewhere else. I wanted to make the article accessible to my subscribers and still keep the content I published on's site "original and unique" to their site, as I promised them I would.

You can access this article on, here:

GPS Theory App- The Most Powerful Tool for Finding Success!

Getting what you want and being the person you want to be can seem complicated and confusing! Together, we'll define what you want, what it takes to get it and help you realize the kind of success you never been able to achieve before! Sign up for personal one-on-one coaching. You can sign up for a program or a single-session. It's up to you!:

Friday, October 4, 2013

Three Questions to Help You Identify Real Core Values

Three Questions to Help You Identify Real Core Values

There is a tendency to confuse Core Values with Emotions and States of Being. In order to live an Inspired life, you need to be able to recognize the difference between being Inspired by your Core Values and being Motivated by Rewards or Coerced into Avoiding Punishments. The key is to make Inspired decisions that lead to Inspired actions and behaviors.

Identifying and defining your Core Values so you can understand why you are Inspired to do things is the critical first step so I wanted to share some insights on how to identify and define Core Values. 

Perhaps the simplest way to identify your Core Values is to answer this simple but powerful question: 
What words do I want other people to use to describe me and the life I've lived? I like to call the answers to this question the "What words...?" list.

Here are some examples and things to look for to help you identify real Core Values versus Emotions or States of Being:

Core Value- Example: Charity- You can take definitive actions that are charitable. This is an example of a Core Value.

Emotion- Example: Happiness- You can do things that contribute to your happiness, but you cannot do "happy". You have a higher probability of feeling happy if your decisions and actions are in alignment with your Core Values.
State of Being- Example: Extraordinary- This is a relative and subjective term. There are no definitive actions you can do to "be" extraordinary in other peoples eyes. Some may think the things you do are extraordinary, other may think you're just doing normal things. You have no control over a state of being beyond your own actions.

Three Questions

As you develop your "What words...?" list, ask yourself these three questions about the words you're selecting as your Core Values to make sure they will truly Inspire you:
  1. Are there definitive actions I can take which would meet the criteria for fulfilling the definition of this word? If yes, add it to your "What words...?" list.
  2. Does this word reflect a feeling or emotion? If yes, do not add it, but keep in mind you have a higher probability of getting people to use it to describe you if your actions are in alignment with your real Core Values.
  3. Is there a universally recognized and direct relationship between this word and an action which, after you take it, someone would say, "Wow! What you just did was _______(your word)"  If so, it's a keeper. 
Sign-up for BoomLife's GPS Theory App at

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Getting what you want and being the person you want to be can seem complicated and confusing! Together, we'll define what you want, what it takes to get it and help you realize the kind of success you never been able to achieve before! Sign up for personal one-on-one coaching. You can sign up for a program or a single-session. It's up to you!:

Contact BoomLife's Success Engineer, Tom Eakin, to engineer your path to personal and/or organizational success: 
  • email:
  • phone: 888-743-6838.