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Taking Ownership: Do You Pass The Google Test?

Categories: Culture of Accountability

Accountability-artWould you pass the "Google Test?"

An intriguing article on, titled "How Google Picks New Employees (Hint: It's Not About Your Degree)," focused on the five qualities that Lazlo Bock, Google’s SVP of People Operations, looks for in new hires.

Surprisingly, Mr. Bock mentioned an increasing proportion of people hired at Google these days do NOT have college degrees. He then shared the five criteria Google uses when evaluating job candidates.

My hint: Four out of the five were what are known as "soft" skills!

Now, you might wonder what the big deal is about who Google does or doesn’t hire. You might think, I don’t plan to work for Google, so why should I care?

But the fact is, business is changing at a rapid rate, and Google is one of the most successful companies at the forefront of those changes. With a nod to one of my favorite Aristotle quotes ... for any business, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, right? And if we take that to the next logical conclusion, then we could say that there is something about the "parts" (people) that Google is hiring -- the qualities those people possess -- that is heavily contributing to the giant company’s huge success.

Wouldn't we all like to be more successful? Since Google is already phenomenally successful, let’s take a closer look at the qualities Mr. Bock is looking for.

Again, you are probably thinking you’d need beyond amazing computer skills, software, hardware, codes, programming and the like to work for Google. Right? Would you be surprised, then, to hear that out of the five qualities they are looking for, "computer genius" (or "expertise") comes in at number five?

Google's fourth reason for hiring someone is what it calls “ownership.” It’s also what I call accountability, and I believe this quality is so important to personal and business success.

When you take ownership, or accountability, you are taking responsibility for your own success.

The Forbes article states: “In this era of daily change and upheaval in almost every industry and area of knowledge, it’s a huge disadvantage to have employees who are passive doers of tasks and order-takers.”

Are you a passive doer? A finger-pointer, who blames your team, the economy, or management for any situation?

Or, are you someone who steps up, showing initiative, giving fully of your skills and talents, looking for ways to solve problems -- both your firm’s and your own?

Do you take your professional development into your own hands, looking for areas you need to grow and finding effective solutions?

Can you see why these traits -- ownership, accountability, responsibility, leadership -- would be desirable to an employer? More important, can you see why these traits might valuable to you?

Five Ways to Take More Ownership at Work

1. Understand that you are in full charge of your attitude.

2. Evaluate what you like about your current job, and where your strengths are. Look for ways you can take more responsibility in those areas.

3. Take responsibility for your job performance. How are you regarded? What are the criteria for success? If you don’t know, make an appointment with your manager to find out!

4. Take action to improve your skill set for your current job. (Your company might offer training, or be willing to fund some of your training, but you won’t know if you don’t ask.)

5. Clean up your act. I’m talking about cutting out unprofessional behavior like frequent lateness, gossiping, checking your text messages during business meetings, etc. You know what I’m talking about!

BRODY offers a training program/meeting workshop on the subject of accountability. Contact us for more details.

I’ve also written a book about accountability (which you can get a free PDF of, BTW, by signing up for the BRODY monthly newsletter.).

Oh, and the other three traits that Google looks for in new hires (in case you didn't read the article I cited above)? In addition to expertise and ownership, it values: humility, leadership and the ability to learn. We'll look at these character traits in future blogs.

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