Hire a Great Candidate:
Don’t Fall in Love with Your First Interview

Anyone who’s been through the hiring process knows it’s a challenge.

Want to hire a great candidate for you next job opening? Don’t make the mistake of getting attached to the first prospect who walks in the door.


If you want to hire a great candidate, there’s the screening, sorting through resumes, conducting interviews, and following up on references.

Hiring takes time. It’s tempting to fall in love with the first candidate who falls in the door, just to finish the search. Sure, they might be great—in fact, they may even be the right person for the job—but failing on due diligence sets you up for failure.

So, how do you hire a great candidate who will blend seamlessly with the culture of your company? It’s not difficult, but it means taking a step back and examining your hiring expectations and practices.

How to Hire a Great Candidate

As part of our blog series focused on entrepreneurs, we asked one of our Ph.D. graduates, Dr. Rich Blue to relate what happened to him during his recent hiring experience and how his coach helped him rethink his approach.


“My business was exploding and I needed to hire a new staff member.
Secretly, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to find someone who could meet all my needs. I went through the proven channels to attract qualified candidates. I had numbers of staff screen the applicants to identify those that were best qualified and who aligned with our values and culture.
Interviews with the most promising candidates were set up. After my first interview, I knew I had found the perfect new hire. What a relief!
Later that week, I met with my Executive Coach and extolled the attributes of my soon-to-be newest hire. I was expecting a round of applause and instead got a stiff correction. My coach confronted me for falling in love with the candidate without going through the whole interview and hiring process.
I was angry and hurt. Why couldn’t he just celebrate my good fortune?
Underneath, however, I knew he was right. I was operating from scarcity and wanted to be rescued from the process of finding and training my new hire. I was looking for a savior.
Instead, my hire was the first step on a long journey of human and professional development.”

There’s No Perfect Candidate!

Just like there’s no such person as “the one” in our relationships, there are no perfect job candidates. First, this realization should come as a relief, not as discouragement. After all, can you imagine the process that would go into search and hiring if there was only ONE candidate out there for you?

Instead, it’s important to realize every candidate will bring strengths and weaknesses to the table. If someone appears to be the perfect fit, check your perception again. Are you looking for a savior? Someone to take you away from the hiring process?

In the long run, it’s more important to follow the steps to hire a great candidate who’s trainable and growth-minded. Discovering a qualified candidate who’s willing to learn and grow is more important than finding someone with the perfect skillset.

Follow these tips to help you hire a great candidate:

  • Interview an abundance of qualified candidates.

Interview many before hiring one. Make the investment to find a pool of excellent applicants. When you take the time to interview several solid potential hires you will feel more confident when you find the individual you want to begin developing and training.

  • Know what you are getting into.

Identify the leadership challenge your new hire represents. In Dr. Blue’s case, his mentor was completely uninterested in the candidate’s amazing qualifications and life experience. Instead, his coach questioned the factors that would make the new hire a challenge to lead and manage.

  • Remember there is no savior.

The hiring process itself is like the wedding. Once the party is over, the work really starts. You have chosen your next employee, now the work of training begins. This individual represents a wonderful potential contributor to your team. Avoid the fantasy of thinking they will solve all your problems.

As an entrepreneur, you have tons on your plate. Often, you may also need to wear many hats in your company. This means you must act as the company leader, trainer, manager, and even HR director. It’s important to recognize you will also experience a learning curve with hiring new employees—don’t expect them to know the ropes overnight (and don’t expect you’ll lead them perfectly either).

Personality is Important: For EVERYONE

In many hiring situations, you must take the time to test drive the candidate. See what they can do and put them through the paces, so to speak. Let them show you where they need more training and leadership, as well as what they do well. It’s important not to let a new hire’s resume or experience dictate what they need in terms of training and leadership. Remember every company’s culture and environment is different.

Each employee will come with their own personality strengths which will blend (and sometimes clash) with others in the office. The real-world dynamic can’t always be determined until the honeymoon period is over and the employee has settled in. As relationships form, it’s important to continue to encourage dialogue and even conflict in your workplace. Remember conflict is a healthy part of the growth process and a vital part of deep, productive engagement.


Often, we’re tempted to lead from above—dictating what to do and expecting candidates to follow directions and “jump in.” It’s important to consider not only the logistics of the job but the personality dynamics and strengths at play.


For direction, consider using the C.A.R.E. Profile to help identify each person’s communication and work style. The C.A.R.E Profile identifies core communication styles: Cooperators, Analyzers, Regulators and Energizers. The profile will help you determine who works best together with your new hire.

Some members of your team may fit naturally as trainers (the cooperators and energizers), whereas others may focus on accuracy and be less patient during the new hire’s early days. Often, regulators and energizers with natural leadership qualities can help the new person learn the ropes. Analyzers are more suited to check work for accuracy and help ensure there’s no slack or gap during the introductory period.

Help Your New Hire Understand Your Company

Remember each company is unique. Even companies that do the exact same job may have completely different internal cultures. As the leader of your company, it’s important you identify where the new hire will need more direction.

It’s also a good time to remember your new hire may identify gaps in your company or organization. During the hiring process, you may see cracks in your process that need to be filled. You may realize there’s a lack of procedural knowledge, a shortage of cross-training, or a dearth of documentation.

Use the hiring process as a chance not only to groom and train your new candidate but as an opportunity to assess the strengths and challenges of your management style and leadership as well. Broadening your office population means there are more people to lead, more eyes on strategy, and new insights you haven’t considered. Listen to the new ideas from a fresh perspective.

If you want to hire a great candidate, it’s important to be a great leader. Don’t expect a candidate to be the perfect new hire. At the same time, realize you won’t always be the perfect employer either. Embrace this opportunity to grow and learn together as you move your company forward to the future.

For more on leadership and growth, please visit the Wright Foundation. We’re proud to offer many great resources for business, as well as wonderful networking opportunities. Don’t miss our courses and lectures, which are available for download at a special introductory price. Discover your potential today!


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

 

How to Attract
Positive Attention

We all love compliments and accolades! Most of us want to attract positive attention and more praise.

Read these tips to discover ways to attract positive attention.


While yes, some of us may feel a little shy or embarrassed when we’re “called out” for our good behavior and efforts, we all enjoy it (at least a little).

But of course, if you’re anything like me, you were probably taught that “seeking attention” is a negative behavior, right? Asking (or “fishing”) for compliments is taboo and even tacky, right?

In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. We all deserve praise and positive attention. There’s no reason why we should avoid it or shy away from it. While we may want to be humble, there’s also nothing wrong with getting praise, especially for a job well done. You deserve it!click to learn more about life coaching.

How to Let Go of the Negative

Sometimes we may feel that our efforts go unnoticed. We may feel as though no one appreciates us or that everyone’s a critic.

While there are times when our good behaviors and performance may go under the radar, some of us fall into patterns where we only hear and focus on the bad rather than the good. Why is that? Because for many of us, it’s easier to believe the negative comments or fixate on them than it is to believe the positive.

When we make a mistake, often we feel down on ourselves. We may start into stinking thinking: believing that we’re “always” screwing up, or that we “never” do anything right. We may believe the cards are stacked against us and there’s no use even trying because we’ll never succeed. When we start experiencing stinking thinking it can often become a self-fulfilling prophecy.


Negative self-talk gives us an excuse to continue to underperform. After all, why try, especially if everyone is against you?


Instead, drop the excuses and put a stop to your stinking thinking! Realize that for every critic, you’re probably ignoring five compliments. If you do experience a bump in the road, shake it off, view it as a lesson, and move on. Start viewing mistakes not as missteps, but as opportunities to learn and grow.

When we hear a negative comment, it’s easy to take it to heart. Oftentimes it may even affirm limiting beliefs we hold about ourselves. We may feel invalidated and insecure. It’s important instead to remember that comments come and go. While some criticisms may be more personal (like words from our boss or our spouse) others are simply a sign that the other party is having a bad day.

It’s perfectly valid to feel hurt or put off by negative comments. It’s important that you acknowledge this hurt and let yourself feel it. At the same time, extract the lesson from the experience and move forward. If your boss criticizes your work, look for lessons to learn, apply your new knowledge in the future and keep moving forward. If a friend makes a comment that hurts your feelings, let them know. Bring the situation to light and work through it.

On the flip side, soak up the compliments! Instead of fixating on the harsh comments, fixate on the positive affirmations. This is a little tougher at first, especially if you aren’t used to focusing on accolades. If we want to attract positive attention, we should acknowledge and be open to the positive attention we’re already bringing in!

Go for Effort Over Luck

If you want to attract positive attention, it’s important to put forth the effort. When we’re trying our best and really engaging in activities, we’ll often attract positive attention without even trying.

Yet, sometimes we all opt to “phone it in.” Often this is a move spurred on by our fears. After all, when we try our hardest, it puts us in a vulnerable position which can be frightening. What if our best still isn’t good enough?

It’s important to remember to go for the gold anyway! Mistakes and setbacks are a key part of learning and growth. If you make mistakes, it’s a good sign that you’re putting forth effort!


“Learning by doing” is how we really acquire knowledge and skills, according to a growing body of scientific evidence. It posits that action builds new capabilities for the implicit memory to draw upon and that it is implicit memory—that which is not consciously available—that governs most of what we do. Russian psychologist and educational theorist Lev Vygotsky, in fact, suggested that all learning is based on engagement. He proposed that we learn by actually doing things before we know how to do them, and that—contrary to common belief—learning is not something that happens in our heads unaccompanied by action.
Current neuroscience research shows that neurons are continually wiring together and that we must repeatedly fail before we establish the new neural pathways of a new desired behavior.
Now ask yourself these questions:
Can you recall how many times you failed before consistently learning to tie your shoes?
How about learning to ride a bike? Did thinking really help much? You may have reassured yourself, but you still needed to “get the feel of” riding.
How about learning a foreign language? You can’t just read it to speak it.
We do not learn and grow by analysis alone. Developing new neural pathways requires engagement, and engagement requires making mistakes until behavior becomes automatic. Salespeople will tell you the same thing—you have to keep at it until you begin to hit your stride and maintain rapport. Consulting firms bring in analysts as assistants and keep them away from the client until they have seen enough and made enough basic, safe mistakes to deliver consistent results in work product as well as client relationships.
In one study, Carol Dweck illustrated the cause-and-effect relationships between effort and success. She notes that the test scores of children in the study who were praised for engaging and trying hard improved by 30 percent while those of children praised just for being smart declined by 20 percent Dweck explains that rewarding effort and sense of self-efficacy—our belief in our capabilities—and helps us develop the growth mindset necessary for a great life.
-Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living!

Many of us feel frustrated when we put our full effort into our activities and they still go unnoticed. But it’s important to realize that that effort is key to growth. While we might not attract positive attention for every action, we will become stronger, more adept, and experience greater growth when we put forth our very best effort in every case.

Accentuate the Positive

The other piece of attracting positive attention is learning to accentuate our positive traits. This, of course, doesn’t mean only doing what you’re good at or putting on a false front. It means practicing self-care and self-compassion.

When we feel good—when we’re exercising, dressing with extra polish, being mindful, eating healthy—we perform better. We feel better and we feel more confident.

There’s a lot of truth to the old adage “dress for your next promotion.” When you take the time to look your best, it shifts your mindset. You will fill polished and together. You’re more professional and will project confidence.


Similarly, when you put in the effort you will often experience more confidence in your gains and successes. You’ll experience greater satisfaction in your work and personal life and consequently, you’ll draw in positive attention from those around you too.


Vibrancy stems from our aliveness and what we call “flow.” When you’re experiencing flow, it’s almost like a happy hum or a little buzz. The pieces are falling into place. You have a positive rapport with others. Your needs are being met and most importantly, you’re not slacking off or numbing yourself with soft addictions. Instead, you’re engaged.

To truly engage means to be turned on and tuned in. Engagement doesn’t mean passing conversations about the weekend, sports, or the weather. Engagement requires a deeper connection and awareness of both the self and those around us.

A wonderful thing happens when we’re engaged: we light up! Suddenly all that positive attention—that energy and those “good vibrations”—are like moths to the flame. When we engage with others, we’ll get noticed more often. We’ll receive positive attention and compliments.

For more ways to live a vibrant life visit the Wright Foundation. Join us for a networking event where you can connect with others who are growing and learning. Many of our courses are now available for download. Don’t miss this great opportunity to check them out at a special introductory price!


 About the Author

Judith Wright receives the Visionary Leader Award from Chicago NAWBO.

Dr. Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach.
She is a co-founder of The Wright Foundation and the Wright Graduate University.


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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Foundation performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Entrepreneurs:
Don’t Make These 3 Pricing Strategy Mistakes

Throughout our coaching, we meet with many entrepreneurs navigating their way through the business world.

Entrepreneurs, are you making mistakes with your pricing strategy? Here are three common business missteps to avoid during the pricing process.


While on their journey, we help entrepreneurs and executives adopt best practices to deal with the competitive economy. This week, we’ll address three common pricing strategy mistakes many entrepreneurs make.

Now, plenty of people struggle with identifying mistakes, especially in the entrepreneurial world where a great deal of confidence is required. As John C. Maxwell once said, “A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.” As an entrepreneur, mistakes are part of the game and growing your self-awareness is critical.

To keep your business profitable, you’re doing whatever it takes to stay afloat. The truth keeping entrepreneurs up at night is that your clients have plenty of options to serve their needs. It’s up to you to offer them the best price and stay competitive. But this leads many entrepreneurs into a semi-existential crisis: what is the real worth of my product to the world? What about my business as a whole?

When customers are your boss, you may tie up a great deal of self-worth in pricing your product or service. After all, for entrepreneurs, it’s personal! But it’s also important to realistically consider the problem from all angles. When it comes to setting a price for your product or service, avoid these three mistakes or you’ll no longer need to hang your shingle.

Pricing Strategy Mistake #1: Not Enough Data

When establishing pricing for a product or service, many entrepreneurs don’t gather enough data to drive their price-setting decision.

It’s important to weigh all the factors involved in processing your product or service. Shipping costs, materials, and credit card charges add up quickly to strip you of profit. Don’t forget labor costs—not just for producing the product, but for promoting, advertising, and selling the product as well. Sales commissions and marketing costs also factor into your pricing strategy.

Gather and review market data as well: what does your competition charge? How much are customers and clients willing to pay? What’s the fair price in your market? Often, this information is readily available but requires legwork through data-gathering and analysis. This is well-worth the effort and investment because the data paints a clear picture of demand.

The other important datapoint to remember in your pricing strategy? The value of your time! Remember, your time comes at a cost, both professionally and personally. I’ve seen entrepreneurs run themselves ragged because they didn’t account for their own time and proper compensation. Your time is extremely valuable; don’t overlook it when you price out your product or service.

Pricing Strategy Mistake #2: Undervaluing Cashflow

It’s important you consider your profit target and how to keep yourself liquid as you generate revenue. This is often where entrepreneurs fail to see the forest for the trees. They get so bogged down focusing on their immediate profit margin that they become short-sighted.

Ask yourself, what profit do you need to generate from the product to grow your business to the next level? If your profit margin is too small, your business will fail to thrive. It takes money to make money, so don’t forget to look at the long-term plan for investing in the growth of your business.


A small profit margin means you won’t have the resources you need to keep your business trending upward.


Entrepreneurs often think they’ll compensate for this gap later, once sales increase and a customer base is established. The reality is, later never comes.

Your long-term strategy will impact how you structure your payment schedule as well. To improve cashflow, you must collect enough upfront or early in the project to cover for your costs. Cashflow is vital to the long-term health of your business. Remember, if you borrow to fund a project, it often costs you more money in the long term.

Pricing Strategy Mistake #3: Failing to Create Additional Value

What value can you add to your product or service that isn’t price-dependent? It’s common to focus only on offering the lowest-priced option out there. The cheaper-is-better myth is a common entrepreneurial-mindset leading to trouble. Always remember, customers and clients buy based on factors outside of price.

Look at the car industry, for example. If cost was the only factor, everyone would drive a Nissan Versa. But consumers don’t buy cars based only on price. They consider size, reliability, performance, brand status, style, color, and many other factors before they purchase. In fact, price is usually a much lower factor on the car-buyer’s value list.

 


 

Often, entrepreneurs believe they must offer the lowest priced option because they don’t hold the value of what they offer. They also may slip into this mindset because they’ve failed to creatively brainstorm ways to add value to their product or service.


When estimating value, consider:

  • What is unique about your product versus your competitors’ products?
  • What does your brand offer that sets it apart?
  • What value does your product or service offer beyond price?
  • How will you clearly communicate this added-value to prospective clients?

Wondering how you get this information? Get out there and talk to your prospective clients and customers! Many entrepreneurs are so single-mindedly focused on innovation and product development, they fail to engage with their consumer base and get to know them.

Ask your customers about their problem. Listen to their concerns and what they value about the product or service you provide. Brainstorm ways to solve their concerns better than anyone else and include those methods in your value proposition. Encourage customers to confide in you because you know how to help them. Become their trusted advisor. When this happens, customers won’t think twice about paying more for your product or service.

If you’ve already made one (or more) of these mistakes, it’s not the end of the world. Mistakes are simply a chance to learn. Take the opportunity to steer your ship back on course. This week, set aside time to review your pricing policies. Consider your long-term growth and projections.

Focus on the value you’re bringing to customers and clients. How will your product or service improve their life? As an entrepreneur, your innovation skills and visioning are strong. Consider how to convey the worth of your product or service to the customer in your pricing strategy and you’ll keep them coming back for more.

To learn more ways to improve your business and your life, please visit the Wright Foundation. We’re proud to offer many of our lectures and courses for download at a special introductory price. Learn how to get ahead in business, build your relationships, and create the life you want to live!


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

 

Insight for Entrepreneurs:
Sales Is Service

I’m often asked for the secret to becoming great at sales. How do you close deals? How do you win people over and what’s the trick to getting them to say, “yes?”

Are you struggling with your sales job? Here is an insight for entrepreneurs: sales in service.


At the very core, selling is an act of service. Salespeople are offering customers a solution to their problems. Sales mean helping someone fulfill a need. Entrepreneurs are all about solutions. Remember: solving a problem is an act of service.

How many of us think sales is service? Most of us think sales are the opposite. We imagine the cliché of the Glengarry Glen Ross salesman: the guy who’s “always closing,” who’s chasing leads, who’s ruthless in getting the deal.

But to truly become great at sales, you’re required to become the antithesis of the “used car dealer” stereotype. Truly great salespeople know that to win people over, you need to spend less time convincing and more time discovering. Spend less time talking, more time listening. Less time swaying and more time engaging.

Service and Love: At the Core of Sales

When I think of sales and service, it calls to mind the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who said, “Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

You don’t need to hold an MBA to become a great salesperson. Industry training and knowledge aside, to be really great at sales, what you need is to build up high emotional intelligence.


At the heart of sales is service. Every invention, idea, and concept are created to solve a human problem. When you’re an entrepreneur, you may feel you’re simply attempting to get people onboard—to convince them to “give” you their business.


But if you step back and really consider it, you’re giving your customers a gift as well. You’re giving them a solution to their problem. You’re helping them resolve an issue they’re facing.

The best salespeople realize it’s their role to serve. Their prospects and clients are real people to them – not simply a potential closed deal. They take the time to get to know who they are. They understand their hearts, they empathize and recognize their intentions.

Truly exceptional sales leaders help people solve problems or achieve goals – whether that means recommending a good dentist or selling a service. It’s that love of humanity and desire to better the lives of others that exists in the heart of every great salesperson.

Why Entrepreneurs Fear Selling

I speak to many entrepreneurs who seem to forget sales are an integral and vital part of their business model. Being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean simply being inventive and forward-thinking. You might be a genius at product development and business logistics, but if you can’t sell your concepts to the right people, success is nearly impossible.

Being an entrepreneur means learning to sell. Whether your company can afford to hire a sales team or you are a one-person operation, the buck stops with you. When you’re the leader, you must learn to share ideas and get people on board.

Yet, many entrepreneurs balk at the very idea of sales. They avoid selling and even actively rally against it. Why? Perhaps they feel their ideas and products should sell themselves (in truth, even the greatest ideas and solutions need to be enthusiastically shared), or perhaps they cringe at becoming the cliché “typical salesperson.”


What’s often holding back entrepreneurs from making sales? Fear.


Entrepreneurs may fear rejection of their ideas. After all, for entrepreneurs, business is personal—this is your concept, your product, your invention. Your blood, sweat, tears, and hours of hard work went into your company, and requesting buy-in puts you in a position of vulnerability. You could be rejected.

You may find yourself falling into a scarcity mentality, where you believe there’s not enough success to go around. You may doubt the merit of your ideas or fear what you’re offering isn’t good enough. This is called a fixed mindset, as opposed to a growth mindset.

Yet, growth is often part of the entrepreneurial spirit. An entrepreneur embraces challenges, seeks and learns from feedback, looks at other’s success as inspiration, and persists even in the face of setbacks. A growth mindset is a core part of innovation and entrepreneurship. These same traits are also at the heart of great salespersonship.

Shift Your Mindset: Sales is Service

If you’re ready to test the idea that sales is service, conduct an experiment. Imagine you’re taking on the role of Director of Sales for your company or organization. In this role, everyone you meet is someone you are meant to help in some way.

Perhaps the way you’re meant to help them is by selling your product or service. You could also be meant to help in another manner as well. Every time you meet a new person over the next week, think: How can I help them? How can I be of service to them?

This sales as service approach will change the way you interact with prospects. You’ll notice your questions become more pointed and personal. Your engagement becomes deeper, more genuine, and more heartfelt.

You may also find you’re listening more intently. If you know you’re meant to help every person you meet, you immediately begin listening with your heart. You’ll start to embrace a greater purpose and meaning behind your interactions. After all, it’s no longer just to make a sale or close the deal. It’s to help better a life. Perhaps there’s a product or service involved, or maybe helping them involves something else. The point is to embrace the larger vision of serving others.


When we embrace the sales is service mentality, our jobs become infinitely more interesting and exciting. You may feel more enlivened, engaged, and excited about your job. Often, this shift in mentality will transform your view of sales as drudgery to the most exciting part of your job!


If you want to improve your sales skills, shifting your mindset is the first place to start. Look for new opportunities to practice and grow your salespersonship. Learn to engage with others, listen, and embrace the idea that sales is service!

Discover more steps to success at the Wright Foundation. Learn to improve your life and the lives of those around you. Join us for an upcoming networking event. Don’t miss the opportunity to download many of our courses and lectures at a special introductory price. We have great resources to help you live your best life and unlock your potential.


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Why Am I Afraid to
Ask for a Raise?

If you want to ask for a raise at work, you may find yourself filled with some apprehension…and for good reason.

Are you wondering how to ask for a raise or promotion at work? There are a few questions to explore before you meet with your boss.


Asking your boss for a raise implies you believe you aren’t being fairly compensated for the work you’re performing. It means you’re literally assigning a dollar value to your performance, which is often an extremely nerve-wracking experience.

In saying you deserve a raise or promotion, you’re also sending the message to your boss that you are worth more than you’re being paid. This puts you in the vulnerable position of learning the hard truth about how your performance is viewed.

The first question to ask yourself before approaching your boss is: have you really earned the raise?

The Way We Ask for a Raise Has Changed

Many times, the fear we feel has to do with our own perceived inadequacies. The way we ask for a raise has changed since our parents and grandparents were in the workforce. Today’s workforce, particularly the youth, often feel entitled to a raise with less effort than ever before.

Today’s workers may feel they deserve to earn more money or receive a promotion. Why? Because they’ve earned it? No, because someone else in their department received a raise or because they hit an arbitrary time marker (six-months, a year, three years) and feel they deserve the next step. When this is the case, there’s no wonder the “ask” is fraught with fear.

The workforce has changed greatly over the last few decades and not only because of technology. Those who were raised by WWII parents or Depression-Era parents were raised in households where we were constantly inundated with fear, survival, and scarcity. After all, our parents had been through a war and understood what extreme poverty and scarcity was like.

As time moved on, life moved more and more toward the cities. People experienced a greater wealth than ever before. While savings became more common, so did debt. Prior to the 1950s and 60s, few people would even consider a mortgage. Now, it’s very rare to find someone who buys a house outright.

With this change also brought a changing labor market. Women became an integral part of the workforce. Teenagers no longer worked on the farm until adulthood and then carried on their parents’ legacy. Now they were expected to enjoy their youth and attend college before starting their career and family. While some aspects of this social change brought stability, other aspects caused a shift in values.


Baby Boomers and now Generation X and Millennials face more kinds of job opportunities than were ever imagined before. You are no longer doomed to follow in your parents’ footsteps.


If your father was a carpenter or worked in a mill, it’s no longer your destined career path. With the Boomers generation, came a wave of people earning more money than their parents did.

This set the expectation that we deserve to earn more money than our parents. We believe we’re supposed to get incremental raises. Our salary is supposed to continue to move along an upward trajectory. In our parents’ and grandparents’ generation, the goal was to earn your age in thousands; a 40-year-old making $40,000/year was considered highly successful. Now, $40,000 is often a low starting salary in most industries—suited for someone who just walked out with their diploma.

The current workforce has the expectation of making more money than their parents. In fact, they feel as though they should be paid more money by right. But many of them haven’t developed the needed skills, nor have they resolved the fears involved in asking for a raise, presenting, and displaying their value to the company. They’re under enormous pressure from their parents, and society in general, because that’s the view they were raised with; yet they can’t overcome their fear of asking.

When is the Best Time to Ask for a Raise?

Studies of the workplace and compensation show that the best time to negotiate your salary is when you begin a job. While this may seem disheartening, it makes sense. For most employers, salary and compensation is set at the least amount to elicit the maximum performance. You have the most flexibility when your potential boss is getting you to sign on. Beyond your start date, you’ve already agreed to work for a certain range. You’ve assigned yourself value.

But of course, many people take a job with the expectation of incremental and cost of living raises throughout their career. They may also hope for promotions and growth within their job as they work their way up the ladder. With each step on the rung, it’s safe to assume you can negotiate a higher salary.


An interesting phenomenon that’s quite common among today’s employees is that the people who ask for a raise are often not the ones who “deserve” it. Many times, those who push themselves harder and set broader higher goals are constantly measuring their performance. They may not feel they’re entitled to a raise, because they still see themselves as stretching to reach their next goal or milestone.


Not in all cases of course, but in some, employees overrate their performance and expect a raise. If their extra performance was notable, their boss would have compensated them for it. Of course, there are bosses who are clueless, stingy with raises, or who leave salary to HR.  In these cases, a request is often necessary (let’s face it, most bosses won’t notice your frustration with compensation unless you bring it up).

If you feel your performance merits a raise or a promotion, you should document your value to the company in measurable data. How many new accounts have you brought in? How many new duties did you take on? If you’ve been engaged in professional development, and how are you applying your learning to your job? How are you taking the company’s vision and making it your own?

In short, look at the value you’re bringing to the job. Not your longevity in the position and certainly not what those around you are earning (unless you feel there’s discrimination or an HR issue that needs greater attention). Have you earned the raise, or do you simply want the raise?

Why Asking for a Raise is a Vulnerable Position

After exploring and documenting your value, your fears should be alleviated. If you’re still apprehensive about asking for the promotion, it’s time to address what’s going on inside of you that’s getting in the way of asking for the raise.

If you’re asking for a raise, it means you think you’re worth more than you’re being paid. Your boss has the right to ask you, “Okay, what makes you think you’re worth more? Why should I pay you more or give you the corner office?”

This puts us in a vulnerable emotional position. Our feelings could easily be hurt. After all, what if we’re not deemed as valuable as we’re perceiving ourselves to be?

Different personalities may also view the situation differently. Those who are outgoing and enthusiastic may see their presence as a blessing to the organization. They may easily believe they deserve more and are quick to talk it up. While this type of energy is often noticeable, many employers will also want to see a strong follow through to back up this value. The challenge for this personality is to learn how to offer up the proof to their request.

Other less verbal, less outgoing personality types may struggle more with the idea of asking for a raise. Those who are more supportive and who prefer to take a behind-the-scenes role, often struggle to appreciate their own value. To ask for a raise they must be driven by a very strong personal need. While this is a good impetus for examining your value to the company, most employers will need to know more about what you plan to do for the company than what the raise will do for you personally. Make your case, focusing on your indispensable value to the organization rather than focusing on how you need the additional compensation.

Goal-oriented individuals often think there’s another hoop they need to go through to get their raise, and they’ll only act on a certainty. They’ll ask for a promotion when they know they’ve fully earned it. Similarly, careful, analytic types often have extremely low-risk personalities, and they’re typically so buried in their work they may not even think about the raise at all. Again, only if they’re driven by a strong personal need will they muster up the courage to make the request. This is where their analytical personality will help them document their performance.


Depending on your personality type, you may find the conversation more difficult and intimidating. It’s important to always bring your focus back to the main question. Do I deserve a raise? Has my performance merited a promotion?


If the answer is no or you still aren’t certain, ask yourself what personal goals you should set to bring you to a comfortable place. Do you need additional training? Professional development? A higher sales goal?

On the other hand, if the answer is yes, you do feel your performance merits a promotion or raise, and you’ve explored the question thoroughly, you may way to practice the conversation with a trusted ally. Go through the documentation and present your case. Troubleshoot worst-case scenarios. What will you do if your boss says no? How will you handle any additional work requests or duties contingent on your new position?

Once you’ve examined the topic openly and honestly, you’ll feel less fear moving forward. Asking for a raise is a vulnerable position, but if you are truly performing well you’ll feel more confident. Focus on learning and growing in your position each day. Take on new tasks and opportunities to push yourself further in your career.

For more on how to maximize your potential at work, visit the Wright Foundation. We also want to announce the availability of many of our courses for download. Don’t miss out on the special introductory price for many of our courses and lectures. Explore our courses, or join us for an upcoming free networking event to learn more.


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.