When I was very young and still an only child, I remember my first Christmas. Everything was beautiful – the decorated tree, the lights and the gift-wrapped presents. It seemed to me that I had been given so many gifts that they lined a wall and went up the steps. After quickly moving through them and tearing apart the packaging, leaving paper and presents strewn everywhere, I looked at my mother and father and said, “Is that all?”

That was the first and final Christmas that I received such an avalanche of presents. My father muttered something about it being “the last time.” My gift bonanza ended. Somehow my Dad knew something wrong was forming in me.

In a Wall Street Journal article (http://tinyurl.com/ox3zbtp), Diana Kapp wrote this. “A 2013 study and personality and social psychology bulletin that tracked materialism in 355,000 high school seniors from 1976 to 2007 found that desire for lots of money had increased markedly since the mid-1970s, while willingness to work hard to earn it had decreased.” Ms. Kapp’s article also mentioned a 2010 study with similar conclusions, published in the Journal of Happiness Studies. It found that high school students who showed an increased appreciation (gratitude) for nature or other people had a more optimistic outlook than their other less grateful peers. The students also had higher GPAs.


Gratitude or gratefulness comes from being appreciative for something – even indebted to or obligated toward it. Gratitude starts with someone teaching us to say, “thank you.”  We we learn to value gratitude, we are taught to acknowledge that what we received or earned required hard work and sacrifice.

When things are easy or when we do not consider the sacrifice necessary to achieve results, we tend toward a less appreciative state and our character takes on a lazy spirit. No matter how many wonderful things we’re given, we still say, “Is that all?”

In sales, hard work makes goal achievement possible. Those that understand this will grasp the connection between struggle, income or recognition for winning. If reps persevere through difficulties, if they don’t quit, they appreciate what it really takes to earn personal rewards. Interesting, this leads to higher sales rates and less anxiety and depression.


Hire people who have a history of embracing hard work, responsibility, and a concern for others. Ask questions that give you a picture of these character traits and how they formed. Listen to how sales candidates talk about former bosses and what they empasize about the opportunities they pursued there. Ask questions and listen to how they describe previous successes and failtures. Attitudes of optimism and gratitude will affect sales results in the long-term and will impact a culture of consistency, responsibility and courageous selling effort. Negative attitudes in these areas will also affect your brand and what others think of your company and its products. Screen out these people and keep sourcing for better candidates.

Character impacts culture and culture impacts everything. Recruit character first!

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