What can you be the greatest at?

What can you be great at?This is a post from Y Scouts Managing Partner and co-founder, Brian Mohr.

Earlier this year, I attended a personal development retreat hosted by author, Kevin Hall. If you haven’t read Kevin’s book, Aspire, I highly encourage it. On the second day of the retreat, he handed out a worksheet and on it was a question, “how can you become greater at what you are greatest at?”

The question took hold of me in a big way – it consumed my every thought. I was desperate for the answer. I felt if I could figure out what I was the greatest at, the rest of my life would unfold seamlessly. Was it public speaking? Was it leading a team? Was it building relationships? Was it being a husband, a father, a son, or a brother? Was it something else entirely? For the remainder of the retreat, I was fixated on finding the answer.

The retreat ended and the answer never came. What was supposed to be an uplifting retreat ended on a very somber note. I boarded the plane for my flight home. I was looking out the window as we were taxiing to the runway and the answer hit me like a freight train. There is only one thing in this world that I can be the greatest at – being Brian Mohr.

I am an unrepeatable miracle. My life, the gifts and the struggles I’ve been given are uniquely mine. The same is true for you. I spent an entire weekend looking outward for the answer to a very important question whose answer could only be found by looking inward. It was a pivotal moment for me.

It’s been more than 6 months since the retreat and I’ve worked very hard to look inward more often – I’m hoping it will soon become my default setting. As a society, we are so conditioned to look outward for happiness, for success, for approval, for well-being, for meaning, for satisfaction.

I’ve come to the simple conclusion that many of the answers I seek lie within. I’m curious if you feel the same way?

My best,
B-Mohr-1

Y Scouts is a leadership search practice that connects purpose-driven organizations with purpose-driven leaders. We believe that the best employer and employee connections start by connecting through a shared purpose.

What’s Your Why? Click here if you’re an employer. Click here if you want to make a difference in a new role.

I’m open-minded as long as you see things my way

Lebron James I'm Coming Home

This is a post from Y Scouts Managing Partner and co-founder, Brian Mohr.

Like most people, I see the world a specific way. My default setting is to give people the benefit of the doubt, to give trust first – I believe people are inherently good. As the years have gone by, I somehow fooled myself into thinking everyone sees things as I do. Take for instance the recent LeBron James decision to go back to Cleveland. As soon as the news hit, I immediately thought his decision was motivated by him wanting to be part of something larger than just winning championships. I saw his decision as a desire to go back to his roots and help his hometown of Cleveland. I saw his decision as a way to give back to the people of Cleveland. I saw his decision as a force for good.

After speaking with some trusted advisors and friends, I quickly learned not everyone saw it this way. Several people saw his decision as a way to capitalize on new endorsement money, some saw it as a strategy to heal his image, some saw it as a way for him to have more power with regard to player personnel, and some didn’t care at all.

My point is that I’ve always thought of myself as a very open-minded individual. However, when my friends and trusted advisors didn’t see things my way, I immediately got defensive. My initial gut reaction was to try and convince them to see things my way. In retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t try to convince anyone of anything. I’ve had some time to ponder the alternative perspectives and have allowed all of them to seep in. I think the inconsequential debate over LeBron’s decision is a perfect example of the changing world, one where there is no absolute right or absolute wrong (exclusive of moral or ethical right and wrong, of course).

The next time someone doesn’t agree with my view of the world, I need to stop for a moment, take a deep breath and consider their perspective as an alternative to mine. The worst thing that might happen is I gain additional insight into how others see the world.

My best,
B-Mohr-1

Y Scouts is a leadership search practice that connects purpose-driven organizations with purpose-driven leaders. We believe that the best employer and employee connections start by connecting through a shared purpose.

What’s Your Why? Click here if you’re an employer. Click here if you want to make a difference in a new role.

How The Internal Hiring Process Can Be Used For External Hires

Most job descriptions emphasize experience, skills and academics.

Most people who get promoted internally into these same spots don’t have the experience, skills and academics listed as required for someone hired from the outside.

What they have is something far better – an established cultural fit and a track record of performance that indicates they can take on a bigger role in the company. Not surprising, by assessing cultural fit and performance rather than skills and experience, the probability of their success is more predictable, too.

There is no reason the same cultural and performance-based process used for promoting people internally can’t be applied for external hires.

It can, by defining the cultural and performance expectations of the role before defining the necessary experience and skills.

Brand Face-off: Patagonia vs Columbia

Patagonia vs Columbia

In this week’s “Brand Face-Off,” we compare Columbia versus Patagonia.

People today are not just choosing the best, the fanciest, or the cheapest brand. They’re selecting to support brands that have the right meaning. That’s why we’re taking a deeper dive into two well known sportswear brands: Patagonia vs Columbia.

First, let’s ask the question: if you were to buy a polar fleece, which brand would you choose? Columbia Sportswear or Patagonia?

When it comes to the quality of the polar fleece, there’s practically zero difference. The Patagonia fleece is more expensive. The features are similar. But, here’s a few things to note about the Patagonia brand that might influence your decision:

  • Patagonia donates 1% of it’s money to environmental causes.
  • Mission statement: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.
  • Patagonia gives its employees surfing breaks at work.
  • Patagonia was founded by Yvon Chouinard, one of the greatest climbers in history.

Patagonia Brand

Okay, now let’s take a look at Columbia. Here’s what makes Columbia unique:

  • Believes corporate responsibility is a companywide effort.
  • Mission statement: Design and deliver authentic, outdoor, high-value products for active consumers of all ages.
  • Tim Boyle, Columbia’s President & CEO, is the son of the Gert Boyle, whose parents were German nationals who fled Nazi Germany in 1938 and started the company.

About-Us

Patagonia has a customer base that is smaller than Columbia’s, but is absolutely committed. It’s not that Columbia Sportswear has the wrong meaning, it’s that Patagonia has more of the right meaning for people who care about the brands they support. The Patagonia consumer, like those of so many other brands, is making a choice based on meaning, not just quality, features, or price.

What do you think? Does it make a difference to you on which polar fleece you would buy when left to the decision to wear Columbia vs Patagonia?

Y Scouts is a leadership search practice that connects purpose-driven organizations with purpose-driven leaders. We believe that the best employer and employee connections start by connecting through a shared purpose.

What’s Your Why? Click here if you’re an employer. Click here if you want to make a difference in a new role.

Polishing the past or creating the future?

Tesla Patent

This is a post from Y Scouts Managing Partner and co-founder, Brian Mohr.

What may seem to many as a crazy move by Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, I think it’s exactly the type of leadership the business world needs so desperately. If you are not aware, the electric car innovator decided to forgo all lawsuits against anyone infringing on Tesla’s patents. Musk recently said, “If a company is relying on patents, it’s in a weak position. They’re not innovating fast enough. You want to be innovating so fast that you invalidate your prior patents.”

Musk’s decision is the antithesis of the historical corporate approach. Our past business zeitgeist encouraged us to protect our position, insulate ourselves from the competition, and suffocate any business who so much as looked at us the wrong way. I mean, could you imagine Microsoft giving up access to all of its patents in the 1990’s?

The move is brilliant on 3 fronts, 1.) it helps spur additional growth in the electric car market – there is already a minimum 4-month waiting period for a new Tesla, 2.) it positions Tesla as the go-to battery supplier for other manufacturers, and my favorite part about Musk’s decision, which is point 3.), is the giant bat-signal it sends to his company. Musk’s move just informed his team that they will stop at nothing short of creating the future.

Elon and his team have the potential to impact the world in a profound way. Imagine a world with greatly reduced oil consumption because electric vehicles dominate the market – the implications are world-changing. If you were a member of the Tesla team, would you be pretty hyped about going to work every day?

My best,
B-Mohr-1

Y Scouts is a leadership search practice that connects purpose-driven organizations with purpose-driven leaders. We believe that the best employer and employee connections start by connecting through a shared purpose.

What’s Your Why? Click here if you’re an employer. Click here if you want to make a difference in a new role.

15 Remarkable CEO Interview Questions

CEO Interview QuestionsAt Y Scouts, we interview people for executive positions every day. Since we’re a purpose based executive search firm, we aim to understand each candidate’s reason for working during the first phase of the interview. The CEO interview questions we ask can all be traced back to one idea: “why do you work?” Their reason for working should be similar to the purpose of the company.

But what else do leaders ask chief executive officer candidates? We asked the Y Scouts Leadership Community what their favorite CEO interview questions are and why they like to ask each one. Here’s what they told us.

1. How do you see the company changing in two years, and how do you see yourself creating that change?
We want to hire a leader who thinks about where the company is going. We don’t want a CEO who is comfortable doing things the way they’ve always been done. That’s why we ask what differences they anticipate and how they see themselves shaping change in the future.

2. Pitch our service as you would in a sales meeting.
A chief executive officer needs to be able to represent the business in the public eye as well as in the office. Asking the candidate to pitch the organization like they would in a sales meeting demonstrates whether or not they are capable of holding a leadership role.

3. Give me one word that describes you the best.
I like this question because it is a quick way to evaluate the candidate’s character. Nobody’s personality can be fully summed up in one word, so the word they pick is very important. It shows me what they consider their most positive attribute.

4. What are your goals?
This question shows me what motivates a candidate to succeed and where they want to go. By knowing what motivates someone, its easier for me to relate to them.

5. What Are Your 3 Biggest Accomplishments?
This is a great CEO interview question because the answer speaks volumes. I can see if they are more proud of their accomplishments in their professional or personal life. Plus, I get some insight into what the person considers successful. For them, is success a good project, learning something new, or earning a certain amount of money?

6. What other CEOs do you look up to?
A person’s heroes can tell you a lot about who they are now and who they aspire to be. It also tells me whose leadership and management styles they would like to emulate as the CEO of the company.

7. Tell us 3 things you like and 3 things you dislike about your current position.
If they answer with dislikes first, or if have way more than three dislikes, you learn a lot about their personality in the workplace. I place a lot of importance on company culture when hiring someone new, and this question is a good way to determine whether or not someone will fit in with mine.

8. Explain the rationale behind each of your career moves.
For this question, I ask people to start with their college graduation and tell me about each of their career moves from that point. The answer shows me how they use strategic thinking to reach their goals.

9. What has been the biggest let down in your career so far?
Everyone sees disappointment in their career, but I’m looking to see how the candidate used this disappointment to improve themselves. It’s also interesting for me to see whom they blame their disappointments on. If they think other people are responsible for their own mistakes, it’s a warning sign that they might not be a good fit for the position.

10. In your own words, can you tell me what we do?
The best people we’ve hired have been able to answer this question in a way that demonstrates how they’ve researched our company’s impact and how they could help us accomplish what we want to do. This question shows us who just wants a job and who wants to help our company move forward.

11. How are your communication skills?
Someone joining my company as a CEO needs to be able to communicate with their colleagues, direct reports, and myself. That’s why I like to ask about their communication skills – it’s a must-have quality.

12. How would someone write about your life for a magazine or newspaper?
Everybody has an interesting story, and it’s a newspaper or magazine writer’s job to find it and tell it. This question gives me the chance to see what the candidate thinks are the most interesting details of their life, which tells me a lot about what they value and how they act.

13. Teach me something I don’t already know.
According to a good friend of mine, the hiring department at Google uses this question at some point in the hiring process. It requires the candidate to think of a unique skill on the spot, and gives them an opportunity to demonstrate their creativity and personality.

14. What animal are you the most like?
This question makes candidates think creatively on their feet. It teaches me a lot about who they are as a person, and shows me how good they are at seeing the best qualities in others.

15. Ask questions that determine cultural fit.
My company really focuses on hiring people that fit into the company’s brand.A lot of people have the talent to do the job, but finding the best fitting candidate is the key to making a new hire successful. That’s why my company asks people questions that reflect our company’s culture.

You might be interested in these other posts about hiring a CEO:
- When to Hire a CEO
- What to Look For in a CEO
- How to Hire a CEO
- What to Pay a CEO

What CEO interview questions have you been asked? Let us know in the comments.

Y Scouts is a leadership search practice that connects purpose-driven organizations with purpose-driven leaders. We believe that the best employer and employee connections start by connecting through a shared purpose.

What’s Your Why? Click here if you’re an employer. Click here if you want to make a difference in a new role.

15 Extraordinary COO Interview Questions

COO Interview QuestionsHere at Y Scouts, we interview people for executive positions every day. Since we’re a purpose based executive search firm, we try to figure out people’s PURPOSE during the first set of interviews. All the COO interview questions we ask can be traced back to one question: “Why do you work?” Why they work should be similar to a company’s purpose if they are going to be leading the company.

But what other COO interview questions do leaders ask their candidates? We decided to ask the Y Scouts Leadership Community what their favorite question to ask a potential new hire looking for a chief operating officer role was, and why they like to ask it. Here’s what they told us.

1. Explain the rationale behind each of your career moves.
I like to ask them what their reasoning was behind each of their career decisions, from their college graduation up until this point. Their answer shows me how the candidate strategizes and prepares for the future.

2. What are your goals?
I find this question helps me understand what motivates a potential hire and sheds light as to whether she would be a good fit. I am a big believer in ‘fit’ and this question goes a long way. People draw motivation from different sources, and understanding that from the outset is very helpful in building a successful relationship.

3. What makes you stand out from others?
I love this question because it forces the candidate to talk about their accomplishments without trying to sound too humble. You can also tell a lot about a person by how they answer this question. If they start to brag or sound too modest, it says a lot about their personality.

4. Teach me something I don’t already know.
A friend told me that this is a question often used in interviews at Google. It forces the candidate to get creative and explain something out of the ordinary.

5. Ask questions that determine cultural fit.
It’s important for a future chief operating office to be talented, but finding someone who fits in with the company culture is what really makes the hire successful. That’s why it’s important to consider your company’s brand and ask question that help you determine whether or not the candidate shares your company’s vision.

6. Who do you look up to?
A person’s role model can tell you a lot about them. People pick role models who have qualities they would like to see in themselves and in others. By asking about their inspiration, you learn a lot about the personal characteristics and skills that person finds important.

7. What are your communication skills like?
A COO is going to have to communicate a lot: with clients, employees, and myself. It’s extremely important that whoever is chosen for the position knows how to communicate effectively with many types of people.

8. What is the toughest job you’ve had?
I love this question because it makes the person I’m interviewing thing critically about their work experience. It also tells me a lot about what responsibilities they find the most challenging. If they had a hard time doing a job similar to the one I’m interviewing them for, I may think about whether or not that person is right for this position.

9. Tell us 3 Likes and 3 Dislikes you have at your current job.
This is a good question to use when determining whether or not a candidate fits into the company culture. If the things they dislike about their current job could also come up in this position, it definitely raises a red flag. I also notice if they have more “dislikes” than “likes.”

10. What’s the toughest feedback someone has ever given you? How did you learn from it?
This question lets me know how the candidate deals with constructive criticism. Can they take it well, or do they take it personally? What kind of criticism motivates them, and what just hurts their feelings?

11. What is was your production measurement in your last job?
This is a simple question to ask, but it tells me if they ever thought critically at their last job or if they were just there to get a paycheck.

12. What Are Your 3 Biggest Accomplishments?
This question lets me see what the candidate considers success. It could be anything from getting a certain salary, earning a certain title, or reaching a specific goal. It also tells me if they get their biggest sense of accomplishment at the office or through their personal life.

13. How do you handle rejection?
No one has all of their ideas accepted all of the time, even the chief operating officer. This question tells me if the person uses failure to push themselves more, or if they like to learn something from each missed opportunity.

14. Can you please tell me in your own words what we do?
I use this question to find out how much research the person did prior to the interview. The best people we’ve hired have all had well-informed answers to this question that addressed our company’s goals and what they could do to contribute.

15. How do you think the company will change in two years, and how do you see yourself creating that change?
We don’t want our organization to remain stagnant, so we want to make sure our leaders can take us in the right direction. That’s why we ask them what they see for our organization’s future and how they want to get us to that point.

You might be interested in these other posts about hiring a COO:
- When to Hire a COO
- What to Look For in a COO
- How to Hire a COO
- What to Pay a COO

What COO interview questions have you been asked? Leave your questions in the comments below.

Y Scouts is a leadership search practice that connects purpose-driven organizations with purpose-driven leaders. We believe that the best employer and employee connections start by connecting through a shared purpose.

What’s Your Why? Click here if you’re an employer. Click here if you want to make a difference in a new role.

15 High-Level CTO Interview Questions

CTO Interview QuestionsSince Y Scouts is a purpose based executive search firm, we start off the interview process trying to understand why people work. When asking CTO interview questions to a potential chief technology officer, we trace everything back to one question: “Why do you work?” The candidate is better equipped to be a leader if their reason for working matches up with the company’s purpose.

But what other CTO interview questions do leaders ask their candidates? We asked the Y Scouts Leadership Community what their favorite CTO interview question was and why they like to ask it. Here’s what they had to say:

1. How do you measure your success?
Everyone has a different idea of what it means to be successful. If the candidate’s vision of success is similar to ours, we’ll all feel satisfied when a project is finished.

2. What brought you here?
Anyone can hand me a resume and let me read about their career history. I’m looking for someone who can explain how their past experience led them to their current career path.

3. Pitch what we do.
Every executive employee should be able to represent the business in public. If the candidate can create a sales pitch for your company during the interview, you’ll find out if they can handle speaking on your company’s behalf.

4. What is one thing you would want to change about the company right now?
This question shows me how much the candidate has thought about my business and how much research they did before the interview. I’m looking for a thoughtful answer, not just something they think I want to hear.

5. What are five words you would use to describe your personality?
I like this question because it lets me see who the candidate is. If they struggle to come up with enough words, or they come up with too many, it speaks volumes about who they are as a person. Likewise, the words they pick give me an idea of which personal qualities they look for in others.

6. What is was your production measurement in your last job?
This is a really easy question that tells me how critically they think about their work.

7. Tell us 3 thinks you like and 3 things you dislike about your current job.
This question tells me a lot about someone’s work persona. If they only have bad things to say about their current position, or if their dislikes seem trivial, it could be a problem. I need to be sure they’ll fit in with the company’s culture.

8. Tell me about a time where you identified a serious problem in the workplace and came up with a solution that benefitted your company.
Problem solving skills are essential for a CFO. I want to make sure the person I hire has proven their ability to diagnose and fix technical problems. I can use their answer to get a better idea of what they do in tough situations and if it will work in my office.

9. How have you used new technology to help your employer?
Technology is rapidly advancing. I need to make sure my chief technology officer follows new innovations and isn’t afraid to try them out. If they have been able to successful use new ideas in the past, it makes me confident that they will be able to do the same in my organization.

10. What books and blogs are you currently reading?
What someone reads can tell you a lot about what they enjoy and what they aspire to become.

11. Ask questions to determine cultural fit.
It’s not enough to hire someone talented; they have to fit in with the company’s culture, too. It’s important ask questions that reflect the company’s culture and purpose. That way, I can tell if a candidate shares the same goals as the company.

12. How do you use communication skills?
Someone in a leadership position needs to be able to communicate with employees on all levels of the organization. This is critical for a CTO.

13. What is the most complicated assignment you have done?
This question gives the candidate a chance to show me how they rise to meet challenges. I’m also looking to see how they solve problems: do they break them down or tackle them all at once?

14. Tell me what we do in your own words.
How easily a candidate can sum up the company’s purpose and impact shows me how much they already know about the organization. The best candidates we’ve hired have done research on our company, our goals, and our impact and gave this question a thoughtful answer during their interview.

15. Teach me something I don’t already know.
One of my friends says Google executives ask this question a lot during interviews. It makes the candidate think on their feet and give a unusual, creative answer.

You might be interested in these other posts about hiring a CTO:
- When to Hire a CTO
- What to Look For in a CTO
- How to Hire a CTO
- What to Pay a CTO

What CTO interview questions have you been asked? Let us know in the comments.

Y Scouts is a leadership search practice that connects purpose-driven organizations with purpose-driven leaders. We believe that the best employer and employee connections start by connecting through a shared purpose.

What’s Your Why? Click here if you’re an employer. Click here if you want to make a difference in a new role.

15 Exceptional CIO Interview Questions

CIO Interview QuestionsSince Y Scouts is a purpose based executive search firm, we try to understand why people work at the beginning of the interview process. When asking CIO interview questions to a potential chief information officer, most of our inquiries can be traced back one little question: “Why do you work?” The candidate is better equipped to be a leader if their reason for working matches up with the company’s purpose.

But what other CIO interview questions do leaders ask their candidates? We decided to ask the Y Scouts Leadership Community what their favorite question to ask a potential new hire looking for a chief information officer was, and why? Here’s what they told us.

1. What brought you here?
Knowing how their career path put them in the position to apply for my company is important to me. How has their career prepared them for this role, and why do they think working for me is the next logical step?

2. What are your goals?
This question lets me see what motivates a candidate. It helps me see if they would be a good fit for my company and if our values are similar. Knowing what motivates someone makes it easier for us to relate to each other.

3. Can you please tell me in your own words what we do?
Right away, this question shows how much research the candidate put into our company. The best people we’ve hired have been able to give us a really thoughtful answer about our company’s purpose and impact.

4. How do you keep up with new technology news and trends?
Technology is constantly evolving, and I need to know that whomever I hire as my CIO is going to be able to keep up. How closely the candidate follows industry news shows me how they might use new ideas in the workplace.

5. How do you predict the company will be different in two years, and how do you see yourself shaping that change?
A leader at the executive level should be thinking about how to help the company evolve. They shouldn’t be complacent with things as they are. So we ask them to tell us what changes they foresee, and how they plan on getting us there.

6. Explain the rationale behind each of your career moves.
I ask candidates to explain why they made each of their career choices, from their college graduation until now. Their answer shows me how they’ve used strategy in their own career, and lets me see how they plan for the long-term.

7. Who has been your biggest influence, and how have they affected you?
This question is very enlightening. Do their influences come from their personal lives, or are they more professional? It’s also interesting to see how they have looked up to people in the past, and how they think other people have helped them in their life.

8. What books and blogs are you currently reading?
You learn a lot about someone’s personality and aspirations from what they chose to read.

9. Ask questions that determine cultural fit.
Think about your company’s message and culture, and ask the candidate a few questions about it. We’re big believers in having employees that convey our personal brand.

10. Can you a project you were worked on that didn’t succeed?
This question tells me a lot about a person’s attitude in the workplace. Do they shift blame, or do they jump at the chance to own up to a mistake and show me what they learned?

11. What project are you the most proud of?
I like asking this question because it tells me what kind of work the candidate takes pride in. The project they are the most proud of does not necessarily mean the project that was most successful. It could be something they struggled with and eventually learned a lot from.

12. Teach me something I don’t already know.
A good friend told me the heads at Google ask this question when hiring somebody new. It puts the candidate on the spot and makes them use their creativity and personality to teach me something special.

13. What do you think I could do better as the CEO of my company?
This question lets me see how gusty and genuine the candidate can be. If they don’t have an answer, I don’t take them seriously. But if they have the courage to look me in the eye and give me constructive criticism in an interview setting, it leaves a lasting impression.

14. What do you look for when you’re building a team?
This question lets me see what the candidate values in other employees. Since teamwork is necessary for a CIO, it gives me a glimpse of how the candidate would work with the people in my office to solve problems and work on new projects.

15. How would you describe your communication skills?
I like to ask people about how they communicate. Someone in an executive role at my company needs to know how to communicate effectively in reports, with their colleagues, and with me. It’s a critical skill that my CIO has to have.

You might be interested in these other posts about hiring a CIO:
- When to Hire a CIO
- What to Look For in a CIO
- How to Hire a CIO
- What to Pay a CIO

What CIO interview questions have you been asked? Tell us in the comments below!

Y Scouts is a leadership search practice that connects purpose-driven organizations with purpose-driven leaders. We believe that the best employer and employee connections start by connecting through a shared purpose.

What’s Your Why? Click here if you’re an employer. Click here if you want to make a difference in a new role.

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