Posted by: kentropic | July 23, 2009

kina’ole = keeping things in perspective

Coccinella septempunctata: our friend, the ladybug

our friend, the ladybug

Ladybugs are charming little things. They’re considered good luck in many cultures. They eat aphids, which can destroy a garden. They’re the official State insect of Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. And they’re even kinda cute (as insects go).

But you wouldn’t want one in your salad, probably.

Still, if you did find one of these on the edge of your plate, it wouldn’t be a big deal, would it? At worst, you could send your salad back and ask to speak with the manager. At best, it’s a sign that your hosts use fresh local ingredients, and you might  joke about “protein supplements” with your table companions. But either way, most people let it go and move on.

Well, what if you’re a job candidate out for lunch with prospective employers? Last year we flew a terrific applicant into town for a last round of interviews with the team leaders she’d be working with, if we agreed on an offer. The flight was smooth and on-time, and all her morning meetings were a success. Then the department VP and Director took her to lunch, and everything started to unravel.

After the ladybug made its guest appearance, the candidate’s train of thought was completely derailed — not just for the remainder of the lunch, but in all her subsequent meetings that afternoon. She had great technical qualifications, and had breezed through two rounds of phone interviews, but she simply could not regain her poise and focus after this minor glitch in the program. Given that sudden, dramatic course-changes were the daily bread of our business (advertising), that inability was a deal-breaker.

Unfortunately, a ladybug-in-the-salad proved turned out to be a great job candidate’s undoing. She couldn’t keep the incident in perspective, and she wound up talking herself out of contention for a great position.

Our ability to take the unexpected in stride is one of the most important professional skills, and we never know when it’ll be put into play. When was the last time you faced a “ladybug-in-the-salad” moment, and how did you respond?

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