EP 753 This is a fabulous and revealing question that hangs many people.  What percentage would you think?

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Great question. I heard last night and I thought I would use it as a topic for the show today. The question is, "What percentage of people do you think had stolen $10 worth of stuff from their employer and why do you think that way?"

I want to start by helping you understand the logic of the question. The logic starts off with the understanding that you really have no idea. What you're doing is projecting something on to the population that reflects you and you are thinking. Thus, if you say, "70 or 80%," what are you saying about yourself?" What is the likelihood that you would've taken stuff from your employer? By the way, I'm talking about something more than just simply pens.

Understand the question like this is about revealing something about yourself because "the why" follow-up of, "Why do you think that way," is really important.

"I've just seen it happen all the time. People take stuff that doesn't belong to them. I saw a guy at my last company walk out with a carton of toilet paper!" Whatever it is, the answer is designed for you to reveal much more about yourself than it is about others.

The way you want to answer the question is with a relatively low percentage.

"Maybe 25 or 30%."

"Why do you think that way?"

"I think people basically try to do the right thing and, as such, they know it hurts their employer and thus themselves if they take stuff. They try to be respectful and organizations, rather than steal from them. Yeah, I know there are exceptions and maybe I'm off on the number but I would prefer to think that people are trying to do the right thing."

That becomes a far better way to answer it instead of saying, "75%, maybe 80%."

However, in sales, you might try answering something a little bit different. "The people I work with are hard-nosed and determined, but they wouldn't do anything to pad their expense accounts or do anything to harm their employer. I think when push comes to shove were all trying to do a great job..." You understand where I'm coming from here?

There was a vulnerability that you showing with the answer and revealing about yourself and how you answer this question. If you pick a high number, you are really shooting yourself in the foot.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves life coaching, as well as executive job search coaching and business life coaching.

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