When Did Success Become Suspect?

Santa Clarita Signal • Opinion Column • Ethically Speaking • Dec. 17 weekender 2016

 When Did Success Become Suspect?

David W. Hegg

I can remember when those picking teams for touch football at recess were anxious to choose other 6th grade boys they knew would help them win. The first picks were always the athletic guys who were fast or good at throwing and catching. I don’t remember anyone crying foul when the best athletes were chosen first. We all knew that was the way the world works. Everyone knew who the winners were, and while some of us hated the fact we were left to the end, we didn’t think society somehow owed us the right to be picked first.

But it appears that is changing. Apparently, being successful now means you probably cheated, or at least have more than your share of power, wealth, and opportunity. Shame on you for being successful, and double-shame if you enjoy what your success has allowed you to be, do, and enjoy.

It’s too bad.

I remember when, at the end of each political party’s convention, the newly nominated presidential candidates would bring their families out on stage, hold hands while the confetti and balloons dropped, all while the singers were belting out “Will everyone here kindly step to the rear and let a winner lead the way!”

 It used to be winning meant you were good at something, skilled at something, and had persevered through years of training in order to achieve the top spot. It used to mean you were the kind of person others wanted on their team, or even lead their team.

I think it is still that way, but once again tribalism, pride, and an addiction to leveling every strata of society until we are awash in socialism’s muck have raised their whining voices.

Apparently, the President-Elect thinks successful men and women are the ones he wants on his team, and he is taking shots for daring to choose those who have accomplished something. On the other hand, had he chosen some who had no winning track record he would have gotten shelled for that as well. When tribalism and vengeance are the rules of the day, consistency is the first casualty.

In a small attempt to add some substance to the argument, I propose those of us who do hire and assemble teams would do well to look for the following in those we choose, regardless of other factors. These are my 4 “Cs”:

Character: First on the list must be the presence of known and exemplary character. Without this, no amount of brilliance or ability can be trusted.

Competence: Great character must be combined with outstanding ability to get the job done well. In some instances, people can gain competence, but if they don’t start with some ability, don’t choose them.

Chemistry: Those you choose must sync with the personalities, style, and philosophy of the team leader and the rest of the team. Diversity is a great benefit in teams, but not if it impacts these core areas, and results in fractured team morale.

Capacity: Choosing someone to join the team also means finding someone whose potential is greater than the job tasks they will be given. Ever team needs to grow, and that means the best teams are made up of those whose past success is a sure indicator of greater successes to come.

What’s all this add up to? Just this. Success is a good thing, a necessary thing, and it is important to make sure our society continues to think so. Past performance is always the best predictor of future success, and that mean winners are to be recognized, appreciated, and allowed the chance to win at higher levels.

And we must remember successful people almost always have battled through discouragement, disappointment, failure, and loss, and have come out the other side better for it.

So, before we go criticizing those the President-Elect chooses for his team, let’s make sure our opinions are based on facts rather than tribal emotion. And let’s commit to pray for all our leaders, with sincere hearts, that whatever character, competency, chemistry, and capacity they possess will be put to good use, for God and country.