Next year, who will you chose: the scrapper or the silver spoon?

by Didier Marlier on Friday December 11th, 2015

A client asked me three years ago: “Do you know what makes your team very different?” I hesitated a bit as she continued: “You all obviously carry a heavy story on your shoulders and that makes you credible and different in my eyes!”. I remember leaving the meeting, proud for having gone after “atypical” people rather than exclusively invite the usual “Mediocre But Arrogant” (read MBA – no offence, I hold one from IMD myself 😉 who litter most of the standard consultancies.

Yesterday, when browsing the net in search of inspiration, I fell on this clip. Regina Hartley is a HR Director with UPS. Her impassioned speech lacks facts, data and identification of the researches she mentions, but I still found it moving and thought provoking.

Her simple (and short) TED talk suddenly made it clear to me why I had invited such amazing people to join the Enablers Network: People who have gone through hardships of life add a very different flavour to it.

My New- year’s gift to you is this clip and my invitation: in 2016, give “scrappers” their chance, they will not disappoint you!

This is the last post for 2015. I hope to find you back in 2016 and wish you a Happy Ending of 2015!





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4 Responses to “Next year, who will you chose: the scrapper or the silver spoon?”

  1. Didier

    I watched the TED speech and I have some controversial feelings about it.

    My father was, a scrapper, for sure. I understand my history as closer to a scrapper rather than silver spoon. My daugther and my son are closer to silver spoons than scrappers.

    I deserved attention as a dedicated and passionated young Electronic Engineer. I got it, reached success beyond my own expectations. I probably found some HR leaders like Mrs. Regina. I am gratefull for that.

    I hope my kids, brilliant students in their academic life have opportunities compatible with their dedication that was as strong as it could be, regardless any family background or living conditions anyone had, receive opportunities aligned with their human qualities and values and don’t get disregarded because I was able to be successfull in my career. I believe Mrs. Regine will have the same feelings for her sons.

    I prefer to keep the message she gave in the very begining: give opportunity to both, choose the one that shows better fit to what is needed for the position. Do not disregard a resume because of social, sexual, religious or any other kind of preconceived conclusions.Not all silver spoons are just appearance, they also can have value. It is as true as that not all scrappers will be like she and her examples were.

    • Absolutely dear Luiz… I feel, right or wrong, a concern in your lines, which is echoed by those opposing “positive discrimination”. Praising the scrapper should not mean blaming the others. My own life story enabled me to see both “sides”: A silver spoon for the first 16 years of my life, I abruptly went to see the other world after… And at a high personal cost. As a friend of mine once said: “I don’t like to commit myself to Heaven or Hell: I got friends in both!” I do believe however that this wake-up call of Regina is useful as my experience with many HR and other recruiters, is that they are so risk averse and politically correct that they will, inevitably go for the apparently safe bet of the silver spoon… And that is certainly a heavy professional mistake and lack of leadership courage.

  2. Didier, thanks for this reminder. Very often my clients prefer the silver spoon but… When they see you as truster advisor… They are open to consider the scrapper and the results are amazing. By the end of the day, organizations need both types in the right proportion. A blend!
    Enjoy your time off and thanks for being serial scrapper finder yourself… Hugs, Denys

    • Thank you dear Denys, absolutely no question of positive discrimination. I agree that, in the name of true diversity, organizations do need both. I do look fwd to see your new practice in 2016!
      Take care


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