Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Has anyone seen Ambition recently?

Last Friday I was having lunch with a friend, Joe, and we were discussing candidate recruitment. Towards the end of lunch, Joe mentioned the attribute “Ambition.”

It struck me on my drive back to my office how few candidates today truly are ambitious. Sadly, it has been years since I last used that word to describe a candidate.

What has happened in our culture? Do people believe that being ambitious is synonymous to being greedy? Are parents allowing their children to participate in too many outside activities instead of focusing on a couple of activities and truly excelling in them? Are school administrators so afraid of offending someone and graduating classes of “Valedictorians” removing the motivation to excel? Are students focusing on sports to get to the “big money” the perceived easy way?

“Survival of the Fittest” is a law of nature. If you do not excel, you will be passed up.

Look at companies who were once the benchmarks of their industry. Many of them are either out of business or a shadow of their former selves in peoples’ minds. IBM sold their PC business to a Chinese company, Lenovo. What happened to Polaroid and Kodak? They were passed by and are working to reinvigorate themselves. Many of the old television manufacturers are owned by foreign companies who simply use the old name. Our once proud automobile manufacturers are being put out of business by ambitious foreign manufacturers.

Don’t leave ambition to others. We need to understand that ambition requires drive and the willpower to succeed. Set goals and then be willing to work very hard to achieve them.

We need to promote ambition in our children so they can compete in our new world. The candidates that I recruit today do not have the names of Smith and Jones. Many candidates have shown true ambition in their homeland and moved here to excel.

If we do not promote ambition here, our world will change – And you may not like the change.