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When asked which was more important - mindset or skill set - when choosing who to hire, promote, give a higher raise to and retain in a downsizing, a survey of thousands of companies found mindset was favoured, by an average of 92 per cent of respondents. "Mindset utterly trumps skill set. Not by a little, but by a landslide.

That's why trying to win the best jobs by doing yet-more skills training is like training for a marathon by doing sprints and hurdles," James Reed, chairman of the Reed Global recruiting firm and Paul Stoltz, who has written extensively on overcoming adversity, write in a ChangeThis manifesto.

Your mindset is about what you see, think, and believe. Their research suggests three main criteria lead to success today:

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We live in a flat world, and a global mindset is a must. "It is not about cultural sensitivity, per se. It is about how far you see, reach and go to understand and address the everyday challenges and issues. Global has surged in importance, and it's here to stay," the authors say.

Global is about openness to new experiences and new ideas, as well as the ability to make new connections and create new combinations. You must be - on the connectivity side of that equation - connected, broadminded, without boundaries, seeing the big picture and a strong relationship builder. Openness means being flexible, curious, creative, and agile.


You must see the world in a way that benefits those around you. "Given the dog-eat-dog competitiveness of most businesses today, it may have surprised you to know the timeless virtues - honesty and trustworthy - are the chart-toppers in the eyes of the best employers. Where can any enterprise go, and how long can it flourish, without these elements?" the authors note. In other words: Good guys don't finish last.

The authors highlight integrity and kindness. You must be honest, loyal, trustworthy, ethical, moral, authentic and dependable.

As well: Kind, fair, compassionate, empathetic, respectful, humble and generous.

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Grit is the fuel that propels you forward. With grit anyone can come out ahead, regardless of their advantages or disadvantages. "In a rapidly changing, adversity-rich world, grit is the quality that enables us to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and carry on - stronger for the experience," they write. You must be resilient, tenacious, intense, and committed to growth.

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About the Author
Management columnist

Harvey Schachter is a Kingston, Ont.-based writer specializing in management issues. He writes Monday Morning Manager and management book reviews for the print edition of Report on Business and an online column, Power Points. More

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