On a Scale of 1 to 10

Talent Management

August 9, 2010

by Marshall Goldsmith

Think about flight attendants and waiters. The jobs themselves do not define mojo, that positive spirit that starts inside and radiates outside. After all, great and not-so-great flight attendants are doing identical jobs. MOJO has to be about something else. But how do you measure it?

That’s when it hit me. We all have two forms of mojo in our lives: professional mojo, which is a measure of the skills and attitudes we bring to any activity, and personal mojo, which is measured by the benefits that a particular activity gives back to us.

Within this framework, it was easy to construct a simple test that we can use to measure our mojo when preparing for any specific activity. Five qualities that we need to bring to an activity in order to do it well are motivation, knowledge, ability, confidence and authenticity. Likewise, five benefits we may receive from the activity after doing a job well are happiness, reward, meaning, learning and gratitude.

Here’s the test. Think of a typical day in your life. Pick one of your more important activities. Rate yourself on each of the 10 questions on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest. A perfect mojo score would be 100. In the unlikely event that you score 100 on the mojo test, stop reading this column and give it to someone who really needs it.

Professional MOJO: What I Bring to This Activity

1. Motivation: You want to do a great job in this activity. If you are just going through the motions, your score would be low.

2. Knowledge: You understand what to do and how to do it. If you are unclear on processes or priorities, your score would be low.

3. Ability: You have the skills needed to do the task well. If this activity does not fit your talents, your score would be low.

4. Confidence: You are sure of yourself when performing this activity. If you feel unsure or insecure, your score would be low.

5. Authenticity: You are genuinely enthusiastic about the activity. If you are faking it, your score would be low.

Personal MOJO: What This Activity Brings to Me

6. Happiness: Being engaged in this activity makes you happy. If it is not stimulating or is otherwise not joyful, your score would be low.

7. Reward: This activity provides material or emotional rewards that are important to you. If the activity is unrewarding or if the rewards do not matter to you, your score would be low.

8. Meaning: The results of this activity are meaningful to you. If you do not feel a sense of fulfillment, then your score would be low.

9. Learning: This activity helps you to learn and grow. If you feel that you are just treading water and not learning, your score would be low.

10. Gratitude: Overall, you feel grateful to be able to do this activity and believe it is a great use of your time. If it seems like a poor use of your time or you regret doing it, your score would be low.

That’s it. Ten questions you can answer in a short period of time. One caveat: Although it’s a simple test, it’s not necessarily easy, largely because it’s a self-assessment test with no right or wrong answers.

You determine your own score. But that is what makes it hard. Many successful people tend to overestimate their strengths and underestimate their weaknesses. We often think we’re smarter, better looking and more accomplished than the facts may bear out. Keep that in mind as you assess your mojo. If, for example, you award yourself a 10 for knowledge or ability in a specific activity, that 10 may be a red flag that you’re letting ego trump the truth. Most of us have room for improvement, especially when it comes to knowledge and ability.

So step back and ask yourself if your colleagues would award you the same score. If you still believe it, so be it. Remember, no one else is seeing the test results. They’re for your eyes only. There’s no good reason to lie to yourself.