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What’s Holding You Back… “CDD”?

by Kevin D. Crone

December 18, 2017
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Last week, a successful friend of mine said to me, “Why is it that so many people today don’t feel it’s important to change or improve even when their company is struggling?” I quickly replied, “I don’t know, maybe we’re into a culture of CDD. “What’s that?” he asked. “Character Deficit Disorder.” I just created that description but then we started to seriously talk about it.

We discussed how so many in generations past had to go from being a ‘nobody’ to being a ‘somebody’. They did whatever it took to learn, fail, struggle, keep going, change, and succeed. They went from a lack of money and education, to building character that caused success. It was a common view that worked in selecting and building talent that was real.

Tell me what you have overcome, what you have learned and I can tell you where you’re going and how you’re going to perform.

Character meant a lot! More than education. More than intellect. More than good looks. More than having tons of information at your finger tips. More than looking cool. More than ego! Those things all help, of course, but character – that’s how you made it! How do you get it? By being told how good you are all the time? By being let off the hook to change and learn? I don’t think so. What do you think? How did you get it?

Character leads to internal motivation that allows you to look in the mirror and say to yourself, “Based on what’s happening, what’s required right now? How am I doing, really? What do I need to do to grow and change? What do I need to do now despite how uncomfortable I am and my fears of looking bad or failing?”

My friend pointed out an old Monday Morning Mentor where I wrote that as a young businessman I was unhappy with my performance. I stopped the car and felt sick to my stomach and that caused me to read Dorothea Brande’s short book “Wake up and Live” from start to finish. Dorothea kicked me in the butt. I said to myself something like, “Okay what do I have to do to learn, or just get good at?” My friend was right. That did happen to me and some character was built that has stayed in my background thinking and shapes my actions even today. I know plenty of people who were scared, uncomfortable about doing the right things to achieve, but they did what it took anyway. You are probably one of them.

I like listening to Kent Austin, the General Manager and Coach of the Hamilton Tiger Cats. He says he keeps looking for talent and character, and creates a respectful, positive environment and then expects, and demands, performance. No one is left off the hook. He has the youngest team in the CFL. You hear about the great team atmosphere they have that really helps, but, under Kent’s leadership, you are expected to learn quickly and perform despite the problems young, inexperienced people usually have. You must perform!

In business, we all have to get the right people on the bus but the question is; are we still looking for character? Are we creating a respectful team environment that lets everyone feel good but stop there? Do we enable, and coddle because a lot of employees don’t want to do what is required? Do we prepare, engage, coach and train our people to succeed or let them choose every day how it’s going to go. Who is coaching who? Do we follow-up and ensure that they do what has to be done?

What kind of character does the coach have? Who has the CDD?

Many organizations demand, but don’t create the culture for growth. Some have a fun culture but not a performance one. I know it’s difficult changing and improving. You do have to admit some reality. You do feel uncomfortable and you could be defensive and blame others and complain, but you can’t do that for long. You have to only listen to the person in the mirror and do what it takes.

I think, at times, we all have some CDD. We all need to wake up and live. We need to let in the mentoring and coaching we’re getting. Or we should go find some. As business leaders, we have to lead the troops – even those who don’t want to change. As employees, we have to produce and be players in the game the business is playing. It can be lonely, frustrating, and, you can feel unappreciated. We all want to be liked and respected. So! We don’t need our Mommies. We can handle it. Regardless of what kind of players we have, we have to lead, coach, and manage the right way until we add the talent and character we need.

Most employees have 90% more potential to use and they have strengths, regardless of their character or the type of role they play. It’s really is up to you and me to get performance out of our team. Failing, being uncomfortable or scared isn’t bad. It can make us, not break us.

MMM Action:

What occurred to you today?

What are you going to do?


Kevin D. Crone

Dale Carnegie Business Group
(905) 826-7300

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