Rob Ford: Oops, he did it again…and again…and again…

Posted May 1, 2014 in Latest News & Insights

“Wow, I’m really surprised that another video of Rob Ford possibly smoking illegal narcotics has just emerged”, said no Torontonian ever.  As our embattled Mayor takes a “pause” on his re-election campaign to deal with his substance abuse issues (which, by the way, I commend him for doing), there is an instructive lesson here for leaders that’s beyond “don’t let your drug dealer video-tape you at 1 a.m. doing things you shouldn’t do.”

My late mentor Don McQuaig taught me a very important lesson when it came to interviewing prospective candidates for roles.  I was running my questions by him and had a usually slew of “what would you do in this situation” type questions.  He put a line through them and said this: “Past behaviour predicts future behaviour”.  Instead of asking questions like: “what would you do if you had to handle any angry customer?” which is a fictitious scenario where they could say anything they wanted, ask for a specific experience: “Tell me about a time when you had to handle an angry customer.”  From this real scenario you will get a sightline to the behaviours they demonstrate under pressure, in conflict, when they’re excited, etc.

Behaviour change – although sounding simple – is not easy.  Most people don’t have the fortitude it takes to truly change behaviours… for a variety of reasons.  Therefore, how they responded in the past, is typically how they’ll respond in the future.

As I’ve blogged before about Rob Ford, his past behaviour is a mirror reflection of his current behaviour.  Just as the existing slew of potential Mayoral candidates past behaviours will be predictive of their future behaviours as well.

So, as you interviewing a new potential team member or consider who you’re going to vote for in the next election, make sure you pay attention to those past behaviour “red flags”.  They’re probably not going to change once they join your team.  (Anyone who’s married and has tried to change their partner’s behaviour say an “Amen” to that.)

Past behaviour predicts that Rob Ford will do his stint in rehab (although maybe not fully complete it… he didn’t do well on his weight loss challenge) and be back with apologies, deflections and abdication of responsibility… and then dust himself off to restart his re-election campaign.  Just you wait and see.

Happy leading!

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