If you attended World Ag Expo or the National Farm Machinery Show, welcome home! Because it’s easy to get “showed-out” at this time of year, this E-WATCH editor’s letter is a bit different (you’ll find coverage of the NFMS separately in this week’s E-WATCH)…

At our company, we’re recruiting for two strategic hires right now that’ll greatly determine our growth prospects as we start our 31st year next month. In preparation for these hires, I recently signed on for a series of tests with a local management consultant to “take a look in the mirror.” I’ve now completed the Myers Briggs Personality and Emotional Intelligence Tests and enjoyed thought-provoking dialog in each of my meetings with the consultant. Some fascinating stuff…

One of her questions about my values and those I want in others caused me to cite the “foxhole test.” If you’re not familiar with this exercise, imagine yourself stuck in a foxhole in a combat setting. Now for the test … you get to choose which of your co-workers you want in that foxhole with you. That is, who do you value most when the chips are down?

I know the traits of those I want in my foxhole:

  • Relies on their wits to see the situation for what it is
  • Remains cool and calm under pressure
  • Will work with, and lock arms with, the team (NOT individual heroics)
  • Delivers on what they say they’re going to do at all times — no matter the challenges. NOT giving up or surrendering when the heat is on
  • Takes action (NOT just talking about it), including personally getting their hands dirty when needed
  • Visualizes the paths to success (NOT counting up all the obstacles in the way)

This exercise isn’t a popularity contest. Rather, it’s about who you can most count on when the going gets tough. And if you’re able to quickly identify your three “foxhole comrades,” consider yourself lucky. And tell them about it.

There’s another side to this test, too, and one I’ve pondered myself.

Are YOU personally demonstrating qualities that’d make you an easy selection for others’ foxhole tests?