top of page

The Champion Forum Podcast

2022.10.12_Edit 1_-1422.jpg


Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! Every day people get fired and businesses fail. But why? In a world where you can be trained in almost anything, what makes some people more successful than others? Today’s interview with Rich Diviney will show you the secret qualities that determine success and how you can maximize those qualities to perform better and create better teams.

Rich draws upon 20+ years of experience as a Navy SEAL Officer where he completed more than 13 overseas deployments – 11 of which were to Iraq and Afghanistan. Throughout his career, he occupied multiple leadership positions, including the Commanding Officer of a Navy SEAL Command. Since retiring in early 2017, Rich has worked as a speaker, facilitator, and consultant with the Chapman & Co. Leadership Institute and Simon Sinek Inc.

What prompted the ideas in the book?

At one time, I worked to identify and train seals for special operations. We were trying to figure out how to select recruits who would succeed. We picked from people who were successful seals. They all had the right skills. But when we put them through our process, only about 50% were attriting. What was causing them to fail? It was hard to explain to both the recruits and our superior officers. So, I was tasked to better articulate the process. We learned that the success of a seal in our training had more to do with their attributes than with their skills.

Difference between an attribute and a skill:

Skills are learned. You can teach them. They direct behavior for known situations. Here’s how and when to do a certain thing a certain way. Easy to assess, measure, and test. You can tell how well anyone does things. This is why teams get seduced by skills.

Attributes are inherent. They are qualities that you are born with that also inform your behavior. While they can be developed, you can see the start of them in children. Attributes also inform your behavior. They are hidden in the background, and therefore, they are very hard to assess, measure, and test. Skills are important, but attributes can be even more important.

Q: What are some examples of attributes vs skills that you see in your workplace? Which do you think is an indicator of success in your work position? Why?

Why is it important to know your attributes?

Attributes are not value-based. There is no judgment in scoring lower in one attribute. Knowing where you stand allows you to know your strengths. When you know your strengths, you can maximize your impact by capitalizing on that attribute and start super performing.

The value of assessment

Some attributes cannot be personally assessed, like leadership. Other people decide if you are a leader when they decide whether or not they will follow you. Leaders are chosen by others based on the way other people perceive them.

What is the most surprising attribute?

The most surprising attribute is narcissism. Grit is short-term perseverance. Narcissism is the desire to stand out, be recognized, and be adored. Of course, too much narcissism is a bad thing, but we all have that desire! It is innate. Dopamine, Serotonin, and Oxytocin are all released when people pay attention to you. So if you understand that recognition is a powerful tool, you can utilize it to be more successful.

Q: Which of the attributes discussed in the episode was most surprising to you? Have you ever thought of narcissism as a good thing? Why or why not? Describe a leader you know who is narcissistic. How well do they manage that characteristic?

If attributes are innate, can I develop one?

First, you have to be self-motivated and self-directed. Then, you have to go seek out experiences and situations that challenge their natural tendency. For example, if you want to become more accountable, you must get involved in a high-accountability environment. This can be difficult because you will likely fail a lot in the beginning. However, if you stick with it, you can develop that attribute over time.

Q: How does the idea of challenging yourself make you feel? What holds you back from trying new situations?

Application Activities:

  1. Take the assessment quizzes here. As you look at your results, what surprised you? Are there any attributes you thought were lower than you expected?

  2. Look at your attributes and decide which one you want to work on developing. What kinds of situations will you need to seek out to grow in that area? Pick two areas to start with and commit to challenging yourself in those areas this quarter. At the same time, look at your strongest attributes. How can you leverage your strengths to super perform?

  3. Think about the positions on your team. Consider the following attributes: cunning, situational awareness, courage, adaptability, narcissism, perseverance, resilience, compartmentalization, learnability, task-switching, self-efficacy, discipline, open-mindedness, humility, humor, conscientiousness, integrity, decisiveness, authenticity, selflessness, empathy, situational awareness, learnability, and accountability. What attributes do you think would help a person be successful in each position? Assign the attributes you feel are most important to each position. Ideally, do this any time you create a new position or are entering the hiring process. What questions can you ask to determine if a candidate has these attributes?

Connect with Rich





Connect with Jeff:


Instagram: @thechampionforum

Facebook: The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page