What do Eagle Scouts and former college athletes have in common?

Both groups “make really good salespeople.”

That’s the contention of Ken Krogue, an entrepreneur who wrote this interesting article over at Forbes.com last week.

When looking for the best salesmen, you can toss out the research questionnaires, behavioral analytics, surveys, training manuals, business books, and more, Krogue says.

In 1994, Krogue worked as a hiring manager for Franklin Quest, which later merged with Stephen Covey’s organization to become FranklinCovey. As someone responsible for hiring at one of the fastest-growing companies in America, he was compelled to analyze “what factors, at least in the men on the team, made up the leaders in sales.”

Two things stood out among the high-performing men: “A strong background of personal athletic achievement … and being an Eagle Scout.”

As an aside, I should point out, as Krogue did in his post, that all of the women on his team in 1994 were in the top half of the performers. That’s why he was interested in studying the men to see what set the better ones apart.

Nearly 20 years later, Krogue still does the hiring—but at a different company, now. And even with all the additional research at his disposal, “those rules I learned back in my Franklin days two decades ago still hold true.” So he’s still hiring all the former college athletes and Eagle Scouts he can.

Why?  Krogue says former athletes “work hard. They practice. They discipline themselves to continually do better. … They don’t mind being measured on results.”

And Eagle Scouts?

Eagle Scouts have to persevere to finish. They have a wide range of skill sets. They learn to do hard things. They are disciplined. They aren’t afraid of performance. They learn to lead in real world scenarios. They sacrifice their time to serve. They are also more mentally tough.

“That’s why smart sales executives hire Eagle Scouts,” Krogue concludes. “In 2013 as much as ever.”

Read the full article here.

What do you think?

What makes Eagle Scouts better prepared for a career than boys who were never in Scouts or didn’t earn Eagle? Leave a comment below.

6 thoughts on “What do Eagle Scouts and former college athletes have in common?

  1. Having been both a D-1 and professional Athlete, and (almost) Eagle, and now a sales guy, I can tell you that of the two, I would pick the Eagle over the D-1 athlete. For most of the athletes, their talent carried them a long ways, and, they are pretty used to things just “coming to them” and being chased FOR their talent. Eagles have to chase things a little more, because, quite frankly, being an Eagle isn’t as rare as being a talented athlete, nor is it as “worshipped” as athletic celebrity in today’s society. Nobody worhips a salesman. ,

  2. Hiring Eagle Scouts is a smart move for many positions, not only sales. They know how to set goals, work hard, and get the job done! Just look at the high percentage of Scouts/Eagles at the various US military academies.

  3. This is a bit off the track, but continue to be in the forefront of the future of Scouting. As soon as one knows my connection with Scouting, the subject of allowing gays into the organization keeps poppin up. One friend’s son, has already dropped out after 2 years in Cubs. “I do not want my son exposed to this”.

    My feeling is: to give in to these fools for the money is undoubtedly a Faustian deal that will be made by careless men with no understanding of history. We have seen the horrific results of appeasement. It is a path chosen by feebleminded men who are morally incapable of confronting evil.

    Where will it stop, our belief in God, our Pledge of Allegiance and our reverence for the Stars and Stripes? I can just see our Scouts in dresses…

    BSA must stand fast; it is one of the last bastions of decency and morality left.


  4. All it helped me do is get PTSD like any other combat area vet. (Yes, it did help me get appointed to the US Naval Academy.) I’d rather have a sales job.

  5. My son’s an Eagle Scout and was an NCAA Athlete at Harvard. There’s an interesting parallel unrelated to Scouting. He works as an analyst at a hedge fund, where just about all the analysts are former Ivy League Athletes.

    Why? They’re simultaneously smart, competitive, used to long hours, and know time management, all necessary skills in job requiring insight and 80 hour work weeks.

  6. Not to take anything away from competition, teamwork and athletics — these are all important parts of any boy’s upbringing and valuable lessons indeed. But by definition, sports is a zero sum game — I only win if you lose. Again, important in competitive sales (I want to win the deal over my competitor). But relationships are not win lose, they are win win. A good sales person knows how to get the deal by making both sides win. Scouting teaches win-win, relationship skills, leadership, planning and organization. Both scouting and athletics are important in selling. If I had to pick between the two, I’d hire the Eagle Scout over the athlete, all else equal.

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