It turns out that’s not exactly the case.
What You Could Do is Better Than What You Have Done
According to Heidi Grant Harvorson at the Harvard Business Review, when we are deciding who to hire, promote, or do business with, it turns out that we don’t like the Big Thing nearly as much as we like the Next Big Thing. We have a bias — one that operates below our conscious awareness — leading us to prefer the potential for greatness over someone who has already achieved it.
In a series of studies conducted by Stanford’s Zakary Tormala and Jayson Jia, and Harvard Business School’s Michael Norton, it is clear that human beings demonstrate an unconscious preference for potential over actual success.
In an experiment related to the workplace, hiring managers evaluated two equally impressive candidates who varied on one factor: one had two years of relevant experience who scored highly on a test of leadership achievement, and the other had no relevant experience but scored highly on a test of leadership potential. Interestingly, the evaluators believed the candidate with leadership potential would be more successful at the new company than the candidate with a proven record of leadership ability. The researchers documented this preference in laboratory and field experiments, using targets ranging from athletes to comedians to graduate school applicants and measures ranging from salary allocations to online ad clicks to admission decisions.
For more, check out the full post on Intuit's Fast Track blog.