What if you only let PhD's into your organization? It would severely limit your pool of candidates to choose from if you were strictly consumed with hiring individuals who have obtained a doctorate degree.

But what if PhD had a different meaning?

The PhD that matters: Poor, hungry and determined in attitude.

At the "What's Next in Global Sports" conference in Singapore, ONE Championship Founder, Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong said he only will hire PhDs -- poor, hungry and determined in attitude. He explained that in response to a question asking how to manage a company that goes from small and nimble to getting as big as ONE Championship, which rivals Formula 1 in terms of social activity, is growing from being broadcast in 136 countries to almost 200 countries within the next 3 years and just recently received a $1 billion valuation.

I am similar to Sityodtong in that I care much less about what is written on an individual's CV than what the individual stands for. While a traditional PhD may look good on paper, it means little-to-nothing when it comes to a person's work-ethic, attitude and morals. As Sityodtong said at the conference, "if a person is sleepy and slow and super privileged, then that person won't be able to handle the real world."

Look for hunger, but also humility.

Going a step beyond re-tooling what it means to have a PhD, it is also important to look towards adding people in your organization who stay humble. In martial arts, the domain of Sityodtong, who grew up around martial arts before earning a Harvard Business School education, you are taught humility because it is a path to learning.

The best worker is not only someone who may be poor, hungry and determined in attitude, but also someone who is intellectually honest and appreciates the capacity to learn more. For Sityodtong, his challenge is to try to find the very best people in what they do to compliment his strengths, and he admits that while he may be the public face of a company he claims has the capacity to be larger than the NFL, there are 10s of thousands of others who brought the ONE Championship to where it is today.

Seek those who are determined to succeed, with integrity.

Being determined in attitude is worthless without a sense of integrity, which is a key element for Sityodtong's path to success with ONE Championship. This is a big area where he is able to distinguish what he has developed in Asia from the Ultimate Fighting Championship's (UFC) dominance in America. In fact, Sityodtong says that even if UFC world superstar Conor McGregor offered to fight at a ONE Championship event, he would be denied, because he doesn't represent the true martial arts authentically to the world.

"Do the right thing even when no one is watching," Sityodtong  has said. "No one is perfect, but try your best to do the right thing. Don't lie, cheat, or steal. Do your best to live in a way that would make your mom proud."

Published on: May 18, 2018