Choose to hire people who live according to values that you respect rather than focusing on specific skills. Someone who is living to a higher order – loyal, loving, committed, of integrity, as just a few examples – exudes a feeling that you know when you encounter it, and that is a person who will make the right choice when under duress.
For example, if a customer has a problem at closing time, the person without values could cut that person off and handle the situation abruptly (which means you have to fix it later IF you get the chance); however, a person with values will likely choose to hang in with that customer to resolve the situation to its most reasonable outcome. And that’s the difference that you will experience from your hiring decision.
That being said, whenever there is a question about integrity, dig into a given task and institute a process to handle it so you don’t have to rely on that individual’s values to run your business. It can also be helpful to make sure your guiding principles are visible and known to each employee to support their ability to consistently make good decisions aligned with your values.
Key Point: Think twice before hiring friends. While your friends might be talented, they also know you as a friend. In a stress situation, they could default to getting personal rather sticking to business. They might also expect you to cut them slack. And, in a worst case scenario, it becomes that much more difficult to let them go if that’s needed.
So, choosing who to do what in the fulfillment of your work in the early stages of your business will not be difficult because everything is going to need someone to do something. Once you are functional enough to have employees, your guiding principle is that you have to do less. Try to manage what is executed with people who are lower cost resources than you are; that means that you are one of the higher cost resources for your company. Your time is an asset that may be irreplaceable. Your influence and tenacity to bring the business to life and sell product to people who want to buy it, to bring solutions to a market who you’ve determined needs and desires it, to show its capabilities, will take you far in the business. As a company, not so far…
Your goal is to reproduce your enthusiasm to the people you hire so that they live and breathe it along with you on a daily and operational basis. If, for any reason, your employees either can’t or won’t catch the enthusiasm, have a conversation – find out what’s happening. This could be an indicator of something in their personal life that needs attention. When the people around you have happy, healthy, balanced, whole lives, they bring that to work with them. If they are having challenges, maybe they need the invitation and support to handle something. But, lastly, if they really cannot work up the enthusiasm for what your business is about, it could be that they really aren’t a fit for your business. In that case, let them go and move on. The good ones will thank you and the bad ones will curse you on their way out the door.
“Hiring people is an art, not a science, and resumes can’t tell you whether someone will fit into a company’s culture. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, you need to cut your losses and move on.”
~ Howard Schultz, Founder of Starbucks