Most important success factor: Hire and keep the right people

People are one of the most critical resources for a growing firm. The right people.  In days of low unemployment rates, finding and nurturing people so they really contribute is an entrepreneur’s challenge. 

“Life is people.  It is not about achievements and awards. It is about who you spend your life with.  Building greatness is not a matter of circumstance or chance.  It is a function of conscious choices and disciplines.”   Jim Collins, Author Good To Great

In other words, people are the most important factor influencing your firm’s success.  What to do? 

Hire for Passion

Even when the  potential  hiring pool is small, make sure that prospective hires have passion for your company’s work as well as for life.  Passion is found when values are aligned with capabilities / gifts / talents.  In this intersection, one finds passion.

“It is hard to build a fire with wet wood.  Don’t hire wet wood. Hire passionate people.  Create an environment for them to succeed and get out of their way.”  Al Byers, president, Meyer Natural Angus

Here are interview questions to hire passionate people who are a match for your organization’s values:

• What do you value in a work environment and life? 

• Give an example where you lived true to your values when they were challenged in the workplace?  What was the outcome?

Effective Passionate Pursuers strengthen their “sunflower” traits to maintain passion.  Here are interview questions to explore if a possible hire has these success traits: 

  • S:  What helps you build your Self-confidence?  Give an example where your confidence was strengthened?
  • U:  What you are cUrious about?  What are you doing now to continue to learn, explore, and discover?
  • N:  Share an example where you maintained integrity of effort and did Not quit, even when the going got tough.
  • F:  What makes your heart sign with your  work?  What are you passionate about?  Give an example where you lived out your Fervor in your work?
  • and there are questions for the L O W E R traits.  Contact me to receive the full list of “sunflower” traits.

Keep Them Passionate

Jim Collins in Good to Great recommends getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.  Using this metaphor, consider a company that hires the right people — those perceived to have productive Passionate Pursuer traits — then spends considerable time and resources training these works.  Studies show that within a year more than 25 percent of employees are no longer engaged. 

People who are living their passionate purpose are intrinsically motivated.  They love what they do.  They stay and continue to make a difference.  As Don Van Landingham, retired chairman and CEO of Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp., said, “Ball Aerospace combines meaningful work with passionate people.  A lot of people would work if you didn’t pay them.”

To create a work environment for employees to succeed, a company and its managers need to ensure staff get:

• SENSE OF COMPETENCY.  When you meet high standards and feel proficient, you are more motivated.  When you produce high-quality work, you feel good about your own performance.  You want to do more.  (Managers, what feedback do you give your people about their competency?)

• SENSE OF PROGRESS.  The more advancement you perceive toward the destination, the more motivation you have for continuing the journey.  Significant forward movement spurs continued effort.  (Managers, how can you help your people make progress?  What adjustments are needed?)

During my consulting and speaking with organizations, we explore how managers can use these and other factors to find and retain the right people. 

Summary

Passion produces results — extraordinary financial results.  And it is fun.  Take steps now to hire passionate people and to keep them passionate. 

Theresa M. Szczurek, Ph.D., is a serial technology entrepreneur, board member, Certified Management Consultant (CMC), and author of Pursuit of Passionate Purpose.  Reach her at tms@RadishSystems.com.

People are one of the most critical resources for a growing firm. The right people.  In days of low unemployment rates, finding and nurturing people so they really contribute is an entrepreneur’s challenge. 

“Life is people.  It is not about achievements and awards. It is about who you spend your life with.  Building greatness is not a matter of circumstance or chance.  It is a function of conscious choices and disciplines.”   Jim Collins, Author Good To Great

In other words, people are the most important factor influencing your firm’s success.  What to do? 

Hire for Passion

Even when the  potential  hiring pool is small, make sure that prospective hires have passion for your company’s work as well as for life.  Passion is found when values are aligned with capabilities / gifts / talents.  In this intersection, one finds passion.

“It is hard to build a fire with wet wood.  Don’t hire wet wood. Hire passionate people.  Create an environment for them to succeed and get out of their way.”  Al Byers, president, Meyer Natural Angus

Here are interview questions to hire passionate people who are a match for your organization’s values:

• What do you value in a work environment and life? 

• Give an example where you lived true to your values when they were challenged in the workplace?  What was…