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  • Peter Bouloukos

Hiring the Best

Updated: Oct 12, 2022

Many jobs are filled with the wrong people because the leaders who hire or promote them are comfortable with them. It is natural for executives to develop a sense of loyalty to those they have worked with over time. It is a serious problem when the loyalty is based on the wrong factors.

For example, the leader may be comfortable with a person because they think alike. The leader may also like this person because he has developed the "skill" of insulating the boss from conflict or in many cases the honest truth. Many successful people miss amazing opportunities because they live in a bubble! This same leader is likely to favor people who are part of the same social network, built up over years in this persons organization or even personal life. If you are not around people who can and are willing to challenge you to be better or think differently, you are probably immersed in a kiss-up culture...

Doug Floyd said it best when he stated that "you don't get harmony when everybody sings the same note." Diversity of talent and thought adds flavor to life and opens the way for teamwork, synergy, and growth.

Denis Waitley in his book Priorities states "leaders should not be afraid of people who have better ideas, more energy, or who might even be smarter than the boss is." Personally I hire people who possess many talents, energies and skills I do not have! I want people to challenge me to become better and grow!

David Ogilvy, founder of the advertising firm "Ogilvy and Mather" made this point:

"If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. When we hire people who are bigger than we are, Ogilvy and Mather will become a company of giants."

"First-rate men hire first-rate men; second-rate men hire third-rate men."-Leo Rosten

So, when confronted with codependent cultures, or the above mentioned "psychological comfort factors," what do you do?

Well, some leaders drain energy from people while others create it. Given the many things businesses can not control, you would think companies would pay careful attention to the one thing they can influence-the quality of workplace, and the quality of their people, especially those in the leadership pool. An organization's human beings are its most reliable resource for generating excellent results year after year. Their judgments, experiences, and capabilities make the difference between success and failure.

For the leaders reading this, often those in charge do not pay enough attention to people because they are too busy thinking about how to make companies bigger (conceptualizing), how to secure the profits they already are pocketing (protect what they know), or how to compare or deal with the competition (codependency).

What these leaders are really doing is overlooking the simple fact that the Quality Of People is the best competitive difference and strongest building block any organization will ever have. In accounting people or labor are considered to be "liabilities," but the truth is they are your biggest "asset."

Building a trusting organization requires the leadership be "trustworthy." Maintaining high morale, fueling creative energy and open-communication requires consistency. What kind of things might you be doing or have done that deflated the energy of your people? Have you hired managers who were "yes men" or "yes women" while watching sales and reputation slide? Have you hired more than two general managers in one given year...or more???

"One man cannot do right in one department of life whilst he is occupied in doing wrong in any other department. Life is one indivisible whole." -Mahatma Gandhi.

The leader who wants to obtain the best results from his/her people also has to be a "model" for these goals. Don't spend time preaching one thing, while really you are teaching another by action. This acts as a "drain" on your people.

I have seen owner/operators allow and/or embrace:

1. Drug use both on and off the clock

2. Moods dominating the energy and atmosphere of a restaurant, often as a result of drug and/or alcohol abuse.

3. Cheating on a wife or girlfriend. This might sound personal. What these people are really doing is "modeling" behaviors consistent with lack of integrity, trustworthiness, and respect.

4. Gossiping. What do you think people who gossip do when you are not around?

5. Lying. This as mentioned earlier is often embraced because the people caught in what one might consider are "little white lies" are the same ones who "protect" or "skillfully" keep on-time information from reaching the owners, or chief decision makers.

6. Having workplace staff take care of household chores, babysitting or personal errands.

7. Hiring people based off of looks rather than skill sets, attitude, energy and potential contributions.

The reason I mention one through seven above is because these things are all signs an operation is allowing "smaller minds" to "dwarf" the organization. Protecting what you "know," or what might be "comfortable" is an egocentric way to lose people, business, and even a little or more of your personal integrity.

My father once told me to surround myself with people who are "way smarter" and talented in a different things than myself. What he was telling me was that if not challenged, or inspired by people, most likely you are doing everyone an injustice. When we focus on the quality of people first, the quality of everything and everyone around us no doubt will improve. Yours in Success, Peter D. Bouloukos

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