Quality people = Quality product

April 20, 2010

What’s the old adage: You’re only as good as your people? There is much truth to that time worn belief.  Personnel decisions are often the hardest to make within a company, but also the most important. Who you choose to run and work with your business can contribute directly to your successes or failures. But with your plate already overflowing with responsibilities, how can you also ensure the right people are on your side?

First, you need to start with defining roles. Are you looking for the particular individual to be an operational driver or passenger? Both roles are important in an organization, but asking that simple question up front can eliminate potential internal conflict when a new team member is brought on board, including that associated with expectations.

Second, does this person want to be a part of the team and contribute (a career) or are they looking to go through the motions (a paycheck)? Surprisingly, this is a more difficult question to answer, as resumes and interviews can only reveal so much about one’s work ethic.

Lastly, trust your gut. If the stars align but something doesn’t sit right with you, it’s ok to pass.  Great team members often have a certain look in their eyes or a particular demeanor. They’re driven and want to succeed. They want to win every time they’re set up with a challenge.

Unfortunately, no perfect formula exists for selecting the perfect team member. Experience often evens the odds of getting it right.  Yet, the above steps give some insight for ideal qualities, with the third point sometimes being the most difficult to follow.

Bottom line – know your team and who will fit with them, and whether you need a passenger or a driver to augment that team. Too many drivers and you’re headed off the road, but too many passengers and you’re not going anywhere. Find a good mix, and with the right guidance and support at the top, more often than not, you’ll find yourself on the road best traveled.