When I got started with keynote speaking about Building Effective Teams for companies, I was in a certification training class that was required by the company I was working for many years ago.
I realized I was the only one in the group training who was actively involved in all activities that were given and understood the instructor teaching. Later that day the teacher stopped me in the hall to ask me a question.
I was shocked when he shared how he noticed that I was the only one in the group that was actively involved, and a very good leader getting them engaged while everyone was not paying attention to the instructor and falling asleep.
He mentioned that I was the only one who passed the certification test with a high score and only missed one question.
As he said this, my mind flashed back to memories of looking around the room noticing many were not paying attention and falling asleep.
I was the only one from my department there with other departments, maybe my boss knew? Prior to the training, our boss told everyone in the company to take the training class, and if we refused, we would not have our job anymore.
The instructor also shared with me that he got offered a promotion with another department and how he cared about who will take his position.
He then asked me to apply for his position as he felt I was the perfect person for it. I was shocked, I had never been a public speaker before.
He told me that he will train me and plus everything he taught in the class was part of the training as well.
I took on the job and loved every part of it, especially the part where I would get refocused, energized, and motivated.
I also devoured self-help, self-improvement books, and all the training sessions.
However, after a year, I had to quit because babysitting, childcare, different school schedule, kids getting sick and many doctor’s appointments became difficult juggling with a full-time career.
I later started my own business and it allowed me to have a flexible schedule for my kids.
I applied all my training and knowledge to my business. I was surprised 13 out of 14 workers told me that I was the best boss they ever had, and I was given boss day cards as well.
I have been asked by many, what my secret was to reducing high turnovers and how I hire the right team members who have the passion, work ethic, and customer focus as my team members have.
Many would share with me how they had hired many team members whom they thought would be great but later learned after a few months they had made a poor choice as their team was not representing their company or their beliefs.
I noticed this challenge is one that many leaders find themselves wrestling with.
Hiring well and hiring correctly can be extremely difficult, especially when your standards are high, and your work ethic is strong.
I have been there as well when there is a mistake, or an error happens, we can change it into a life learning lesson.
I learned from my mistake when I hired a woman who I thought shared our belief and value of our business, somehow, I overlooked during the interview when she would talk over my conversations.
I later learned that her intention was not in our business value but to steal our clients away for her to start her own business. Why is it so hard, why is it so difficult, and why, we as leaders, do we often make poor choices?
The answer is simple: It is because we often hire based on skill and educational level, not on attitude and values.
I realized I did look for the skill and educational level and value, not the attitude. I remembered one time I believed one new hire had the right attitude, however, it was a thought.
I really did not look deeper into part of the attitude, I did not notice, when she was talking over my conversation about the kind of people who I wanted to hire; this should have sent me a signal that she would not be right for our team because she could talk over her team members conversations and irritate the team more.
I do not want that kind of person in our business.
Before our hiring process, we normally would first decide we need someone, then go ask a few people in the office whether they know someone, or ask a friend or two.
We would never clearly explain what exactly we are looking for or the very values and attitude we need in a person we want to hire.
It becomes a lot like blind dating. You would put an ad out online, someone writes whatever they want to on a resume, you spend twenty minutes interviewing them and hire them.
I am picky, I had my hearing dog with me, using her senses, she helped me decide if it was ok to hire that person.
I had one or two of my team members to talk with them, to learn more about them like a testing process, however, most of it was an educated guess.
Why? Because most standard interview questions and testing processes are designed to assess skill level; they do not test for those things that matter most, our values and our attitude.
Thankfully, my hearing dog did help with some whom I have hired, and they did have the right attitudes. (Only when I had her with me.)
When I interview people, I first find out more about them and their experiences then I let them know what I am looking for, the kind of people who will be representing me and my company, it is a lot like finding someone who you will get married to.
It is serious in some ways, how they act in tough situations, how they handle customers if they create a customer experience, their work ethic, response time.
Everything your new hire does is going be a reflection of your company, your team and you.
That is why I felt I have to be sure in any given situation, they will handle it like me or better than me.
How did I do that? I knew that having skills are to be taught and the attitude and values are ingrained, with that I can be the best example for them and to teach them the attitude and values of our company, clients, and team, what we hired them for.
When they share the same values and the same attitude, it is almost like a shared language or having the same thing in common. Attitude and values are inherited within us.
However it can be taught depending on whether the individual is teachable or coachable.
This helps to spark the internal drive to talk with a customer a certain way, go to work even when it is cold and snowy, and enjoy building a team or working alone.
Many times, I have told people that I need a clone of myself. I did not believe it could be possible for someone to become a clone of me, they often told me to train them to be like me.
However, I did find it was possible through the 13 team members who worked with me out of the 14 that I hired. Now I know that yes, it is possible to clone yourself as a leader.
With a little different approach and a different focus, you can find the right people for the team and the right people to take your company to the next level.
How do you hire based on values and attitude?
1. You would need to know and understand your beliefs, values, and the attitude you feel that you want your team member to have.
Relax and sit down, ask yourself the question and spend some time really thinking about what is most important to you; what the non-negotiables in your office are.
For example, a doctor put the value of patients first, this means that if a patient calls at 11:30 a.m. with an emergency, the doctor gives up his/her lunch hour because the patient’s needs come first.
By understanding this has saved us from hiring people whose priority is to work 7.5-hour day or those who insist on getting a lunch hour, it is just a diverse set of values and priorities.
2. Look before you need to hire. You should keep a list of amazing people that you meet, the ideal people you would want to have on your team and in your company.
Have coffee or lunch with them, get to know them more, then when it comes time to hire, you can begin the recruiting process slowly. This gives you more time to see what they are like, how they act, and to see if they would be a good addition to your team.
To hire well, the hiring process needs to be more proactive than reactive.
3. Set up your interview question process ahead of time with the all the questions you want to ask. The questions should be centered around your situational issues.
This will give you the opportunity to ask the right questions and will allow the candidate to share how they would react in a certain situation. Do not waste time talking or interviewing people who do not meet your requirement.
4. Never close a deal without doing a working interview. Insist they attend a networking event or a team meeting, this way you can see how they act and respond.
Do their behavior and attitude match what you are looking for? Set your standards high and watch them in action.
5. Stick to the 90-day rule. It will be like a honeymoon period, learning more about what this person does, how they act, and what they do is the best of the best in the first 90-days.
If their attitude and values do not meet your standards, you can end it now, and go back to your list.
Heide Hargreaves is a business and life communication expert, fitness trainer, speaker and author. She is the founder and publisher of two magazines: International Fitness Fashion Magazine and Influential People Magazine, as well as the founder of Human Communication Institute, a company that has helped train countless people in communication and body language from her best-selling guidebook Statements of Power.