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As you climb the ladder of any organization, in time, it is most likely that you will be responsible for interviewing, selecting, and hiring people. We all know that we can’t do everything alone; and, therefore, surrounding yourself with the best people available will be critical to you getting ahead.

In fact, the quality of the team you build around you will become one of your most important responsibilities and will have a significant impact on the results you deliver. It will determine whether you continue to climb the ladder of success to even loftier heights, or hit a premature career dead end.

You may or may not already be making hiring decisions, but even if you are not quite there yet, it is critical that you begin early on to recognize the initial qualities – the bare essentials – that separate the Eagles from the Crows.

I call these qualities SIDE +1 +1:

S – stands for Smart
I – stands for Integrity
D – stands for Drive
E – stands for Enthusiasm
+ 1 – stands for Image
+ 1 – stands for People Skills/Service Orientation

S – Smart:

Any decent football coach will tell you that he wants to have players with speed. I don’t coach football, but I do coach people from many walks of life; and, I can tell you that, if I am going to promote anyone, in any type of organization, at any level of responsibility, I want to promote people who are smart. Malcolm Forbes said, “The best buy by way of management is brains – at any price.”

You need to understand that there are two different kinds of smart.

There is book smart – people who are intelligent and capable of searching for and retaining information; and, there is common sense or street smart – people who grasp the ways of the world and how to be successful in it.

Being book smart helps when it comes to developing and training as it pertains to yourself and to those in your charge – both are critical to the growth and success of any individual. Being street smart with a good dose of common sense means that a person knows enough to come in out of the rain. I want people who have been blessed with a good solid helping of both.

I – Integrity:

If you surround yourself with people who aren’t honest, aren’t trustworthy, don’t have integrity, or don’t play by the rules, chances are pretty good that you aren’t going to get promoted; and, if you do happen to get promoted, you may really be wishing you hadn’t.

Think about it, do you really want to deal with someone who lies, cheats, and steals? That sort of behavior undermines everyone and everything. Do you really want someone on your team who you don’t trust? Of course not! And, neither does anyone else.

Enough said!

D – Drive:

Most people will tell you that they know what it takes to be successful in their career, family, health, and finances. But, what most people won’t tell you is that, even though they know what it takes, they really aren’t willing to put forth the necessary steps to make it happen.

Are you willing to take the necessary steps? How about the people around you?

Drive is having the passion that makes people take those steps and leads them to achieve success. Drive is the attribute that gives us a competitive spirit, an orientation for results, and the ability to push through obstacles no matter how tough things get.

People with a high level of drive instilled in them can and, more often than not, will push through nearly any obstacle or challenge, and can almost always find ways to win, even when things look their worst.

I would rather not expend my energy trying to get people to show up to do their jobs every day. If they have drive, I won’t need to.

E – Enthusiasm:

Enthusiasm is that initial feeling of excitement during the first few hours of any new diet, and then later, it’s that voracious reaction you have to a plate of food after hunger has you in its grip – you just dig in! Call it what you will, “Gung-ho,” “Rah-rah,” or “Booyah!”– enthusiasm is excitement.

People with enthusiasm have an unwavering positive mental attitude, a level of excitement that engulfs everything they do and everyone with whom they come in contact. Their energy is infectious. These are the folks that make projects fun and help get the other members of the team pumped up. You can see the enthusiasm in a person’s eyes and body language, and feel it in their aura.

Without enthusiasm, you don’t wake up early and you won’t stay late; and, chances are pretty good that you can forget about coming from behind to win in the fourth quarter.

+1 – Image:

Yes, it does matter.

Good-looking, well-dressed, well-groomed, smiling, self-confident, outgoing and gregarious people have a significant advantage over their not-so-sharp, “I-couldn’t-care-less-how-I-look” counterparts – and these are the people that will give your establishment a significant advantage as well, especially when they are the ones making direct contact with your customers.

A confident handshake, solid eye contact, a consistent and friendly smile, good body language, and the ability and confidence to articulate intelligent thoughts in a respectful manner win me over every time. Sorry, but that’s the way it is. If it offends you, get over it. That is the way of the world.

Now, you can define a great image however you want, but you should not hire people who are not interested in taking care of themselves to the best of their ability. The interview is the very early stages of the courtship, and if people are not willing to try to impress you during the interview, they sure as heck won’t care about impressing you or your customers a few months down the road. When they’re out in the world and serving those who frequent your restaurant or establishment, they’re the face of the business, an extension of you and the company; so, be mindful about what and how your new hire will represent.

Everyone knows this old-school favorite: You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. It’s not a lot to ask that people do all they can to look and act their very best and put their best foot forward. If they can’t do that, I don’t want to waste any more of their time or mine – especially mine!

+1 – People Skills/Service Orientation:

It was said by Mahatma Gandhi: “Consciously or unconsciously, every one of us does render some service or other. If we cultivate the habit of doing this service deliberately, our desire for service will steadily grow stronger, and will make, not only our own happiness but that of the world at large.”

Having great people skills and a friendly service orientation is a frame of mind, a way of being. I want people who are people-oriented, not because it is the right way to do their jobs, but because it is the right way to live their lives. They love serving people, and people love being around them.

Ultimately, when it comes to building any team, it comes down to this – do you want this person on your SIDE, or would you prefer having them on someone else’s?

If you really expect to continue to flourish and expect others to stay interested in your continued growth and continued career opportunities, you may want to build a team with SIDE +1+1.

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