Hiring Spirit – Part One

Hiring Spirit – Part One

Today's column is for managers and company owners who may be ignoring one of the best sources of success in Japan - the "diamond in the rough." That is, individuals who are rank beginners in the business but who will try their hearts out to get in and be successful. They may be students, returnees from overseas, people changing careers, or those returning to the workforce after bringing up a family.

Without exception all of these people are undesirable in the conventional sense in their early days. They are inexperienced, possibly dangerous with clients, likely to cost more than their salaries in training and inconvenience costs, and basically get in the way. Many seasoned professionals hate working with such debutants and will actively turn them away during the interview process if they can. "Let someone else train them, and we'll pick them up later on," they will say.

Yet, with all the negatives, bringing in new staff is important, and as CEO I am always challenging my managers to take a risk with their hires.

Firstly, as entrepreneurs and business managers we are supposed to have a vision of what we can be, not just what we are. It is a proven fact that teams and companies possessed with vision can achieve far more than those obsessed with looking just at what needs to be done today. Part of that vision must necessarily include the existence of an outstanding team, not just a capable one. And for that "plus-alpha" you need individuals with a unique depth and commitment - people who will deliver to the customer MORE than what you as manager planned for.

Where do these inspired people come from? Not from jaded "professionals" but from those whose hearts are full of challenge and potential - often those who have tasted the hard side of life and are still close enough to those times to really appreciate the chance they are being given. Think of all the countries that were destroyed by war and natural disaster then sprang back after adversity. Such resilience is part of human nature and we as managers need to be cultivating and harvesting individuals who exhibit the same qualities.

You know the types of people I'm talking about. They radiate energy, cooperativeness, and interest in what is going on around them. They may not yet know how to execute their tasks perfectly, but they willingly take on new challenges and don't turn away others in need.

Actually, one of my clients referred to such people as having the "LINC stamp of approval" meaning that my staff were ready to do whatever the customer required to get the job done - staying late, doing jobs that no one else wants to do, and generally putting themselves out. I proudly share such feedback with my staff when I hear such comments. Clients notice positive inputs to their business, and there is a clear business case for promoting a culture of going the extra mile.

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