Success Strategies - January/February - 2019

Who Would You Like To Work With?

The most reliable source of good new employee referrals is recommendations from existing employees… that is, if they’re committed to helping the business succeed. When we’re sending someone in for an interview just to help them out or do a favor for a buddy, then the shop’s success isn’t our foremost consideration. But it must be, because that’s who we’ll be working with.

What traits do you want in the people you’ll be working with? Here are some suggestions based on the more than 3,100 organizations I’ve worked with during the past 40 years.

Most of all we want people who we’ll look forward to seeing each day. Not the funniest, nicest, coolest or even those who really admire us, but those who are going to do their jobs really well and also help us do our jobs even better.

How do you know who will make a good contribution?

Millions are spent annually on assessments and interviews to determine where talent lives and who can help build success. With that level of investment, it’s really important that we measure the right things.

Many companies measure technical experience, while others measure mostly aptitude. Some measure credentials, certificates, and educational background.

While useful, these are only contributors to success. The underlying traits that make success more likely are:

  1. Proactive Work Ethic and Results Orientation
  2. Emotional Resilience
  3. Communication Skills
  4. Listening
  5. Integrity
  6. Humility and Gratitude
  7. Efficiency
  8. Activity and Results Tracking
  1. It’s the person we are hiring, not the resume. What we need is someone who’ll proactively work to make us more successful. That means that it has to be as important to them as it is to us. Higher pay or big commissions won’t make that happen. Nor will an advanced degree necessarily predict future achievement. In fact, many of the highly successful people we’ve known acquired their advanced certificates only after becoming successful professionals.

    Those we hire must already eagerly want to succeed and be willing to work hard to make it so. Then we can guide them to best practices and help them refine their skills and knowledge.

  2. They must be mature enough to be able to bounce back from disappointments and failures, as well as keeping successes in perspective. In other words, “getting over it” must be a part of their makeup. Observe situations they faced that would get someone down and see how they rebounded from them. If they carry grudges or blame others, if they can’t forgive readily and fully, then they aren’t resilient enough to thrive on your team.
  3. Communication isn’t just talking. It’s also empathizing, negotiating, conversing with strangers, expressing yourself clearly, collaborative problem solving, and explaining patiently. Look for people who can help you understand complex or confusing information.
  4. Communication’s big brother is listening. To listen, you must actually want to hear. You must learn what to be curious about and explore ways to draw it out of people who aren’t like you. Ability to probe well and knowing when to shut up and when to speak up are essential. Have candidates interview you about your company, technology, or systems and watch how well they truly listen.
  5. The highest compliment you can give someone is that they’re trustworthy. That means you understand who they are, feel confident in what they’ll do when you aren’t supervising them, and believe that they’ll tell you the truth, even if it’s bad news. Integrity is the trait behind this. Check to make sure your candidate has the courage and integrity to do the right thing and to make things right.

    In the 1997 movie, As Good As It Gets, Jack Nicholson’s character said to Hellen Hunt, “You make me want to be a better man.” She replied, “That may be the best compliment of my entire life” (youtu.be/A75AgrH5eqc).

  6. Humility and Gratitude are paired here because they come from the same place. Arrogant people might seem confident and strong, but their operating assumption is that they’re in charge and others aren’t. Humble people respect others and appreciate the courtesies, gifts, and assistance that comes. That makes them much more pleasant to be with.

    The habit of observing and complimenting the good qualities or actions of others is a quick way to be liked, appreciated, and valued as a team resource. Our job is to make our customers glad that they know us. So first, we have to be glad that we have the opportunity to serve them.

  7. Efficiency is doing the right things right. It’s looking for better ways, more accurate information, fewer steps, or better ones. As long as someone is willing to work, we know they’ll advance. But when they also continually seek improvements to their workflow and look for ways to save time and effort while still getting the results, then they’ll improve constantly. Someone who can use their tools well is valuable, but someone who is also exploring new and better tools is much more valuable.
  8. Winners keep score. In any professional game, you’ll find that the winners, the real pros, always know the score, even without looking at the scoreboard. They keep the numbers in their heads and track their successes. Baseball players can tell you their batting average against left-handed pitchers, in the early innings, on a rainy day, while playing out of town. It’s amazing the statistics that some of these people keep!

We, as transmission pros, should do likewise. Track your results and their actual value. Know how many steps it takes for you to complete each task and look for better ways. What you track tells others what you care about.
When we hire people based on the personal and professional qualities they bring, then we’ll start finding more success with each of them. Recommend the person who makes you want to be even better.


Jim Cathcart, CSP, CPAE is one of the world’s most award-winning professional speakers and authors. He helps people succeed by cultivating the traits and the mindset that makes work a joy. Contact Jim through Cathcart Institute, Inc. at info@cathcart.com.