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  • Writer's pictureEdwin and George

An Open Letter to a Listening Leader

Dear Boss,

You've mentioned how your door is always open, how you're always open to feedback and how you're a fan of "innovation". Well, I've jotted down a few ideas:

People first.

  • ‘Development can help great people do even better – but if I had a dollar to spend, I’d spend 70 cents getting the right person in the door.’ (1)

  • Hiring is the most aspect of any business. (2)

  • No dispute.

  • Not vision, mission, strategy, planning – but people.

  • ‘Based on research with CEOs and investors, more than 50% of business success is attributable to talent.

  • Execution is the next most important factor, at just 20%.

  • Things like strategy are pretty trivial. (3)

It’s the people who generate the growth and profits. It’s the people that matter – individuals.

  • People - in an age where virtually all economic values comes from intellectual capital – obviously talent is all there is.

  • We don’t make money out of steel mills and shipbuilding anymore. It’s the design, the innovation, the service, the experience that creates the value. So, it’s not too much of a stretch to say – talent is all there is – period.’ (4)

Think about it:

  • You can’t build an A-Star company with C-Star talent.

  • If your company isn’t winning in your industry, you’ll likely have weaknesses in your hiring. (5)

So, think hard and honest:

  • How do you rate your hiring skills?

  • Are you a hiring professional?

  • Are you an assiduous student of all that goes on in effective hiring?

  • How many courses have you attended exclusively on hiring?

  • We take it you’re right up to date with developments in hiring?

  • And if not, what are you going to do about it? This is your job – the most important aspect of any business – it can’t be left to those who don’t give it 200%.

This is serious stuff….

  • If, as stated above, hiring is the most important aspect of business and business is what you do then ‘hiring excellence’ deserves your undivided attention.

  • Company goal number 1 – hire great people – 100% of jobs – if not, why not

  • Reflect – and translate into action NOW.

Stop getting it wrong

  • ‘One of the painful truths of hiring is this. It’s hard to see people for who they really are. One CEO firing someone by saying: ‘look, I hired your cv. But unfortunately, what I got was you.’ (6)

  • Stop spending time dealing with your hiring mistakes.

Please remember

  • ‘To create great cultures for tomorrow that can deliver startling innovation on a regular basis and distinct fulfilling customer experiences, one needs to emphasis far more than technical skills – more than even superb technical skills - in the hiring process.’ (7)

  • ‘I’ve made several hiring decisions in the past where I’ve valued intellect over heart and I think that was a mistake. It matters if someone is a good person.’ (Elon Musk)

Great words in hiring – 2021

  • Listening

  • Empathy

  • Team Player

  • Culture fit

  • Interested

  • Common Sense

  • Service Orientated

  • Courteous

  • Courageous

  • Authentic

  • Curious

  • Aligned Values

  • Look out for colleagues. (8)

Need more convincing?

  • ‘I think the most important job of them all is hiring.’ (Steve Jobs)

  • ‘We invest in people who are really talented. Just hire really talented people.’ (Mark Zuckerberg)

  • ‘What made Microsoft, Microsoft wasn’t our software – what made Microsoft, Microsoft it was our hiring.’ (Bill Gates)

  • ‘The trick is you hire great people, great actors and actresses – then you get out of their way.’ (Woody Allen)

Anyway, hope this helps...oh also if we could think about getting a coffee machine that would also be awesome - the current instant granules make us all sad.


Andy Employee

EGM – Building Better Companies

  1. Paul Randall, Director of leadership and development, Google

  2. Philip Delves Broughton, the hard work of getting ahead, Wall Street Journal

  3. Philip Delves Broughton, the hard work of getting ahead, Wall Street Journal

  4. Talent, hiring, recruiting and attracting the best employees, Tom Peters, YouTube

  5. Who, Geoff Smart and Randy Street

  6. Who, Geoff Smart and Randy Street

  7. The excellence dividend, Tom Peters

  8. Based on ideas from Excellence now, extreme humanism, Tom Peters

  9. For other quotes in this blog, see the hiring process of Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and others, YouTube.

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