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People part 3

Which people?

Training and coaching is one thing but it helps a great deal if you are trying to recruit the ‘best’ people in the first place.

It is simple mathematics that this is even more important the smaller the organisation.
If one person is poor within a team of 4 that is a 25% reduction in efficiency but only 1% in a group of 100.
So, for smaller companies, it is vitally important to make sure that you obtain good staff.

Poor staff not only affect their own work but will have a negative affect on the motivation of the rest of the personnel.

Qualifications and experience

What do you want to look for in a person?
Academic qualifications are one thing and experience is another.

Both of these aspects have their problems.

You would expect to receive applications from many individuals that have the necessary qualifications.
Many of these will have the required qualifications to the same high standard.
This would indicate a few basic traits of the individual perhaps intelligence, perhaps a hard worker.
Technical knowledge alone does not necessarily make you a great asset for a company.

If you have experience in a position you clearly have a small advantage.
However, this may come at the price of a higher than expected salary requirement.

If you feel you can train an individual and you have the time (see The Complete Time Management package) to do so you may want to avoid too much experience.

Good people characteristics

Interviewing people well, to find out their personal characteristics, is a hard job and requires experience from yourself and from the personnel department.

Interviewing techniques.

There are many positive characteristics you can look for.

  • Do they have a positive attitude to work and problems in general?
  • Are they trustworthy, do they exhibit good integrity?
  • Do they know the difference between accountability and responsibility?
  • Are they willing to go on with their learning and training?
  • Is the person too serious? Do they have a reasonable sense of humour?
  • Will failure hold them back or will they learn from it and come back stronger?
  • Is flexibility something that comes naturally or is everything carried out in a rigid and overly logical manner?
  • Leadership and any other job requires self discipline, do they have it?
  • Do they know anything about ‘time management’ skills and do they use it? (see The Complete Time Management package)
  • Do they have a likable personality?
  • Leadership potential is a good thing. How is their influencing skills?
  • Have they demonstrated any people development skills?
  • Can they see the bigger helicopter view or are they more narrow in their approach?
  • Can they provide any examples of showing intuition?
  • How do they view themselves, do they have a good self image?
  • Do they show signs of being a team player?
  • Do they appear to be highly self motivated with a high energy level?
  • Have they got a creative approach to problem solving?
  • Are they ambitious with a strong desire to succeed?
  • Are there any personal issues you should know about?
  • Do they have any relevant experience?

Some areas might be intrinsic to the person and not easy if not impossible to teach.

Right person right job

Particular jobs require certain characteristics.

  • Is experienced needed?
  • Would you prefer a leader or a follower?
  • Are the skills needed general or is the position rather specific?
  • Do you need a team player?
  • Is a creative or a more logical thinker suited for the position?
  • Do you need a proactive or a reactive person in the position?

In general, take your time to prepare a list of requirements that you need from the person before any interviews are carried out.
You might want to take up references and have more than one interview with the individual.
On occasion include people you respect in the interview so that you can gauge their opinion.

In this way you will have a better chance of getting the right person for the job.
If the fit is right, that individual should begin the job with increased motivation.



When you employ a person it will have an effect on the rest of that person’s family.
If the individual has a spouse it may be relevant to find out how they feel about the position and the responsibilities involved.

Not every organisation has a big budget for recruitment.
If you are in this bracket you may need to take on young inexperienced people with the intention of training them on the job.

Encourage your staff to do their best and think for themselves.
Simply playing by a set of fixed rules may miss important opportunities.
It all comes back to a lack of fear of failure.
Encourage people to try.

Few people will work to full capacity but many work a lot harder and more efficiently if their motivation is high.

It is not good enough to be just a team member, the individual should really feel part of the team.
Try to create a team identity by using a symbol, slogan or name.
Make people proud to be team members.
For new starters it’s a good idea to speak of past team successes and anything else that the team is proud of.
Don’t forget the vision for the team as well as the larger organisation aspirations.

Define clear team roles to reduce confusion and aid annual appraisals.
Set personal objectives and deadlines.
Make sure you have criteria for the measurement of success.
Judge people on results and not effort.

Don’t wait for the year end to check on progress.
Evaluate at regular intervals to clarify activities and help correct deviations from what is required.

Avoid using the word ‘I’ and concentrate on ‘we’.

If you need to remove someone who is not doing a great job make sure you have the necessary evidence.
You should already have told the person that you have been unhappy with their performance.
A below par performance will help to de-motivate others in the team.
Failure to act can undermine your own credibility as a leader.


People will often feel less motivated when they believe they lack control with reduced responsibilities, lack of resources no budget to control etc. On the other hand, senior managers often feel over burdened with responsibilities and accountability with all of the budgetary control.

One way round this, although very controversial, is to pass the responsibilities down one level together with the budgets.
This approach may not be for the timid but can, at a stroke, solve the concerns of all parties.