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An obvious good reason to work in your company is financial, but there are other reasons, such as they like the area that your company is located in, the position is a position that they have always dreamed of having, or they are passionate about the product that you are launching. The more solid reasons that the person wants to join your company the better.

I have a staff member that has recently been putting in some seriously long hours for our new venture. However, we pay a competitive salary, and he has a family to support. But I think it’s not only financial. He is excited by the new venture, and he is excited by his increasingly important role in the company. Although the stress gets high sometimes, he has a lot of good reasons to continue to work hard and stay with the company.

Look for someone that has a reason to join your company, a reason to stay in your company, and a reason to work hard in your company.  Someone that has children is an excellent start, because someone with children has chosen to take an enormous responsibility, and they will at least think twice before being irresponsible in your company.  I always ask myself “when things get difficult, is this person going to quit”, because things will get difficult.

 

Another crucial aspect of hiring, promoting and firing staff is to set very clear and measurable standards for what you expect out of managers.  This may seem obvious to someone that has an MBA or has had years of management experience, but it’s something I had to learn the hard way.  In the past, I made too many decisions based upon my feeling.

 

For sure a large part of business is based on intuition and feelings.  A significant part of hiring should be based on intuition and feelings, and so should choosing an office location, or deciding whether or not to enter a new venture.  However, once an employee passes their probation period (usually between 1 to 3 months), it becomes increasingly unfair to fire someone based upon a “feeling”.

 

You shouldn’t tell a manager, I “feel” that you are not doing a good job, or I “feel” that you need to improve.  For starters, 90% of the time, people are going to argue against your “feeling”.  Very few people are going to admit that they are doing a bad job, even if they are doing a terrible job.  Furthermore, “feelings” can of course be wrong, and it’s not fair to fire someone or even deny them a promotion, based upon a “feeling”.  It’s just so much easier to say, the expectation was sales were supposed to increase by 30% this year.  We both agreed that you could do this, and so far this quarter sales are only up 5%.  Nobody can argue against that.  The facts are the facts.

 

Of course there are exceptions to every rule.  Someone could be doing terrible on their quarterly goals, but you “feel” that they have potential and instead choose to work with them instead of fire them.  On the other hand someone could be doing an amazing job on their quarterly goals, but their poisonously bad attitude forces you to get rid of them.  Still 90% of the time, hard data is the best way to go.

 

Another important factor in hiring good people is to define exactly what you want the person in that position to accomplish.  Then find someone that has succeeded in exactly what you have defined, or has succeeded in a very similar role.