Throughout my career, I have been a part of both small companies comprising 5-10 team members as well as larger organizations where I was one of thousands. One of those companies was the JHE Production Group. Here, we grew from seven to 70 at a really quick pace. Early in my tenure at JHE, our president, Jay Howard, asked me to read the book Good to Great. The author, Jim Collins, talked about getting the right people on the bus and then making sure they were sitting in the proper seat. Jay consistently reinforced the importance of that belief and went as far as to create a service award that was shaped like a bus for all of us to keep it top of mind (I was proud to have a couple of those buses on my desk).
Earlier this year, I was tasked to fill our ISM Connect bus with highly qualified and motivated operations team members that would assist us in building a best-in-class media network at a ridiculously fast rate. Before I started interviewing, I needed to slow down and identify what made a perfect teammate.
I started with the easy part: The Trade skills. It is here where I could quickly evaluate if they had the technical know-how to do the job.
It is the soft skills that make the difference between a person who is capable of being on the bus and realizing the right teammate for our bus. In order to make sure I didn’t have to kick someone off, I first had to identify what soft skills were non-negotiable for my team.
It is difficult to create this list and prioritize one skill over another, but the harder part is passing on a qualified candidate because I didn’t believe they would live up to what I stated are non-negotiables. I hope that we are building a sustainable team of like-minded and good people. Thus far, I have been fortunate to add nine teammates since the beginning of the year. These are people that I trust regardless of where they end up sitting—because at the end of the ride, they are all on the right bus.
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