Each month SCORE interviews an expert in the field of business. Get exclusive biz tips, resources and expert advice by signing up for SCORE ExpertANSWERS. This month’s featured expert is Dan Pink. Read excerpts from his interview discussing how to really motivate your employees. For the full interview, sign-up for SCORE ExpertANSWERS today.
Dan Pink Bio
Daniel H. Pink is the author of four provocative books about the changing world of work — including the New York Times bestsellers, A Whole New Mind and Drive, which have been translated into 27 languages. His articles on business and technology appear in New York Times, Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, and Wired, where he is a contributing editor. He has also appeared on CNN, CNBC, ABC, NPR, and other networks in the U.S. and abroad.
Before becoming a free agent, Dan worked at the White House, where he served as chief speechwriter to the Vice President. He also worked as an aide to the U.S. Labor Secretary.
Dan received a BA, with honors, from Northwestern University, where he was graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and a JD from Yale Law School.
All small business owners hope to consistently generate enough revenue so their business can continue to expand. Vital to any company’s growth is staffing the best possible team of individuals. Therefore, as an entrepreneur, understanding the Art of Hiring is essential. I have learned that I don’t need an advanced degree in Human Resource Management to assemble a great team. My company has thrived because of three simple yet effective hiring practices.
1. Assembling the “A Squad” – When putting together a senior team, diversity is key.
We’ve all heard that any boss is only as good as her assistant, but compiling the right management team is just as important. Ideally, you will hire individuals that have diverse business experiences and perspectives. When putting together your ideal senior team, always be honest and mindful of your own knowledge and experience gaps.
Hire associates that bring significant expertise and know-how in different facets of the business. It’s no use hiring someone with the same background as you or someone with the same resume of one of your other employees. The diversity of experience and personality will bring different viewpoints to the table and support the growth of your company.
Personally, I have always had a fly-by-the-seat-of–my-pants, gregarious work style. While this works for me, it means I need someone beside me to focus on the numbers and the million tiny details. I hire with this in mind.
2. All Egos Aside – Find people who are willing to give and get feedback.
In a small and nimble company, you need people who can check their egos at the door. You must cultivate a group of people that are willing to give and take criticism/feedback. The old adage holds true – time is money; the time wasted managing egos in a meeting could be time spent generating more business for the company. No one wants to waste time because associates are unwilling to listen or compromise with one another. Of course, in interviews, everyone will claim to be a great listener — so pick up on cues to see if you agree. See if candidates ask insightful questions that indicate how they’ll perform as part of the team.
Most small businesses don’t have HR departments or formal performance management systems – our associates learn skills, expertise and maturity by working and interacting with each other (and giving / receiving honest feedback). Make sure your people can develop and thrive in such an environment, and that they can help their colleagues do the same.
3. The Fit Model – Going with your gut instincts.
At the end of the day, let your gut instincts guide your hiring decisions. You probably already know the types of people with whom you collaborate best. Meyers Briggs and DiSC profiles can provide you personality assessments and classifications, but you are the only one who knows intuitively the types of people you want in your employ.
The key is to make sure all the pieces fit together. What might look great on paper may not work in reality. The best education in the world can’t teach you how to trust your instincts, but you should never ignore them. In the end, if it doesn’t feel right to you, it won’t be right for your company.
These few practices have served me well as an entrepreneur. There are no hard-and-fast rules to the “Art of Hiring,” but adherence to these concepts will surely benefit your business.