Yes, corporate culture, values, and vision are important. But there is one thing that beats them all: Hiring Right.
Hiring is so important because the quality of your company is built upon the great people within it.
Hiring Right means finding people who are intellectually passionate, curious, confident, continually learning, have an entrepreneurial mindset, humble, and willing to do whatever is ethically possible to get the job done.
An obvious prerequisite is that they fit within the culture of the company and get along with others. But let’s take a closer look at the individual traits one by one.
Intellectually Passionate means they care about what they do to an almost fanatical degree based on logical reasoning. Some examples would be someone who believes in functional programming so much she wants to learn every language and feature of functional programming languages and explain to the world how it is better than the current state of the art. Another case would be a security researcher using his personal time to learn how to program and build new types of applications such as blockchain, IOT, etc. to identify security vulnerabilities in these new platforms. Intellectually passionate people want to go deep and wide in their knowledge of a particular area and thus have strong opinions about the technology that they work with.
Learning how something exists is important but asking why is even more important because it leads to connections which may have been overlooked.
Curious people are always asking "why". Why something works the way it does. Why or how it was triggered and completed. Curiosity is the main tool that we use to identify problems and find solutions. Curiosity is what drives us to improve things, processes and people. Without it, we are no better than robots carrying out the same actions every day.
This is important in the negative because when an employee does not have confidence they often hide problems to avoid looking weak. In the end, hiding problems inherently makes you look weak. Confident people can take dings to their pride and still be resilient. Confident people are confident because they have a logical thought process which has helped them to come to a conclusion. As a result, confident people can make better decisions quicker.
Confidence comes from knowing your stuff. Knowing your stuff comes from continually learning.
The world is moving quickly. If you aren’t continually learning, then you are following behind. It is important to find people who are ok with this. Some people complain about certain professions requiring continual learning but as technology permeates every aspect of our lives it will become required of all well-paying professions. Finding people who realize that their lives are a direct result of what they put in to improve themselves is important. These people will see opportunities, learn what they have to capitalize on these opportunities and execute.
These last three things: seeing opportunities, learning how to capitalize, and executing--define the entrepreneurial mindset.
Everyone in the company should view themselves as an entrepreneur for the company. You want people who are forward thinking, and on the lookout for ways that the company can expand into new markets, generate revenue, and develop new products and services. New ideas for improving processes, products, and services should come from every employee in the company.
Humility is important for getting along your peers.
Unfortunately, there are people in the company who will use their position to look down on you. Every employee needs to feel that their work is relevant and important. Humility is especially important in managers because they have the most influence on helping employees feel important and valued. Humility also facilitates an open mind. The opposite is arrogance. It might have worked for Steve Jobs but if everyone is arrogant nothing is accomplished, people leave, and the people who stay are oppressed.
People you hire need to be like water. Some people will look at obstacles and say that things aren’t possible because of the obstacle. Other will be like water and find a way to flow around them. You want people who are driven and will do whatever is ethically required to get the job done.
When you hire these people with these characteristics you only need to give them a goal and they will find a way to execute.