How Can You Assemble Your Dream Team?

One of the issues businesspeople face every day is human resources – hiring and firing. How do you find the right people, retain them, and keep them inspired? Naturally the ideal would be to have a team of employees who are engaged, motivated, and working together toward a common goal. The reality, of course, can be a little more complicated.

There are two resources that help shape my thinking on this topic. The first is a book that was given to me by Linda Bishop of Thought Transformation, entitled How to Think like Leonard da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day, by Michael J. Gelb.

Gelb uses da Vinci’s works and methods as a foundation to introduce seven principles that are the building blocks of creative genius. Whenever I’m interviewing a candidate and any of the seven traits from Gelb’s book surfaces, I sit up and take notice, but the one that captures my attention most readily is curiosity.

Curious minds typically make great employees. They always want to learn, they want to understand the process, they are motivated to improve processes, and usually they are optimistic, glass-half-full types. They tend to be detail-oriented and eager to get things right.

If you’re interviewing a candidate and they already seem enthusiastic not only about being employed, but also about your company and how they can be useful to the team, that’s a great sign. In turn, it’s immensely helpful if you can tap into your own sense of curiosity to find out what your employees need to succeed and thrive.

The second resource is from the Harvard Business Review. It’s an interview with Claudio Fernández-Aráoz about his book It’s Not the How or the What but the Who. The main takeaway is that hiring based on experience is not necessarily as important as hiring on potential.

To use Stafford as an example, given today’s tight job market and considering our relatively niche needs, we can’t always expect to find experienced press and bindery operators. In a sense that doesn’t matter, though, because those are skills that can be taught. What we’re more interested in is finding people with the right mindset – those who have an innate desire to learn, those who follow their curiosity as described above, and those who enjoy taking on a challenge and making it their own.

If someone shows that they have the potential to excel and flourish, the rest is simply down to training them well and guiding them in the right direction.

Keep these ideas in mind when you’re seeking out and vetting candidates, and remain open to the possibility that the candidate who looks most impressive on paper may not be the automatic right choice. You never know who might surprise you with their ability to think outside the box and bring something new and innovative to the table – those are the employees that you’ll truly cherish in the long run.

What’s in a Name?

In preparation to attend a business development peer group meeting last week in Winston Salem, I was reviewing the names of the print service provider companies who would have owners present.
The nine companies are diverse talents, as evidenced by the adjectives in the names of the organizations: communications, direct marketing, branding, innovative, solutions, marketing solutions, group, and think to ink. Wow! Our company, Stafford Printing, was the only one to retain printing in its name.
 
Why haven’t we morphed into something new and sexy? Because at the end of the day, we put some form of ink on some form of paper. And while we do much more than that, it’s our core, and I’ve always believed that your company name should reflect your primary competency.
 
Now I know I’ll get pushback, especially when I share this blog post with my fellow owners who sat through the day and a half discussion. But I’m going to persist. Stafford Printing wants to be the company you think of when you want or need to communicate with your customers . . . via print, but we’re also able to support you when the best means may be digital.
 
In closing . . . the printing industry is being downsized – not in its employment, but in the number of well-run organizations – and Stafford Printing intends to be the company you can look to for guidance and leadership in growing your company. We exist only to help your economic well-being!