Hire Nice People – Oh, AND Teachable; Oh, AND…
I really liked the quote that I included in a recent blog post from the book Demand by Adrian Slywotzky. It is about the restaurant Pret a Manger:
“We hire happy people, and teach them to make sandwiches.”
I was telling this to a friend of mine. He is a Doctor ( a good one!) and has a very successful practice. He told me about something he did when he was just starting. He loved staying at the Four Seasons (who wouldn’t?!); was impressed with their customer service/experience. So, he went to the Four Seasons, asked to speak to the manager (who was more than willing to meet with him), and asked “What is your secret?” What training do you offer? How do you get these people to work this way?’ The manager said: “There is no secret. We hire nice people.”
That may be it. Hire nice people.
Oh, AND make sure they are Teachable. Because Nice AND Incompetent does not work. Nice + Competent works really well. And to get competent, a person has to be teachable.
Now, nice may seem important just in jobs that interact with actual customers. But, it would be a mistake to reduce it to that part of the work equation. Because nice matters in team building also. People do not like to work on projects, or teams, with people who aren’t nice. Working with not-nice people can be a real morale defeater. So, nice is definitely part of the “team player” job responsibility.
So, here is the formula: hire nice people, make sure they are teachable, thus they become ever more competent. — Oh, and make sure they are able to manage/embrace/not get freaked out over change. Oh, AND…
But, whatever else you do, start with NICE.
By the way, be nice yourself. If you have a voice in the hiring process, remember: people don’t like to work for not-nice people.