‘Development can help great people be even better – but if you have a pound to spend, spend 70p getting the right person in the door.’

Last week we were looking at having great performance reviews as part of an evolving process of continuous feedback and development.

I was saying that there may be times when you need to part company with someone who despite your best efforts, isn’t improving, and that the sooner you realise they’re not the right fit and have an honest conversation with them, the better for both of you.

I’m sure we all know people who’ve had a career change who said;

Blimey, wish I’d done this years ago’.

The truth is though, that while effective performance management is easier if you’re giving informal feedback throughout the year, it’s much, much easier if you’ve recruited the right person for you and your business in the first place.

So what do I mean by the right person for you?

I mean the person whose values match your own; who has all of the personal attributes that will see them easily fit into the way you and your team work; their work ethic, their energy, their positive view of life – that sort of thing. Their CV will only tell you what they have experience of, not how they did it, or whether they were any good at it.

Of course, if you’re going to hire to your values, then you have to be really clear about what they are, and that brings me back to two of the most important questions for any business owner to be able to answer:

1. Where are you going?


2. What do you stand for?

If you picked up a pen and paper now to jot down your values, what would you write? Integrity? A passion for Customer service? Continuous learning? Consistency? Having fun…?

And how do those values show up in your business? How do you demonstrate through your every day actions that these are your values? How obvious are they to your team… and what about to your customers?

Once you’re really clear about what you stand for…your values, then you can use them to recruit the right people – the people who stand for the same things.

So, if your core value is integrity and passion for Customers, you won’t want to hire a salesperson who focuses on getting a sale at all costs. If you’re all about making business fun, then you’re not going to take on someone who struggles to find their personality every morning. You get my drift.

A great way to get the right people to interview is to put together a job description that shares the following three pieces of information:

  • The purpose of the business. Why you exist, who you serve, and your long-term vision.
  • The purpose of the job. How the role fits into the business, what value it adds to the whole, what success looks like in the role.
  • A pen portrait of the person who is the perfect fit, which gives any potential candidates, a clear picture of the type of person you’re looking for.

I don’t know much about Paul Russell, but he was right on the mark when he said,
Development can help great people be even better – but if I had a dollar to spend, I’d spend 70 cents getting the right person in the door.’

Do one thing: Review your hiring system, and make sure that your job descriptions are set up to hire the ‘right’ people for you and your business, first time.