Years back when I was a new coach I decided to visit an organization that’s been around since 1924. I’m thinking, wow, I’m going to learn something about branding and culture here. You see without naming the company, they in my eyes are a pioneer in their particular industry.
I visited the local store. I walked in and the manager was sitting at the front desk with his feet up while on the phone and didn’t even acknowledge me. I then proceeded to a special room within the store. I asked the young lady about the room and her qualifications in manning it. She simply replied in an aggravated sort of way, “I just know what I’m doing.” Another okay, as I seem to be missing something here.
I next proceeded to engage the salesperson in the store. I started the conversation about how exciting it must be to represent an 87-year-old company at the time, a pioneer in their industry. I then asked why did you want to represent this organization and what’s it like? He replied, “listen I just needed a job.” Once again, I was stunned by the reply.
As I walked out of the store a bit confused at this point. I was thinking that I gave three individuals an opportunity to enroll me in the brand of the organization. An organization that’s been in existence for almost a century and a pioneer in that industry. Unfortunately, they all failed miserably.
I talked with my coach of how to approach this event. I mean here I am a coach for less than a year and I am about to confront an organization that’s been in existence for longer than I’ve been alive. He told me that it was my responsibility to make the call. I will share that it actually took me three weeks to gain the courage to make the call.
When I finally made the call and was put on the phone with the second in line since the original owner has since passed. I shared about my experience in his store down here in S Florida. When I ask him if I was missing anything or was it just a bad day for everyone there. He gave me an answer that absolutely floored me at the time. He replied, “Michael, I’m sure you’re not going to agree with this answer, however, sometimes when you need to fill a seat, you just fill the seat. Sometimes a warm body is better than no body.”
To say I was absolutely speechless for a minute before I replied. “Are you kidding me? An 87-year-old brand, a pioneer in the industry and sometimes you just have to fill a seat. That’s your hiring process, that’s your culture?” Now it was safe to say the other end of the phone had now gone silent.
I share this story without revealing the name because the old motto is Hire slow, Fire fast. Unfortunately, many do just the opposite. You own an organization. You are the proprietor of your brand. You have a reputation. Don’t ever sacrifice your integrity of reputation to fill a seat. Be clear that we don’t hire or fire people. They either qualify or disqualify to represent our culture and brand.
Have pride, get clear on your culture, have a process for onboarding and let the people willing to represent that culture and brand step forward and qualify. However, don’t ever, ever use the process of we just have to fill a seat.
If anyone feels they need some hiring and onboarding processes and systems, please do not hesitate to reach out.