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The Things We Learn From Others

One of the greatest things about running a company with employees is that I have such opportunities to learn. I believe I’ve always been successful in leadership roles, going back to my days in the Navy, principally because I’m always interested in learning. I learn things all the time. Sometimes it’s a principle, sometimes a rule, and sometimes just an operational fact; but it all ties in.

I just said to someone in an email:

This is why sensory perception and reason are primary, which is to say, they supersede and overrule faith. Otherwise, you would obviously be dead.

Since sensory perception and reason overrule faith anyway, I have absolutely no need of it. Every exercise of it is a detriment to happiness and success in my life. I loath the human propensity to exercise faith, which I firmly believe is rooted in nothing more than abject laziness. It is one of our greatest vices as human beings. It’s anti human-life. Straight from the devil, if you ask me.

Let me ask you this: if you have faith, what need do you have of learning anything from anyone? How can it possibly matter? What it is tied to; grounded in? How can it be verified as truth, when belief is the standard and not evidence and reality? Faith and truth, in fact, are oxymoronic in nature. It’s when your adherence is not to the truth that you are in most need of faith.

Almost a year and a half ago, I hired a sales manager that was grossly overqualified. Due to some relevant circumstances, I hired him anyway, and I’ve learned a lot from him, particularly about how to hire good people. I’ve always been aware of the management credo of "finding good people." What I’ve learned is that there’s finding good people, and then there’s finding good people. It’s just like anything else. It’s hard, excruciating work. There’s almost nothing I loathe more than sifting through stacks of hyped resumes full of BS. But I’ll tell you what: there is nothing more profound in an organization, particularly a small one, than the difference between a really great employee and an adequate, OK employee.

Let me give you an example of a great employee. Today, I had the lead sales person (hired by the new sales manager) uncharacteristically come into my office (she’s always working), and I thought she was going to burst into tears with gratitude. You see, some months back, she fell some dozens of feet from a cliff into a shallow pool of water while hiking in Hawaii. Very lucky she wasn’t killed. Fairly sever injuries. I believe she was at home for more than a month. Turns out that in spite of the severe back and neck pain, she began making sales calls from home as soon as she could. Racked up a telephone bill in excess of $1000. She also paid to extend her health insurance from her previous employer instead of going on ours at her 90-day point.

Now, mind you, these expenses were months ago by now, and she never said anything. But it eventually got out, and then I found out. When I did, I ordered that she be immediately reimbursed for not only the phone expenses, but her insurance premiums as well, since she’d delayed going on our health coverage due to the extent of the injuries.

Contrast that with a person who milks the injury for everything they can, makes sure we get invoices for every possible reimbursement as soon as possible–with copies in triplicate to the union rep and local labor department. Contrast that with the job I’m most likely to get when that person’s at work.

Believe me. There is very little in the hiring process to which you can be subjected that isn’t worth going that extra mile for a really great employee. Never, ever, go it on faith. I certainly never will again.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

1 Comment

  1. Kyle Bennett on December 21, 2005 at 16:54

    I probably would have asked for the phone bill reimbursement, and I wonder if she didn't because being new she was afraid to. But still, the fact that she kept working when she didn't have to speaks volumes. She's a keeper.

    I assume that she's on commission? It's amazing what tying someone's pay to what they actually do, instead of to how long they take to do it, will bring out in a person. I prefer to work that way when I can, because it brings out my best. Of course, it has to be in you in the first place to bring it out…

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