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The Result of Not Hiring Integrity

April 02 2011

After 3 months I placed the call that both of us were hoping or dreading.   “So how is the new hire working out?”  The hesitation was all I needed to hear.  But a painful admission followed.

“Garrett, he’s not working out, it’s not a good situation.  We have him on a plan.”

There are two types of plans in my experience.  The first is a restorative plan, one in which you have real hope in a person’s abilities and talents and your end goal is to preserve the employee.  The second plan is found on the flip side of the coin.  This one is designed to begin the process of separation.  Though his end goal was never revealed to me I feared this plan was of the first kind.  “May I ask what the issue is about?”  I probed cautiously.

“Garrett it has everything to do with integrity.  We’ve had a couple of incidents and all I can think about is the resume.  I should not have looked past that!  It has been a huge distraction, I don’t see it getting any better.”

I didn’t have the heart to say anything, I didn’t need to.  “I’m sorry you’re having to go through all of this, I’ve been there and it’s no fun!”

When I spoke with the VP 2 months later his candidate was gone as was another sales rep that was lacking a different quality.

“Never again Garrett, never again.  I should’ve stuck by my guns.  I let the pressure of filling a spot over-rule my better judgment.”

“If I remember correctly, you were also amazed by his work ethic.”

“Yes you’ve a good memory, he seemed like he knew what it would take to win and I believed he would out work his competition.  I needed someone like him in that territory.”

“I remembered your infatuation with his work ethic because it is a common mistake most managers make.  They fall in love.”

“Fall in love what do you mean?”

“You feel in love with one quality and it over shadowed the other three.  It is like buying a chair with one or two really strong legs, you need one with four strong legs.  You must always hire all four qualities.”

“Garrett I’m a believer.  I’ve just hired the two replacements.  They are solid WHIM hires.  I waited longer than I was comfortable with but I know it will be worth it.  I hired them by the book.”

Of course integrity is the basis for all of our interactions with one another.  When we don’t trust each other we can’t work with each other.  There will forever be a suspicious eye when looking at someone who we feel lacks integrity.  - “We can’t go on together – With suspicious minds – and we can’t build our dreams (teams) – on suspicious minds.” Elvis had it right, for you purists out there please forgive my insertion of “teams” but it certainly fits.

We must not only hire this quality but we must also model it.  A line I heard a manager say to his reps was “I will never, ever lie to you.  I may not be able to share certain information with you but I will never lie to you!”  I think this is a great approach.  Just because you won’t lie doesn’t mean you have to communicate everything you know about a situation.  There is some information that you simply can’t or should share and that is fine.

Next post I’ll share a short conversation the VP and I had about the costs involved with a poor hire.  It’s financial and personal.

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