If you ever meet a “Mike” – hire him!

Linda LaitalaBusiness, ManagementLeave a Comment

It was late in the afternoon and my staff and I were trying to hold a much-needed status meeting in the front office. A man I’d never seen before (Mike) walked in and asked if he could fill out an application. The bookkeeper gave him an application on a clipboard; put him in the next office and we resumed our meeting.   

The phone rang; we interrupted our meeting, handled the issue and resumed our meeting. It rang again; once again we handled the issue and resumed our meeting. The third time the phone rang Mike poked his head out of the office and asked, “Would you like me to answer the phone and take messages? It wouldn’t be any problem and then you could finish your meeting.”

Wow. The question blew us away; a stranger who saw a need and offered to do us a favor.

What Mike taught us (yes, we did hire him) was that you can teach people how to do a job but you can’t teach them enthusiasm. You can delegate authority but not self-directedness. You can teach them your rules and regulations but not optimism.

What kind of people are you hiring and what type of environment do you create to bring out the behaviors you need most? Enthusiasm, optimism and motivation will be driven away by those who try to manage and control them.

But they are exactly the traits that will lead a business forward when sought and nurtured.


“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do.
Attitude determines how well you do it.”

– Lou Holtz

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