Warren Buffet is a long term thinker and a very practical man. Business advice from the master himself might seem deceptively simple. In a sense it is, but in a sense it is not. Warren likes to hire people who can handle entire projects on their own with minimal intervention. Otherwise, his business cannot grow as he would be busy micromanaging people. I understand his philosophy well as I spend all my time micromanaging people or doing tasks myself. From time to time I find people who will do some of my tasks, but never all of them, so I am always busy catching up on work.
The problem is that most people have limited work skills and are not that loyal. I find that not one person I’ve ever met will just bow down to me and do whatever task I give them no matter what I pay them. I’m not sure it is possible to find someone who will be reliable to me in the long run, but I’ll keep hoping.
Warren has been in business so long, he can probably tell early in the interview if the person seems like they will be reliable in the long run. Over the years he developed an intuition or gut feeling about people. For the rest of us, finding the right people is a lot harder.
Most people cannot function on their own initiative. In most organizations there is a mean guy who is the manager who makes sure the others keep working. If you hire people directly without an intermediary, you need to make sure they keep working. You might have to go through hundreds of people to find one who you can truly rely on.
Since I have very poor intuition, I prefer to see how people do on test jobs. If someone does well and asks for more, that indicates that they want to work. However, it doesn’t indicate how helpful they’ll be when they get busy. You really need to see how people behave during their first four months, and first year. If they do well for twelve consecutive months, it might be time for a promotion.
Finding people who are motivated might cost a lot more than what you are paying now. If you hire people who need to be micromanaged, then micromanage them or they might not function at all. Sometimes the only way to motivate people is to pay them a lot more than they would get paid elsewhere. It is a shame that people can’t just love their work and own their work naturally. But, that is the way the world works. Also, certain industries tend to attract reliable people. Doctors, Attorneys, Accountants and Insurance people tend to be reliable while the people I work with are not. All I can say is good luck!