Tag Archives: Personality Types

Hiring difficult personality types

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There are many personality types out there. But, dealing with them in the business world is just not easy. If you have a small company, you might not have easy access to the cream of the crop as they prefer to work for Google or other big companies with stellar reputations. So, how do you survive? You need to decide if you want to hire difficult people or not.

But, there are different types of difficult people. You might be able to handle some of them, but not others.

The mediocre type
Some people don’t argue much. They just do their work in a mediocre way. They don’t care if they made a mistake, and if they have to take the day off at a critical time, that is your problem, not theirs. They will be uncooperative about returning phone calls or about doing anything that you are not forcing them to do. In a sense, the mediocre type are sort of like adults with the psychology of American 13 year olds. Personally, I don’t like the mediocre type, because their performance is too pathetic to justify a normal paycheck in my opinion. Also, they dull my enthusiasm for work which is another factor which you should consider. If you work with underachievers, they will lower your standards without saying a word.

The complainer
Every company has one of these. They complain about everything. If you are nice to them on Monday, they will complain that you weren’t nice on Tuesday. If they didn’t get a bonus they complain. If they get a bad customer they complain. If someone does good work, I will tolerate a lot of complaining. But, complaining can bring you down. See if you can master the art of handling a complainer. Try to get them to see the good side of their job. Compare their situation to someone’s that is much worse. The Dalai Lama uses this technique to teach happiness by the way (not that I read Dalai Lama’s literature.)

The egomaniac
Some people are just into themselves. I had a friend who was like this. Some people say that egotists are not good team players, but that is not necessarily the case. Egotists in the long run care about coming out on top themselves, and not about your operation even if they seem to be cooperating. On the other hand, nobody cares about the success of an entrepreneur except the entrepreneur him/herself! Other egotists put everyone else down. It can be a pain to listen to this. But, on the other hand, they might make useful and legitimate statements about faults in others that you overlooked. So, don’t fear the egomaniac. Just try to understand their psychology and learn how to deal with them.

The backstabber
Unfortunately, the backstabbling type don’t usually wear a sign on themselves announcing to the world who they are. Backstabbers are a problem. Some of them only threaten you but don’t actually do anything. Others tell horrible things about you to your clients. Some try to steal a position from someone else who works from you. There are many things a backstabber will try to do including telling you things that will raise your blood pressure on a regular basis. In my personal opinion, backstabbers are not ideal people to work with. Try finding someone who just does their work without all the drama!

The secretive type
Some people are not bad workers, but don’t get back to you, don’t follow through and keep you in the dark. The problem is that if they didn’t actually do critical work on time, you will not know about it. The secretive type needs to know how important their work is in the bigger picture and that following through and communicating are required. Penalize them with small penalties and offer bonuses if you can adapt their behavior. Otherwise, I would not put a secretive person in any position where their bad habits can damage your business’ performance.

The follower
From a boss’ point of view, the follower looks like the perfect employee. However, they have some very deceptive flaws that you might be completely unaware of. Particularly if you are an Indian boss who hates being questioned! The follower just goes along with what you say, doesn’t question you, doesn’t rock the boat, and doesn’t come up with much that is innovative either. The problem with these types is that if they see a huge problem, they might not warn you or try to find problems to solve the problem. If there is a way to get the company far ahead, they will be more interested in just keeping the show moving along than trying to innovate to capitalize on a new opportunity. I have a good friend who is the following type. He maintains order, but nothing around him ever improves in his business or personal life. Sometimes you need an employee who lets you know when something happens that is noteworthy that could be an opportunity or crisis. On a brighter note, the other types of employees on my list will probably not inform you of serious issues either — except for the backstabber since they want to scare you!

In real life it is often not possible to find perfect employees. So, if you decide to work with problem types, find a way to calculate how expensive their flaws are in terms of lost productivity. Without that analytic you could go out of business! Never pay a problem worker more than they are worth. But, on a brighter note, if you find a good employee, perhaps consider paying them handsomely as they are a rare commodity in any of the companies that I have associated with!

5 things you can do to run your tiny business like a huge corporation

Categories: Management | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why is your business small? And why are huge corporations huge? There are many reasons. Huge corporations usually are in businesses where there is a huge market which gives room to be huge. By definition, they have the most efficient ways of getting work done otherwise they wouldn’t be able to compete with the other corporations which also thrive on efficiency and potent marketing. Your business is small. It might be a niche business or a specialty service. There is no shame in having a small business and no shame if you don’t grow — just as long as you don’t shrink. But, in real life, you either grow or you shrink — so grow, and then give up your worst customers if you get tired. So, what can you do like a big corporation?

(1) Analyze
Big companies analyze their routines. They have set routines for all processes and have refined exactly how these processes are taught, done, and measured. To create a routine, you first need to make a list of all of the various ways you could do a various process. Try them all out, and then compare the results. You might find one is more time consuming but gives really good results, while another is time consuming but just wastes your time. As a general rule in business, time is of the essence and it pays to focus on what is critical and put less attention on what is less critical.

(2) Routines
As I mentioned in point 1, it is good to be regimented. You have to have discipline, daily, weekly and monthly habits to get ahead in business. Routines may evolve over time, and that is fine. But, you need to have all aspects of your business boiled down to a routine.

(3) The creative process
The creative process is the one aspect of your business that specifically should not be routine. Yes, you can have processes for creativity. You can have meetings, phone calls, trips to special places (like the beach in my case) where you think better. However, to be creative, it is best to shake up your daily routine and try something different, meet different people, and see how different businesses handle particular tasks. I was very inspired in Japan when I ordered an ice cream at Narita. It took them 20 seconds to process my order and have an ice cream in my hands. Americans would have taken two minutes for the same task. The Japanese are always a source of inspiration for me. Perhaps my processes can become lightening fast like the school girl ninjas I saw at the soft-serve bar in Japan.

(4) Hiring and firing
Large companies don’t just hire someone who seems good. They have multiple interviews, they test learning curves, they test abilities, and they try people out before giving employees critical tasks. Small businesses by definition have sloppy hiring practices — me included. We entrepreneurs lack the resources and skills to compare a new hire to thousands of others. Big companies also promote from within rather than hiring a new person to do a critical task. You cannot trust a stranger as well as a seasoned employee. Sure, the new hire might have better skills, but are they loyal and do you know their personality quirks? Big companies are refined about knowing personality types and getting rid of the ones that don’t fit their company image. Small companies are a disaster in this respect to the point that hiring disasters seems to be their company culture — what a disaster!

(5) Contracts & Legal issues
Big companies are very particular about legal issues. They will invest huge sums of money in Attorneys to make sure they stay out of trouble. Small companies are more concerned with getting work done and growing and less concerned with what can go wrong. An injury or a law suit could ruin you. Also, employee disputes can become a huge problem. Sometimes it is easier if you have contracts to govern employee behavior, injuries, maternity leave, etc. It is better if you have it all thought out ahead of time.

(6) Wait a second, the title says “5 things” you can do, not 6…
Yes, but here are some things you should probably not do as a small company to mimic big companies. The private jet looks fun, and might be a source of inspiration, but don’t get one now. Wait until you are ready and can afford it. In the mean time, have a photo of a private jet in your office and tell everyone it’s yours… in the future. The expensive offices may be too much. Sometimes it is more important to have an office that fits your personality and where your employees feel their best. Big offices downtown might be good to capture that energy of productivity. If that is what you need then pay the sky-high rent — it might be worth it. But, get what is right for you instead of blindly copying the big guys. Being too stiff and wearing suits all the time might be good for the big guys. It might be better for you to do yoga, meditate, and talk long walks by the beach wearing a tank top. It is hard to say what is right for you. Startups have a lot to learn about proper business procedure. But, some of the stuff the big guys do might not be so practical for the rest of us. Find out for yourself.