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February 1998

Hiring And Keeping “The Right People” …So Vital, Yet So Difficult!!

BY NADJI TEHRANI

Please read this editorial only if you believe that your staff is your GREATEST ASSET! Most companies wrongly spend 98 percent of their time talking (yes, talking) about customer service, customer care and customer retention and practically never talking about employee service, employee care or employee retention!

This misguided philosophy leads to excessive employee turnover and eventually will result in “customer turnover,” which means substantially higher costs for training new staff, not to mention loss of revenue! Once a corporation learns that without a competent staff armed with a flexible, positive, can-do attitude, there will be:
  • No customer service,
  • No customer care,
  • No customer retention, and
  • No progress, then the company is prepared to focus 100 percent on that elusive, highly complex (if not impossible) task of hiring “the right people.”

What Are The Characteristics Of The “Right People”?
The following list describes “the right people” as those people who genuinely subscribe to the these guidelines:

  • HAVE A FLEXIBLE, POSITIVE, CAN-DO ATTITUDE,
  • GENUINELY TRY NOT TO MAKE MISTAKES,
  • DON’T MAKE EXCUSES FOR MISTAKES,
  • DON’T MISS DEADLINES,
  • DO A GREAT JOB EVERY TIME,
  • REMEMBER EVERY DETAIL,
  • TAKE PRIDE IN WHAT THEY DO,
  • DON’T SAY, “IT’S NOT MY JOB,”
  • OFFER UNSURPASSED CUSTOMER SERVICE,
  • SAY “LET ME DO IT FOR YOU,”
  • ARE PART OF THE SOLUTION, NOT THE PROBLEM,
  • ARE GREAT TEAM WORKERS,
  • ARE ON THE JOB EVERY DAY ON TIME!
  • SET A GREAT EXAMPLE,
  • DO NOT PLAY POLITICS,
  • ARE NOT HIGH-MAINTENANCE PEOPLE.

Who Are “The Wrong People”?
After giving considerable thought to this subject and after hiring so many “wrong people” in my career, I have come to the conclusion that more than anything else, the difference between “the right people” and “the wrong people” can be summarized in one and only one word; and that word is: ATTITUDE! We have heard those miraculous words, which describe attitude so eloquently: YOUR ATTITUDE DETERMINES YOUR ALTITUDE!… and how true that is!

We hire our staff based on their knowledge and experience and we fire them because of their lousy attitudes. While attending Sorbonne (the University of Paris), a professor of mine once said, “People with bad attitudes, like copycats, have NO raison d’�tre…translated: “People with bad attitudes,” like copy cats, have no reason to exist! And…how true that is!

Just How Do You Avoid Those Worthless People With Bad Attitudes?
Today’s job seekers are sophisticated. Many resumes are inflated and many candidates are well schooled in giving the right answers to your questions! However, to discourage “the wrong people,” i.e., people with bad attitudes, otherwise known as WIs (worthless individuals), I have prepared a list of statements and items designed to scare off WIs. We intend to use this as a qualification test for ALL new candidates before the interview process. (See box below).

Above All, Look For Multifaceted People!
Successful companies are those that hire smart, flexible, multifaceted people. As your company grows, your requirements will change. Flexible, multifaceted people who possess a positive, can-do attitude will be able to adapt to the changes. On the other hand, negative, inflexible people will lead your company to extinction! That is why they are justifiably called WIs.

The Road To Success
The following statements represent a few of the most precious comments I have read about successful companies and people. They reinforce practically everything I have tried to explain in this editorial.

Success
“The success of every organization depends on how well the entire team works together!”

  • “Treat people like you want to be treated, that’s the key to success!”
  • “Your success is the direct result of your attention to detail!”
  • “Learn from the mistakes of others — you can never live long enough to make them all yourself!”
  • “Success comes from listening. I’ve never learned anything by talking.” Lou Holtz, head football coach at Notre Dame — 1988 College National Championship Winner.

Management Lessons Learned From Jimmy Johnson
Jimmy Johnson is the head football coach of the Miami Dolphins and one of the most successful coaches in football. “Everyone I deal with is put on a scale,” Johnson said. “The better performer, the harder he works, the more he meets the guidelines, the higher he is on the scale.

“If they fall short in some of those areas, the lower they are on the scale. And they have very little margin for error near the bottom. I like guys that work hard and play good.”

But everyone in the organization has to think about team goals. Anyone who distracts from those team goals is out of line. And everyone has to understand that.

Something For Nothing
People with poor attitudes are likely to stand in front of the fireplace and say, “Give me heat…then I’ll add wood!” Obviously, such people will never get anywhere! Successful people don’t look to get something for nothing and they don’t make money…THEY EARN IT!

Keeping “The Right People”
If you are blessed enough to have a great, hard-working team with a flexible, positive, can-do attitude, then your number-one priority should be to cherish them, treat them like gold, and give them plenty of challenge, great pay, and promote them from within. Above all, let them know their hard work, achievements and dedication are greatly and genuinely appreciated. Let’s not forget that they are indeed your greatest assets. If they are treated as such, then they will treat your customers and the company as if they are their greatest assets!

After all, loyalty, respect, appreciation and the resulting success are two way streets.

May I Suggest?
If you share my views, you may wish to purchase reprints of this editorial and ask your new job applicants to read it and then discuss it during the interview. You will be surprised what may come out of it! For reprint information, call Renee Bradison, Reprint Services at 612-582-3806.


CTI™ EXPO SPRING '98 Grows With Vigor!

Here are some outstanding features that make it a MUST-ATTEND Trade Show for ALL CALL CENTER EXECUTIVES!

Microsoft, Cisco Systems And MCI To Deliver Keynote Speeches At Inaugural CTI™ EXPO

Wednesday, May 20, 1998 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Mark Lee, Product Manager, Microsoft, will explore the future of telephony and how CTI will change business dynamics to create growth opportunities for suppliers and resellers;

Wednesday, May 20, 1998 10:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Peter Alexander, Cisco Systems’ Executive Director, Multiservice and Voice Access Marketing Unit, will discuss the role of CTI convergence in the global marketplace and the significant impact it will have on business growth and strategy development;

Thursday, May 21, 1998 10:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
William R. Price, VP and General Manager, MCI’s Call Center Services, will focus on how organizations can create and manage world-class call centers and predict industry trends.

CTI™ EXPO

  • Over 90 Conference Tracks;
  • Learning Centers;
  • Networking Opportunities with several thousand industry leaders.
  • The largest exhibition ever sponsored by Technology Marketing Corporation. All industry leaders will be represented!
  • Internet telephony products that can help organizations dramatically cut telco costs;
  • Unified messaging products that consolidate management of voice mail, fax, and E-mail via a single interface;
  • And call center innovations that increase agent productivity and reduce operating costs;
  • The only convention endorsed by the leading industry publications, i.e., Telemarketing� & Call Center Solutions™, CTI™ and INTERNET TELEPHONY™ magazines.
  • For more information, see the CTI™ EXPO Brochure between pages 80 & 81 in this issue.


Please join me at CTI™ EXPO Spring 1998 in Baltimore, Maryland May 19-22, 1998.


DON'T TAKE A JOB AT TECHNOLOGY MARKETING CORPORATION IF:

You have ever stated any of the following…or any of the following actually bothers you or describes your mindset or behavior!
  • You are a highmaintenance person.
  • You are a political animal. Corporate politics defined: Politics is a game played by incompetents!
  • If your ego is out of control! (We don’t run this company based on ego!)
  • If you are a clockwatcher.
  • If you are a chronic complainer.
  • If you are always negative (a full glass seems empty to you).
  • If you can’t take criticism.

Or…if you have ever stated:

  • It is not my job.
  • I wasn’t hired to do this.
  • It is not my fault.
  • It is always someone else’s fault.
  • I don’t know (even though it is my job to know).
  • I called him, there was no answer, therefore, the project died.
  • I have never heard of being resourceful!
  • I am doing someone else’s job and I shouldn’t be.

LAST, BUT NOT LEAST: Don’t take a job here if you are NOT prepared to work on 12 cylinders ALL THE TIME! Don’t take a job at Technology Marketing Corporation if you are not a performer!


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