Years ago, while I was working on a Master’s Degree in education, I took a class on how to run a successful school. I will never forget one of the lectures. Our professor, who had many years of school experience, said that if we had a faculty composed of quality teachers, we would have a good school year. He also reminded us that one or two “bad apples” could spoil the whole bunch. (Since most of us have experienced both great school teachers and not-so-great ones, I am sure that you understand this concept.)
Anyway, he went on to explain to us that he had found a successful secret in hiring good school teachers. We were informed that it was not necessary to write down what he was about to tell us because we would never forget it. He was right! He then said, “Here is the secret to having a successful school: Hire race horses, not donkeys.” He explained that a race horse teacher was one that would “take off” and get a lot accomplished. They were self motivated to teach, work hard and accomplish much! On the other hand, a “donkey” teacher was one that would need constant prodding. It would be necessary to stay after them to get work done, cooperate with other teachers, and work with parents and students. According to him, it would be a miserable experience. He concluded his lecture by reminding us that it was much easier to slow down a race horse than it was to get a donkey to “pick up the pace”!
I was a young school principal at the time, so the information was timely. Over the next few years, I hired many faculty members and I always looked for the “race horse” quality in them. Every personality style can exhibit this trait. It may be manifested in a variety of ways, but it is always the same outcome, namely, they get the job done! I can honestly say that we had a fantastic school and it was largely due to the philosophy of hiring race horses, not donkeys.
One of the reasons hiring good people is so important, is that you spend so much time with them. Think about it for a minute. You spend over forty hours a week interacting with the people you work with on a daily basis. That is a lot of time! I doubt very seriously if anyone spends forty hours of actual interaction time with their husband, wife or children in a single week.
You really have not met the “real person” until you work with them daily. Then you will find out what they are really like in every area of life. Try spending forty hours a week working with people, eating with them, succeeding with them, facing problems with them, and dealing with their personal and family issues. That can be a heavy burden to carry. On the other hand, it can also be a blessing when you see the value that people bring to your own personal and professional life.
Hiring good people can make or break a company. I have been greatly blessed in my personal life and business life. I have been surrounded by great race horses. They have made me much more successful because of their winning attitude.
Surround yourself with race horses. Of all the truths I know in my life, there is none more important than this one. If you have the opportunity to hire people, I can assure you that this will be the secret to your success. It has been working for me for over forty years and I am confident that it will work for you, too.
Tip: Hire race horses, not donkeys!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm