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You Can’t Teach Someone The Art of the Hustle

Why it’s valuable to make hiring decisions not based solely on traditional skills

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Earlier this year, I began my journey into becoming a CEO of my very own company. Scary right? From never managing any sort of significant team to now running a team of 15 to 18 people and still growing over the course of eight months.  One of the things you learn along the way is people. All types of people, but more specifically the type of people that you hire. Like many in my new shoes, learning how to find the right people that fit the company culture you envision can feel daunting. Ideally you’d like to avoid as many missteps as possible. 

Here is the most important thing I have learned over the past year: You cannot teach someone how to hustle and you definitely cannot help someone learn the art of caring. Skills for most jobs you can teach or help refine the necessary skills to fit your standards, but an innate desire to go above and beyond is not something that can be tutored. There is not a MasterClass out there that will lead an individual to care about your company, your clients and you as an individual 

It’s because of this that I have taken more liberal chances on the types of people I have hired. Sure, it’s important to hire folks with a background in the specific field you are in, but that doesn’t mean lack of experience in a specific skill should stop you from taking a chance on someone who doesn’t fit the typical industry mold. Someone that your gut tells you has the magic sauce needed to build and grow your company because you can tell they would give a s***.

Example. 

I posted an internship opportunity on my Facebook page when I first started in March. A person I have known for years asked to do it even though it was just a paid internship and realizing there is only so much you can do as an intern. He was game anyway.

He had zero PR experience or really any office experience at that. He was a DJ, a chef, a musician, an artist, a promoter but I decided to take a chance on him. It was the best decision I have made for both myself and my company. Within eight months he grew from an intern to my operations manager. Someone with a philosophy degree and a vernacular that I challenge any other professional to level up to. An individual who has an unwavering care for my company and it’s success. Now, I wouldn’t have my right-hand man, or work husband as he calls himself, if I had only believed in traditional corporate culture ideals and didn’t see beyond the resume. 

There is a value for people with other job experiences and who possess different skills that are extremely valuable but are oftentimes underutilized or have yet to be used to their fullest potential. For instance, he was a chef and managed a kitchen. There are few jobs as stressful as doing that and it requires precision and exceptional management skills. That’s why he is so great as a team manager. 

It’s because of this hiring philosophy that I also encourage companies to invest in their teams. It strengthens those with experience and provides a necessary foundation for those who are your unique hires. The goal is to have people practice what they are learning in their downtime and apply it  to their real-life job. Why is it important to buy courses and classes for an employee that is hoping to gain new skills or strengthen areas where they feel they can be stronger? Why? It’s an investment in your company, your team and helps to build retention for your company over the long-term.

I want to challenge you to take a chance on people. When I first started, Geraldo Rivera took a chance on me. A 20-year-old without a college degree, very little radio experience, a rolodex of only 100 people (which at the time felt like a BIG deal), and…he gave me my first break. It’s because of that chance that I have grown into the business owner I am today. Realize you have the ability to not only change people’s lives but will better your company for it. Hire the hustler. 

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