There is one decision to make that is the most important for all executives.

It was Chick-fil-A’s annual Operators Seminar.

Fred arrived for his requested private meeting with the CEO, Truett Cathy and me.

Fred was a very dissatisfied Operator (franchisee). He had operated his restaurant for seven months and was struggling; sales and his income were not meeting his expectations. He was on the verge of giving up.

When Truett asked him for his evaluation of the problem, he responded with a long list of negatives. His mall was not fully leased. There were not enough shoppers in his mall. The mall owner was not advertising enough, and the stores in the mall did not appeal to the local shoppers. He went on and on.

Truett stopped him when Fred said, “It is a terrible labor market; I can’t get any good employees.” Truett said, “Tell me about your employees.”

Fred said, “That’s probably my worst problem. I can’t get good employees. My turnover rate is out of sight. Before I can get them trained, they leave. Because they are so bad, I am glad to see them go. I wish they would all leave.”

Truett asked, “Who selected those employees?” Then, he just sat there looking at Fred for a long time.

The very long silence was broken by Truett with this advice,

“Select the right people, and you will eliminate most of your problems.”

You have seen it; I have seen it; everyone has seen it; the employees can make or break a business.

Fred accepted Truett’s advice. He went back to his restaurant and invested his time and energy in making good people decisions. As a result, his sales soared and so did his income.

Peter Drucker offers similar advice.

 “The most important decisions that executives make are people decisions.”

As you advance your career your responsibilities will grow and expand. You will be involved in people decisions. Remember that your most important decisions will be people decisions.

I summarize people decisions like this,

The most important decisions are people decisions …

                        who does what, and you start with who.

You must select the best person first. Then assign the best person for the task. That is … who … does … what.

I am a realist. You can’t make a “silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”

You have to hire people to fit the job while remembering, God does not manufacture people to fit job descriptions. There are no perfect fits. You have to select the best available.

The four most important components in selecting people are:

  1. Character
  2. Personality
  3. Knowledge
  4. Skills

You can impart knowledge and teach skills, but you cannot change character or personality.

Do I need to say more?

Select the right people, and you will eliminate most of your problems.—Truett Cathy

That’s what worked for me.

Jimmy Collins

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