It is better to be explicit and wrong than to be vague

One of my favourite quotes from Strunk and White is, “Don’t compound ignorance with inaudibility.” While it is wise to not say anything if you’ve got nothing nice to say, at least in some circumstances, remaining silent just because you don’t know what you’re talking about benefits no one. You need to be open to correction, and if you don’t ask questions or share your views, you’ll never be able to grow.

We need to get over our fear of being wrong. If we don’t, we’ll never learn enough to be right.

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The Value of Great Talent

How important is it to hire the right people? I think we all agree that we want to hire good staff, but defining what makes someone “right” can be difficult. Do they need to already have the technical knowledge or skills your job requires, or do they just need to be teachable? How important is it that they work well in a team environment, and how good does their spelling and grammar need to be? What about their oral communication skills? Is a college degree paramount, and if not, what other factors will you evaluate?

I’ll be writing a number of articles about hiring, interviewing, and personnel selection to tackle all of these questions, but in this blog post I want to step back a bit and lay the foundation. Doing a good job at hiring staff is incredibly important because great staff make a huge difference for your team and work. If you evaluate staff on a 1-5 scale, with acceptable performance being a 3, you might think that someone who is a 5 is about twice as good as the average staff member. In reality, that person may be ten times better, despite you paying them the same amount.

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