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The Key to Hiring Right

What's the key to finding the right team? Hire people with a passion for your mission.

Entrepreneurs often ask me, "How do I find the right people?" Often my reply is, "First, get rid of the wrong people."

One of your toughest and most important jobs is putting the right team of people together. A friend of mine faced this challenge a year ago--his business had grown quickly but was stagnating. He had brought in a new CEO and CFO, yet sales stayed down and the staff was lethargic. When he asked me what I thought was wrong, I replied, "You hired the wrong people. They're smart and come with excellent business pedigrees, but they're used to the corporate world, not the world of entrepreneurs. More important, they're here for the paycheck, not for your mission. I recommend you let them go."

"I can't do that," my friend said. "I paid a fortune to the headhunting firm to hire and relocate them. And I would have to buy out their contracts. Any other ideas?"

"Sure," I replied. "If you can't fire them and make changes, maybe you're the wrong person in this company."

Years ago, my rich dad told me, "Hire people who are mission-driven--people who share your vision. If you don't, your business will struggle, or may never even get off the ground." He also said, "Big business can afford to hire managers and employees. Entrepreneurs need to hire missionaries."

One of the reasons Steve Jobs is the entrepreneur of the era is because he has missionaries inside his company as well as outside--Apple Computer's customers are missionaries, too. Jobs is successful because he is true to his personal mission and demands the same from his staff. Jobs' mission is at the core of Apple Computer.

I told my friend he was the wrong person simply because he and his staff only paid lip service to the company mission. I reminded him: "Mission comes from the heart, not just the mouth."

The word courage is derived from the French words le coeur, meaning the heart. It is unfortunate that my friend is brilliant in mind, eloquent of tongue, yet weak at heart. Today, the same CEO and CFO are still there. Sales, energy and morale continue to decline. The company is rotting at the core.

When I asked my rich dad for further clarification on hiring people with a passion for your mission, he simply laughed and said, "If you own a butcher shop, don't hire vegetarians."

Robert Kiyosaki, author of the Rich Dad series of books, is an investor, entrepreneur and educator whose perspectives have changed the way people think about money and investing.

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This article was originally published in the May 2006 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Common Cause.

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