The Three-Legged Stool

December 17th, 2013 by Rich Christiansen

Rich: Good morning everyone! It’s been a couple of months since I’ve recorded from my office. I couldn’t resist this morning for two reasons. First of all you’ve got to check out my beautiful view. I’ve got this amazing view overlooking the golf course with the ducks and geese flying around during the winter and beautiful mountains. You know, the primary reason we do business is to have incredible lives and to enjoy all the gifts that God gives us. The reality is we oftentimes forget that, so this morning I am so grateful for my view on life.

The second reason is one of the proof-cases of The Zigzag Principle was my super moms. After a year of attempting and swinging and missing they have their first really good hit. Emily, say hi to Colette.

Colette:  Hi!

Rich: Colette is running a company called Golden Zephyr and has had a great little win here. Emily is behind the camera there, say hi Emily.

Emily: Hello!

Rich: Emily and Colette and going to be interviewing today to assemble a new team for a new project and they were asking me what the key things were that they really needed to look for while interviewing and hiring. They have already compiled and composed their list of questions and you know this is an area where I’ve done pretty good through the years. I’ve literally hired and fired thousands of people, but it wasn’t until the last year and a half that I really discovered and put in place what I call The Three-Legged Stool of Hiring. The three legs are this:

Leg Number One: Skill. You have to check for skill. Rather than just talk about skill you should actually run through an exercise. Run through a series and sequence of events that they’d be doing on a daily basis. Leg number one is skill. However, a one-legged stool is pretty wobbly, isn’t it? So most people figure out you also have to have a culture fit and a personality fit. This leads us to the second leg of your stool.

Leg Number Two: Culture. You need to have a little bit of mojo in the relationship. So of course, particularly in the second interview you want to be interviewing for culture. Even with a second leg your stool is still pretty wobbly so this third and key leg is a concept that I wrote about in The Zigzag Principle.

Leg Number Three: The Doorman Principle or the Gatekeeper and that means screening potential hires for your values. The worst, most difficult hires I made in my career were incredibly skilled individuals that sometimes fit with the culture but didn’t align with the long-term values of the company.

When we started using this principle we started developing super-star companies. This little team that I have outside the door here: Stephen, Matt, Eric, and Jared who leads the team now. You’ve got Curtis and of course Emily behind the camera and all these individuals all together make up the most powerful team I’ve ever worked with. You’ve also got Landon running the warehouse and Zach down there with him. Everyone is focused. Everyone is contributing. There are no issues and they are a total delight to work with.

It takes all three levels, not just two. Skill is number one, culture is number two, and most importantly are the values. Go forward, build three-legged stools, not one or two, and hire well.

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