In some unguarded and honest chatter about office space, contracts and costs, I was reminded of a renewables business I had in one of the locations being mentioned that I shared with the members (it wasn’t a glorious success that’s for sure). Without missing a heartbeat one of the Recruitment CEO’s cheekily pitches me “got any tech roles”!

It warmed my cockles, and as I said to the team it prompted this article!!

… the individuals never afraid to ask direct questions, the engaging and stand out sales-people who leverage their personality to make friends internally and externally. The fun people to be around who could skip through gatekeepers and objections with a quip and/or compelling reason mirroring like a street-wise chameleon.

“My People”
There was a breed of mentally agile, commercially super sharp (so sharp in fact they slept in the knife draw) winners who, as you might realise, I loved being around, hiring and building world-class businesses with, people like this (aka “My People”) that RBL’s are not attracting anymore it seems.

At entry level we gave them a name, we determined we didn’t have to hire Grads, we wanted “PHD’s” = those who were/are Poor, Hungry & Driven – the candidates with the X-Factor we really wanted to mentor!!!

Spot the Difference
Here are some of the competencies to look out for and I urge you with every fibre in my body, to hire a team riddled with people who are and behave like this, because it’s the catalyst that will send your business into orbit.

You want people who can paint pictures with words and make a pitch come alive, they make negotiating fun, and people will want to talk to them. They are also really creative and can keep you interested for longer – a great test is if they can tell great jokes btw.

Those whom YOU want to be more like
If you see traits in people, you admire and enjoy you are half-way there because everyone else will as well including staff, clients and candidates. Brilliantly dressed, great orators, really smart, funny, charming etc – If you catch people saying “I see myself in……” that is a great living example of this in action

Resilient as f¥€£
You want to know that as you go into battle, everyone around you is strong and you won’t need to carry them. You want fighters who will take punches, get knocked down but will always get back up. Having a competitive, resilient and motivated team will support itself, and they will spur each other on. Strong people accept their failures without excusing themselves or blaming others. This is very easy to spot, and it starts top-down (as the CEO WE failed and never THEY failed) A strong person says when they don’t know something and doesn’t pretend!!

Commercially Smart
Intelligence is what you get from an education; being smart is what life and experience teaches you. I say take smart people who won’t ever let an opportunity pass them by. Smart people can take any subject and make it sound simple and won’t try to confuse you to make them seem more clever. Clients love smart people but hate being proven wrong. The chancers who do well can get a deal or a free gift in every shop; they will walk away from deals if they don’t get a win and have zero fear asking a variation of the same question multiple times knowing that one of them will hit the required yes button.

Confidence is key
There is no such thing as a shy cheeky chap/chapess; you really do want people with uber inner belief and a sense of arrogance like an F1 driver. The confident ones will push back and challenge you to be the best you can be. They will take on bigger risks, opportunities and targets and help raise standards and the de facto bar. – don’t you ever shy away from taking a confident one on; your limiting beliefs belong in a box in your attic, not at work.

Get out of the way of those in a hurry 
Too many businesses have career speed cameras embedded into the structure. Sometimes you need to just rip up the rules and in effect just get out of the way. By having this mindset you can take on more impatient and money-hungry people. How can this do anything but help everything? As long as the business is a true meritocracy and you are “consistently consistent” those more mature, more focused and single-minded people, many might instantly discount, could find a spiritual home! They need to be good people with good beliefs but if you catch a shooting star like this all bets and budgets are off.

The well balanced “those people with chips on both shoulders”
I love, love, love people who have a point to prove to someone! This attitude gives them a fire in their belly that no manager can ever match. Having the drive to really graft not just hit a number, the fear of failure which is my main driver, the passion, bravery and chutzpah to make the hard calls when others are too scared – this comes from a place deep inside that no book, podcast or blog like this will match. People will respect you even more, and you can get huge buy-in and loyalty if you get on board with individuals motivation and personal journeys – don’t miss this amazing opportunity to positively trigger your people – the cheeky ones.

The fastest never avoid a race
Anyone who has played sport at a high level but failed to turn it into a career is a home run!!!! Staffing in every guise is a set of daily competitions and rather than avoid people who didn’t make it to the big leagues think about these people differently. They tick so many boxes around resilience, banter, a drive to win and train as such etc etc. There are 10’s of similarities between sport and selling, so look for (forgive me), “failed” sports people because they make the very best of the best! You need to go faster with these guys because they will compare your ambition with theirs – to ask them to ride YOUR shirt-tails the destination needs to be properly impressive.

Emotionally intelligent not a shoulder to cry on 
Being emotionally intelligent is generally considered a dark art to most of us psychopaths (the most common tendencies for successful Business Leaders) however when we stop to breathe the best see how their business does behave according to Newtonian Laws! (Like this…?!) If you p*ss people off (the action), they react in a predictable way (the reaction). But cast your mind back. No one learned how to build a big team or grow a fast-growth company without understanding how to nurture people and win hearts and minds. So look for people who can respond appropriately to you at all times! Can they change your mood and defuse situations saying the right things without capitulating. This is a golden skill – seldom a self-centred aggressive sales winner can be arsed to do this, and they don’t need to all the time, but that will limit their overall opportunity so be mindful.

“What’s the time Olly?” “I’ll tell you later”
This is a true story from SThree PLC, 2 team members grafting so hard, one asked the other what the time was without looking up, the other replied with the time without looking up!!’ This is what focused, intense and single-minded effort manifests itself as. Working the hours that YOU need to do to make the most of your opportunity, earn what you need or want to is a linear thing. You want people so driven on bettering themselves not earning the same in half the time – if you are investing in new tech to make people go faster, achieve more and not putting up targets you are part of the problem – dear Steve if you could earn £200k how hard would you work and document that conversation.

This is what makes my dream team, “My People” and a business on steroids!!!

Cheeky is to be cherished.

And if you don’t agree, it’s your loss ?