Recruitment perhaps the heart of possible success

I did what felt was right in this area and with a sixth sense, and possibly again thanks to my own lack of experience, I did not follow a traditional process in an interview. You cannot simply follow a standard format for interview questions and expect to find the right people unless your template is customised to the role and type of person you are looking for – which is possible. I would also say that for some roles a template system is entirely sensible as a way of scoring to ensure each individual receives a fair and even approach. Strong recruitment is the foundation of a good business.

Recruit well – employ the best you can and you will go further, faster and can expect greater returns.
• Trust your team.
• Go with your gut instincts.
• Take calculated risks in recruitment but when you are wrong make swift decisions to remove new people who will not be team players. You may outgrow individuals as your company develops; some will simply not step up – but there are responsible and intelligent ways to manage staff transitions into and out of roles to the benefit of all parties. Honesty favours the brave.
• Keep things open – time and effort and an open communications policy will save you valuable time and money.
• Focus on what you personally do well (which is not always the same as the things you actually like doing) and employ others for the stuff they are good at. You will inevitably be doing too much, be too busy at times. At these points always ask yourself whether someone else could be learning from the challenges you need to let go.

Training and development must not be feared as they are an opportunity to grow individuals who might otherwise leave and go elsewhere. People who have learning opportunities and who feel they have a development path will stay and continue to add greater value. The belief that ‘if my people grow, they might go’ is simply idiotic. Would you rather have mediocre staff without skills? That, frankly, is a no-brainer. I worked my people and openly celebrated those who continually went the extra mile, and in return they stayed, giving the business stability and the long-term, priceless knowledge necessary for growth.
Do not underestimate the value of peer-group learning, either.

Looking back now at the haphazard nature of our international development at Pacific Direct, I cannot reasonably call our approach a strategy. Because of my upbringing I saw the world as a small place, and fortunately I had developed a product range which was suitable for selling on a global platform. It could well have been disastrous, and I do wonder how many companies reach such a tipping point. I have proved that with great people, considerable trust and undoubtedly luck (though luck made through hard work), much can be achieved. My naivety and lack of business training enabled me to buck a system I knew nothing about.

Clear objectives and Key Performance Indicator measurements for staff ensured highest standards of professionalism and service – and don’t forget to reward the behaviour you need people to exhibit.
• Two ‘career development reviews’ for each member of staff a year.

We ensured that management knew the rules and were given enough leeway to develop their own success and celebrate, with their own budget to spend on their teams. If you do not do this you cannot expect your own personal efforts to filter through as the organisation grows. Your management have to be employed – or, better still, promoted internally – with clearly defined expectations for getting a job done. The longer you maintain speed of decision-making and flexibility in meeting a client’s needs, the more powerfully your growth will be maintained. Your own personal leadership behaviour is fundamental to those around you, so be consistent at all times. And be big enough to apologise if your behaviour gives the wrong impression.

Endless surveys show that social value factors are more and more important as people have choices in their job roles. Overwhelmingly people place higher importance on issues like having good management relationships; salary and benefits apparently come much further down a list of priorities. Community opportunities, learning, people preferring to be stimulated and challenged and needing to feel valued at work through having their contributions taken seriously and acted upon are more important.

Lara Morgan is one of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs, and the Founder of Company Shortcuts, a consultancy dedicated to excellence in sales and leadership. Company Shortcuts offer innovative products, services and exciting events that have already inspired hundreds of ambitious business leaders to achieve accelerated growth. For more information visit