Today I promise to be brief with my blog. I’m simply going to write about some hiring tips attributed to Warren Buffet – the man from Omaha. I have written about this man and some of his entrepreneurial qualities in some of my previous blogs. Some of you could have come across these blogs I’m talking about. If you haven’t, you might have to search my blog site to try and identify those articles. Certainly Warren Buffet is a terrifically successful entrepreneur of international standards, and for this reason learning from him is a good idea.

I also mentioned before that it is vital for an entrepreneur to have people skills. Today’s blog relates to people skills. In my blog entitled Top 7 reasons why an entrepreneur needs people skills I wrote about vital reasons why an entrepreneur cannot ignore the human capital element in the business. My 7 Tips for avoiding entrepreneurs burnout might also be useful as it has some elements about delegation and leading people. You can only ignore these human capital issues at your own cost. Do you want to continue ignoring these? Please proceed if you like. At least you will not have the privilege to complain that no one warned you. Ok?

Warren Buffett once said this; ‘Look for three things in a person – intelligence, energy and integrity. If they don’t have the last one, don’t even bother with the first.’ Now, this is certainly a very powerful tip from someone who has successfully identified prime and high profile business leaders and executives that have been at the helm of his investments. Warren’s overall success is a manifestation of successful hiring and good investment decisions, among other factors. You might argue with this, but let me know your points and we discuss.

So, let’s take a quick look at the above attributes the man from Omaha talks about.

  • Intelligence. By intelligence we mean brain power, the mind, mental capacity, understanding and comprehension, insight etc. The ability to provide solutions, create and add value to the enterprise is based on intelligence. It’s not just IQ. Traditionally science has used the concept of Intelligence Quotient (IQ) to measure intelligence. I guess you might be aware of the practice of medical personnel in giving a new-born baby some IQ ranking based on certain parameters at birth. I’m not going to out-rightly criticize that approach, because I have not conducted research and tested multiple hypotheses to refute that. Do you understand me? However, I know there are some researchers and scholars who now think that Emotional Intelligence (EI) ranks higher than IQ. Possibly! Now, this thing called intelligence does not mean you have to hire a rocket scientist, nuclear scientists, mathematical genius or a professor with 10 PhDs to run your enterprise. Don’t get too serious. Ok? I’m not saying you should search for a near-psychotic intellectual with serious aberrations to hire for your business. Sometimes the tipping point gets closer. You need to get me right, and I know Warren did not mean that. It simply means you should hire someone with ability to learn, understand and make sensible judgments and decisions in business. This is the crux of the matter. If you hire dumb and opaque people in your enterprise, that is your business! Ok? You can choose to define intelligence your own way, and even write a book about the meaning of intelligence, but I guess you have got what Warren is talking about.
  • Energy. By energy we mean being entrepreneurial (creative) and proactive. I mean having initiative and making things happen. It’s being active and dynamic – not sitting around and letting nature and circumstances take their own course. We are talking about people who are self-driven. We are not talking about the uppercase letter E or the joule/kilowatt hours that scientists talk about. We are not referring to kinetic, chemical, radiant, elastic or whatsoever scientific word you can dream of to talk about or explain energy. You don’t need weightlifters to lead your business (but some may qualify). Candidly, if we allowed the core scientists to jump into the fray here they might give some people irreparable mental damage by terminologies and various theories about energy. That is not our business – though we need energy to run our enterprises anyway. We keep it simple; supply for us the energy we need to run our businesses, without all the grammar and we simply pay for that energy. Nothing else. Maybe be clean and sustainable energy is what we look at next. Period. So, back to the importance of energy in hiring staffs. Do you understand that your enterprise can have real trouble if you are loaded with people without energy? If you the entrepreneur need to push people around then there are clear signs that the hiring has not been good. Phrases such as self-motivated, self-supervised, action-oriented, results-driven etc. that human resources specialists have coined all relate to this ‘energy’ we are referring to. If you look around the very successful company executives, corporate stars, and seniors that drive enterprise growth and development today, you will certainly not fail to see a lot of energy around them. These are people who sleep and dream about mighty things for the enterprises they work for (even if they don’t own them or have shares in them). They wake up each morning and hit the road running to achieve targets. They jump on flights at odd hours of the night proceeding to connect business. Their weekends and holidays are not very well defined. The energy creates value for the business, which makes shareholders happy, hence fat executive pays. Why do people then complain? I hope we are communicating here.  
  • Integrity. This is the pivotal point Warren Buffet spoke about. In fact, he said that if you get a person without this, don’t even bother with the above two aspects of intelligence and energy. This is a serious warning Mr. Entrepreneur, and I think you need to take heed here. You will have nobody to blame. Ok? Don’t you think so? By integrity, we are talking about reputation, honesty, authenticity (not ‘plastic’ and fake), sincerity, truthfulness, honorable and trustworthy, upright etc. Warren actually adds an interesting element to this issue of integrity, that you rather have someone without integrity being dumb and stupid. I think I like that. The reason is this; someone with intelligence and energy but without integrity can be dangerous to your business. The kind that acts well on the surface but is slowly and cunningly eating away the business like a worm is worse. This is also akin to someone who is honestly unintelligent. I mean brutally ignorant. I believe that all intelligent entrepreneurs agree with me on this. Isn’t it true? Integrity is a choice people make. In my career I have come across people who are very swift to use the word integrity, in fact, the word is always on their lips. My analysis though indicates that people of this nature usually rank very low as far as integrity is concerned. I’m referring to the English word ‘Integrity’, that you find in major English dictionaries. May be some other languages have ‘integrity’ with some other meanings. Mr. Entrepreneur, never make that word be a ready shield in your mouth when your heart and actions are the exact opposite. Beware! Time runs out and you will be exposed. So, when hiring, please look for integrity. People with integrity are good value for your enterprise.

By the way, this word integrity has just made me remember that I promised in the first sentence above to be brief. I was about to get carried away as the issues were becoming more interesting, but I need to have integrity and keep my word. I think you have got my message.

So, till then, have a successful business week,

The Wise Entrepreneur

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