Build a team filled with compassion, commitment and character

March 28, 2022

These are three things all small business owners should look for in a new candidate.

Consider Paul Bloom’s definition of compassion: “A feeling of concern for another person’s suffering which is accompanied by the motivation to help.” He goes to say that “Compassion means I give your concern weight, I value it. I care about you, but I don’t necessarily pick up on your feelings … But if I feel compassion for you, I’ll be invigorated. I’ll be happy and I’ll try to make your life better.” 

Only with compassion can we meet people where they are on the journey with enough understanding to connect but also enough energy to move forward together.

Commitment. Look at a candidate’s journey for an indication that they’ve dedicated themselves fully to a cause for more than five years, ideally with one company. But if they’re younger, look for it with volunteer or athletic pursuits. Somewhere, I’ve got to see you know how to dedicate. 

In a world full of distractions, it means you know how to say no to other opportunities in an effort to fully commit. 

In a world of abundance, it means you know how to carefully select where you commit your time.

In Pete Davis’ Harvard Commencement speech, he eloquently argued against the world of infinite browsing. Only by truly committing do we learn “how to turn visions into projects, values into practices, and strangers into neighbours.” 

That’s the kind of commitment I want to bring to our organizations.

When investigating someone’s character, ask them: Do you know your values? Can you articulate them? How closely do they align with what our organization stands for?

Diversity of thought is critical, but a misalignment of values is insurmountable. What is the bridge too far for you? Do you know how to ask the questions that expose those answers?