Not everybody is to be trusted.
Don’t believe me? Turn on your TV and find a documentary to watch. My wife, Sue, and I recently watched a couple. First, we watched “The Dropout” on Hulu. It is about Elizabeth Holmes and her company Theranos. Thinking greed was good to watch, we turned to “Wecrashed” on Apple+. It is about Adam and Rebekah Neumann and their days at WeWork.
There is a lot to not like about these three people. Greed, self-centeredness, and pride are just the tip of the iceberg for this trio.
But I did notice they did give us one solid piece of business advice to live by, even if they used it for evil purposes.
When hiring, they looked for unique characteristics they needed people to possess for them to succeed in accomplishing their personal mission.
At Theranos, Holmes looked for people who couldn’t afford to lose their jobs. She needed the people around her to look the other way as she scammed the world out of $700 million. The ultimate undoing of her company came about because of two whistleblowers.
During the hiring of Erika Cheung, we find out she grew up poor and has no family to fall back on. She is even promoted to a position on the front line where she had no choice but to find out the company’s product would never work.
The other whistleblower is hired and deemed safe because his Grandfather, former Secretary of State George Schultz, is a board member. But Holmes miscalculated in the case of Tyler Schultz. He was able to risk his relationship with his world-famous Grandfather. He is also capable of getting his friend, Erika, of risking everything to do the right thing.
Holmes needed a company full of people who would not tell the world what was going on.
At WeWork, Adam Neumann focused on making it seem to the people they were hiring that they were joining a cutting-edge employer who was the next big thing. They sold the idea everybody was going to get rich together. They sold new hires at the lavish parties and the cool people around them. But in the end, low wages with promises of future riches due to stock options and allegations of sexual harassment got Neumann kicked out of his own company. He didn’t end up in jail, but his dream was taken away. (Holmes is awaiting sentencing after being convicted for four counts of fraud).
It seems I am getting off track. I started by telling you these evil characters give us a solid piece of business advice.
They did. They just used it for evil.
Holmes and Neumann sought glory, redemption, and riches for themselves. Regardless of who or what had to sacrifice on the way.
(The Dropout documents the suicide of an employee who continually mentions he can’t leave because he needs the insurance).
At Willmar Electric, we also hire for unique characteristics. We hire people hoping they will match our core values. We want people who treat others the way they want to be treated.
We want thrifty people to believe in the merit shop and want to meet the customer needs.
If you think people should be treated as individuals (merit shop) and should not just be regarded as one of many in the same classification, you’ll fit in with us. If you think we should maximize our resources before moving on, you’ll fit in with us.
At your job interview, we will try to figure out how you fit. We hire you if we think you are lining up with these values. If we are wrong, you won’t like working with us, and you will likely quit.
Of course, the vast difference between how Willmar Electric uses this business practice and how Theranos and WeWork use it is our motivation. We are trying to run a company that helps people find their purpose in life. We want people to get the most out of their God-given talents.