In 1986 I was in Minneapolis recruiting for a salesperson for a sales position in the training industry. After flying there from Atlanta, I had 6 interviews lined up for a Friday. Of course, I was looking for someone with sales experience and felt if I was fortunate they might have sold training before.
After the conducting all 6 initial interviews, I flew to Kansas City to visit friends and reflect on the interviews. Five of the six had sales experience and two of the five had sold training before. They all appeared to be very qualified, and I thought the two who had sold training before were probably the front runners. After all, that was what I was hoping to find.
Then I thought about what a Senior Vice President of Exxon had told me once. He shared that they required an MBA before they would even interview a potential Account Representative (salesperson). He then asked me if I could guess what the consequence of that criterion was to his organization. Puzzled, I said, “What?” He replied, “More talent walks past our door than in it.”
What requirements do you have in recruiting?
I reviewed my interviews again and invited three people back for second interviews. Two of the three had sold training before and told me about their clients and contacts. The third and last had never sold anything before. I left Minneapolis and flew home to Atlanta after telling all three I would be in touch before the end of the week.
Question: If you had been me would you have chosen one of the two with the training experience sales? Again, I remembered what the SVP of Exxon shared with me, so I selected the one who had no sales experience. Why you may ask? I saw a young man who reminded me of myself 10 years earlier. He was sick of working in the corporate world of no recognition and had many qualities the others did not possess.
First and foremost he was not intimidated at all in the interview; because we called on senior executives that would be a plus. However, he appeared to have many other qualities, too. Confidence, enthusiasm, coachability, ambition and a risk taker (It would have meant a pay cut for him and his family for about a year). He also possessed drive, desire to succeed, accountability, and integrity.
There were many other things that came into the picture, too. I even had a conversation with his wife by phone and learned she supported him 100%. He turned out to be the best hire I ever made. Nine years later after being our top performer for the previous five consecutive years, he came to me and said something than made my heart skip a beat. He said, “Jim, I’m leaving.” I asked what he was going to do and he replied, “I want to be a professional speaker!” His decision was made, so I asked one question: “What can I do to help you?”
After spending all those years training, coaching, and mentoring him, he proved he was everything I thought he was during the interviews long ago. Today I could not be more proud of John G. Miller. Not only did he become an outstanding speaker, he founded his own company, QBQ, Inc. He’s authored three books and produced a fantastic DVD video based development system to help organizations make personal accountability a core value in their cultures. My company now proudly represents his company and our relationship has grown even stronger over the years.
He is an outstanding husband, father, and all around great individual, serving his family, the marketplace, his church, and his Colorado community. Did I make John successful? I’d like to think I contributed. However, he made himself a success! With that, I ask you one critical question:
Does more talent walk past your door than in it?
If you would like to meet John, please move to the top of this page and click on QBQ! You will see a preview of his personal accountability system as well as other information. If you would like more information about this system, please hit the “Contact Us” link.
Thank you so much and make 2011 an accountable year!
Jim Strutton, CEO
Accountability Plus, Inc.
© 2011 Accountability Plus, Inc.
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