It’s the people you hire who make your success, said Sears, Roebuck & Co. founder Richard W. Sears. Here are some thoughts from an article he wrote in 1910:
Hire carefully and at the right time, then give your hires a free hand within well-defined limits. “Many a hundred-dollar man remains a fifteen-dollar subordinate,” he wrote, “because he is not given any latitude and is not allowed to develop.”
Pick inexperienced people at low salaries, and train them instead of transplanting people from other industries and putting them in charge of company veterans.
Let them make mistakes. Taking the initiative and learning from flubs is the only way for people to gain experience. And it’s expensive only in the beginning. Said Sears: “No man can learn to be a ‘crack shot’ unless he wastes some ammunition.”
Count results more than methods.
Offer raises and promotions to people without asking. “It pays us as a matter of business,” Sears noted.
Offer only raises and promotions, not bonuses, presents or rewards. A bonus should be considered an insult, Sears said, because it implies that people aren’t doing their best all the time.
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