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When ‘more pie’ just isn’t enough

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in Leaders & Managers,People Management

How can you hire people with a great attitude?

Start by discovering what motivates them. Identify what they value and tailor the job accordingly.

Carl Bolch Jr. spent over 40 years building a chain of convenience stores called RaceTrac. In the 1970s, he re­­tained a top law firm to handle legal issues for his growing company.

A few years later, Bolch needed to hire an in-house counsel. So he asked his trusted lawyer from the law firm, “Can you recommend anyone?”

“How about me?” the attorney replied.

Surprised, Bolch warned that he couldn’t match the lawyer’s current salary.

“That’s OK,” he responded. “I’ll take the job. You decide what you want to pay me.”

Bolch asked if his friend was dissatisfied working at the law firm.

“There is nothing wrong,” he said. “It is just a question of more pie.”

The attorney explained he had always sought the next prize—“more pie.” Examples in­­cluded getting into a good college, then a prestigious law school and a top law firm.

“I’ve finally figured out that it is all just a big pie-eating contest,” he concluded. “You win, and the prize is always MORE PIE.”

Bolch hired him and he became a star at RaceTrac. Wisely, Bolch gave him a wide berth to keep him happy. When the attorney showed up on his first day wearing Bermuda shorts and a Hawaiian shirt, Bolch didn’t flinch.

By allowing the lawyer to make himself comfortable at work, set his own goals and no longer worry about seeking or status, Bolch laid the groundwork for him to thrive.

— Adapted from Springboard, G. Richard Snell, Portfolio/Penguin.

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