Most of the work we do involves…”

Matt Blumberg, writing about expense reports, points out a universal truth:

Most of the work we do involves some level of being organized, being on time, prioritizing work and working efficiently, and caring about money (whether the company’s money or our own money).

When I think back to work situations that have gone sideways, it’s seldom had anything to do with specific job skills and, more often than not, has been a result of someone on the team having deficiencies in one of the above.

People who don’t show up on time for meetings. Or are late all the time. Or who leave email festering in their inboxes unanswered. Or who can’t see the forest for the trees. Or who think their organizational​ system should trump the group’s long-established one.

When you read help-wanted ad references to “motivated” and “high energy” it’s a coded reference to these skills. Here, for example, is a snippet from the first ad that showed up in a Google search for jobs this morning:

Core competencies: customer focus communication team work quality orientation problem solving accountability and dependability operating equipment ethics and integrity

Boiled down, these amount to “you are not an idiot” and they are also another way of saying that you care about “being organized, being on time, prioritizing work and working efficiently, and caring about money.”

The reason that I am a one-person company is largely because I have almost no ability to intuit these skills in others (hiring brother Johnny allowed me to route around this; I knew he was a stand up guy because I was around for his early years).

It’s easy to spot the carnage after hiring someone without these fundamentals; it’s much more difficult to spot people without them during a hiring process. At least for me.