Today’s advice comes from Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Prize Winner and founder of Grameen Bank, via Harvard Business Review:
“In the beginning, we were very small, so we were picky. We were trying to get the best possible staff. Now that we’re hiring so many people, we’re not looking for the ideal. There will be qualitative differences in the people we hire, but it’s OK. Bring them in, and let them go through the process. We take many kinds of people, and the system turns them into ideal people.”
Yunus’ bank is in the business of helping low income entrepreneurs in Bangladesh start their own businesses. To build that kind of an enterprise, Yunus says you need to make sure you take your time picking a solid team first. Once the company begins to scale, however, having too much control on who you hire can slow down growth. Don’t get too picky about who you bring into the team, invest instead in training new hires to fit with the company’s vision. Yunus says a method that worked well for him was establishing a reward system among his employees. This united them under a single mission while promoting the company’s values.
“Our goals are very clearly stated, and we monitor whether the branches are meeting them through something called Five Star. Each employee is supposed to look after 600 borrowers. If you get 100% repayment from those borrowers, you get a star. If the whole branch achieves 100%, then everyone in the branch gets a star. If you do it for the whole year, you get another star. If your branch is profitable, you get a fourth star. And if the children of the borrowers in your branch are all in school—every single child—you get the fifth star. These are stars you can wear on your chest, like in the military. So you go to work, and you see the star achievement.”
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