Talent Selection: Skills or Values?

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My world view around phenomenal business success is clearly centered around the “soft” issues of business.

As Tom Peters brilliantly put it: “Soft is hard.  Hard is soft!”

Culture.  Team Work.  Service.  > Strategy.  Planning.  Analysis.

All are important yes.  But if we all hand endless resources we could apply equal pressure to all of them.  But we do not.

Lately I’ve spent an enormous amount of time trying to get the people area right, particularly in the area of NEW talent coming into the business.  And like any area where new energy is applied, you should start to see results emerge, which was the case in this area.

Since putting new pressure on ramping up the hunt for new, great talent, it’s clear that I’ll need a governing principle for selecting among a pool of qualified people.  How to pick among multiple highly qualified candidates?

  • Greatest skill set?
  • Greatest GBE?
  • Greatest personal story?
  • Best match to the job description?
  • Consensus pick among the interview team?  The “vote”?
  • Highest scores among a combination of key criteria?

All are important.  But I came down to one clear acid test:

The person that most closely matches the CORE VALUES of what the company is built around will be the candidate that comes in the door.  Period. 

Skills and job descriptions will always matter.  But the match to core values will be the difference maker.

The challenge for leaders will always be defining core values.  Living them daily.  Creating vivid pictures and stories about why they matter. Who lives them.

Every company is different.  All companies define Core Values differently.  Some seem generic, wordy and could apply to any company on earth.

At my company, LM Foods, our core values are 2 Simple Words:



Subject to interpretation?  Yes.  Crystal clear to everyone inside of the organization?  A work in progress, but getting closer everyday.

For talent selection, be crystal clear that the candidate selected is the superior match on Core Values.  Let this be your #1 difference maker, not the easily measured hard skills. 

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Hustle Case Study: Pitbull

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Education is not only about IF and where you have a degree from, it’s about lifelong learning, and more learning happens OUTSIDE the classroom than inside of it.   

You also don’t need a semester to gain great inspiration and new knowledge, 10 minutes can do the trick. 

Here are 2 Great Talents:  Ryan Seacrest and Pitbull.  A 7 minute interview, and great lessons.

Para-phrasing (Of Course)

  • “Where does the energy come from?”  It’s all about motivation!
  • My mom raised me off Anthony Robins.  I would sit in the car and listen to his lessons.
  • There’s no success without failure.  No success without losing.
  • Does your Hustle and your ability to outwork help?  ABSOLUTELY.  It’s 90% business, 10% talent.
  • On Jennifer Lopez:  She’s a pro.  She show’s up on time, gets the job done and moves on to the next thing.
  • Who makes your suits?  It doesn’t matter what you wear, it’s how you wear it!
  • The only real thing in my life, is real people, so I’m very protective of them.
  • Ryan:  I like to meet friends, greet friends and KEEP friends!
  • What are your other priorities?  Vodka, schools, slam (sports, leadership, management), branding the city with Pit Bull, finding a way to grow and put the puzzle together!
  • I love the Hustle.  Fall.  Get right back up.   

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The Hidden Secret to Rocky’s Success? Relationships

Spike TV ran a Rocky Marathon on 4th of July, and of course I got sucked in for what had to be the 100th+ time of my life watching the great American Classic.  Like all great movies that get watched over and over, you tend to pick up new lines each … [Continue reading]

The Talent Hunt: Where’s the Will To Win?

preparing to win

There are some painful and common things I'm seeing lately on the hunt for talent, interviewing countless people for various positions. In the past I've posted on this topic: Where Job Candidates Fail:  Articulating GBE The Market for Talent & … [Continue reading]

Where Job Candidates Fail: Articulating GBE


The Jersey Shore Reality show (if you can call it that).  Yes, I cringe at the portrayal of young Italian Americans in this light, from my home state.  And of course I can relate and found it comical.  But they captured perfectly with their GTL … [Continue reading]

In a Rut? Go on a Field Trip!

bronx fish market

"Get out in the field!" It's an expression in business that could mean a few things: Visiting customers Looking at the competitive marketplace Working in the factory/front lines In the Stores The field is really anything … [Continue reading]

Little Tests of Integrity: The Choice to do the RIGHT Thing


A minor event happened recently that I didn't give much thought at the time. A supplier billed us for goods received.  But there was an honest mistake in that they billed us for an amount that was a few thousand SHORT of what it should have been. … [Continue reading]

Thoughts on an 8 Year Opening Day Missive Ritual

image credit:  baseballism.com

One of the most exciting parts of business is building a culture with a team.  Taking part in events, and some of those turn into traditions. Before I acquired LM Foods, I was lucky to be part of a great little Memphis based company, Monogram … [Continue reading]

Hustle Conquers Snow……And Most Obstacles

blue collar jeon

Winters in the Northeast are brutal, and 2015 was no exception. HUGE amounts of snow can create havoc on a manufacturing operation as trucks (inbound/outbound), employees and customers all are faced with extra challenges for carrying out their … [Continue reading]

Business Mandate: Turn Air into Money.


I get a EUPHORIC thrill out of turning air into money.   It also creates some strange looks when I tell a story or two. When you own property in business, every square inch is a potential asset.  Even if you don't own your land and building, … [Continue reading]


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