September 2007 Vol. 6 No. 9

Had You Rather Hire A Gang Member or An Employee???? by Barbara Metzger

I had to chuckle with some of Ira's facts. Over 70% of currently employed workers surveyed rated themselves excellent on teamwork. 70%.WOW! Are 70% of your employees excellent at teamwork?

I had to chuckle because these were current employees out looking for new jobs. If more than a third of them are extremely satisfied with their jobs, does it seem like excellent teamwork to be looking for another job?

It would be logical for an employer to want to hire an employee over a gang member. Remember what your mom used to say, pick your friends carefully. And I would agree with them. Except, I like to twist things up ever once in a while.

I am not suggesting you go find current street gang members to hire.

However, let's look at the characteristics of a solid gang.

  • Clear mission or vision they all know.
  • Strong leader
  • They have each other's back
  • They know their own role
  • Loyalty

Sounds like a great plan to me.

However, I don't know of a single street gang where I would fit in. I don't share their values, mission or vision. Because I don't share these, it would guarantee it won't work in the long run ... or even the short one.

It is just easier to see with these extreme examples than it is for the regular workplace. It still applies.

It would seem to me, the workplace leaders need to get the top two things in order and very solid before they recruit or hire team/gang members. Once this is done, it is easier to create a plan for hiring members that align with the vision and values of the organization.

When Dr. Michael O'Connor, co-author of Managing by Values, has helped put clear values in place in an organization, an interesting development has repeatedly happened. The existing team members not aligning with the values, begin to leave because it becomes too uncomfortable for them.

And productivity and profits go up.

It is not simple. As we all know, it is easier to make a list of values than it is to live by them. It means all decisions, all actions - for internal and external customers - have to be consistent with the clear mission and vision. It takes strong leaders to put this in place.

If your employees were surveyed, would they be able to tell what the company mission, vision and values are? Would they be able to give examples of these in action? Are the employees in alignment? Do you have a hiring process to know the fit of the applicants for your company?

We can help you build the solid gang - the good kind. or (512) 278-1200.