Starting and Managing a Business for Profits and Wealth Part 26: The 10-Fold Path to Becoming Rich and Wealthy

Part 26: The 10-Fold Path to Becoming Rich and Wealthy

By K.C. See

My business partner Patrick Liew came up with an interesting study, which I find intriguing. There are many reasons why I would pay attention to him and his ideas: being an accomplished entrepreneur, having listed three companies and building numerous successful businesses. Aside from that he was the Chairman of HSR Global, a listed property agency in Singapore as well as the co-founder of Success Resources, a global seminar company. He gave me the go-ahead to share this.

Patrick believes that every rich and wealthy person has developed his own unique path to success. He discovered that there are generally ten major pathways, called the 10-Fold Path to becoming rich and wealthy. These pathways can be correlated to psychological models such as the Five Factor Model (FFM). The FFM covers the big five personality traits of openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism (OCEAN).

If one studies Greek mythology one will realise that the ten different pathways have been depicted in the lives of the mythological gods and goddesses. It goes to prove that discoveries of the modern age have been in existence since the beginning of time. We have merely affirmed truths of age-old wisdom. This is Patrick’s 10-Fold Path to becoming rich and wealthy.

1.1 Game-changer (“Aphrodite”) The Game-changer becomes rich by identifying problems, finding gaps, and developing disruptive solutions. Eg. Michael Bloomberg, Jeff Bezos
1.2 Inventor (“Hephaestus”) The Inventor becomes rich by creating and innovating new models, products and services. Eg. Steve Jobs, Richard Branson

2.1 Governor (“Athena”) The Governor becomes rich through leading people and managing limited resources. He develops structures, systems and processes to make things work. Eg. Steve Ballmer, Jack Welch
2.2 Guardian (“Demeter”) The Guardian becomes rich through acquiring, value-adding, leveraging on, and growing assets. Eg. Warren Buffet, Amancio Ortega, Sheldon Adelson, Lakshmi Mittal, Paul Allen

3.1 Power Broker (“Hermes”) The Power Broker becomes rich by selling, trading and brokering deals. Eg. Carl Icahn, George Soros, Rupert Murdoch, Donald Trump
3.2 Ruler (“Zeus”) The Ruler becomes rich by targeting a market segment or niche and developing dominance over it. Eg. Harry Triguboff, Eike Fuhrken Batista, Li Ka-shing, Larry Ellison, Mark Zuckerberg, Sam Walton, Aliko Dangote

4.1 Hero (“Apollo”) The Hero becomes rich through making people like, trust and respect him. Eg. Oprah Winfey, Michael Jackson, David Beckham
4.2 Master (“Hades/Poseidon”) The Master becomes rich by being the leading expert in a significant domain. Eg. George Lucas, Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, J. K. Rowling,

5.1 Problem-Solver (“Artemis”) The Problem-solver becomes rich by resolving problems that can cause major gains or losses to the customers. Eg. Charles Schwab, Michael Dell
5.2 Politician (“Ares”) The Politician becomes rich by developing schemes and maneuvers to influence organisations, communities, and society. This could be for his personal or partisan advantage. Eg. Silvia Berlusconi, Prince Al Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al Saud, Thaksin Shinawatra, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

It would therefore be interesting to determine which path may be yours and thus set you on a more guided journey. Patrick suggested that you can do three things to make this happen.

There is no absolute path to being rich and wealthy. As a start, you need to choose the path that is most appropriate to you, one that will optimise your edge, advantage and growth. The choice of the path depends on the following 5 “P”s:
1.1 Purpose. It serves your purpose in starting a business.
1.2 Personality. It leverages on the strengths of your personality.
1.3 Passion. It should invoke meaning, fun and excitement.
1.4 Performance. It should be a path that can help you perform well and better than your targeted competitors.
1.5 Priority. It should be a path that is relevant and significant at this time and in your current situation.

You need to retain different talents to cover your weaknesses. In addition, you need to build organisations, systems and processes to support you and enhance your business model and operation.

As you work on your path, learn to develop a targeted, holistic and balanced set of competences so that you can choose different paths and have more options to grow your business. In that way, you can survive any turbulence and exploit the silver lining in every storm.

Starting and Managing a Business for Profits and Wealth Part 11: Top Ten Business Opportunities in 2013

I learn a process called Opportunity Search from my guru Alan Weiss years ago and he wrote a book titled “Entreprenovation”. Using the process, I came out with 10 business opportunities for 2013 for SMEs. As you go through the list you might not agree with every one of them, but please note that these are meant for the startups and does not include those that requires big capital and where only the bigger organizations can consider. Some of the areas brought up are not new, but I am of the opinion that 2013 will be a year of growth for these areas of opportunities. Nevertheless you are welcome to add to or minus from my list.

1) Area of opportunity: Organic and healthy food.

Idea: Hot healthy food delivery.

This is not a new area but the specific idea is to do lunch delivery of organic, vegetarian or healthy food in locations where finding such food would be a challenge. There is quite obviously an increasing population in this region who are getting more health-conscious and concerned about what they eat.

2) Area of Opportunity: Recreational and leisure area

Idea: Provide products and services catering for those who want to embark on a healthier pastime such as biking, running and the outdoors.

There would be specific target groups who would spend time and money to find healthier pastimes beyond work and the traditional indulgences. This group would be growing and the appetite for specialized services and products will grow be significant. Mountain biking and marathon running are examples worth looking into.

3) Area of Opportunity: Mobile Apps

Idea: Provide Mobile Apps for Businesses

By 2014 more people would access the internet through their mobile device than through the computer. Small businesses will realize that the way to beat the big boys is to get into inexpensive technology faster than the bigger players and get a bite of the market share before they wakes up. Mobile apps for business have been proven to increase customer retention and acquisition. The year 2013 will see the growth of mobile apps as the cost of developing mobile apps becomes more affordable.

4) Area of opportunity: Environmental Health

Idea: Provide products that keep homes environmentally safe and healthy

Recent reports of more than 800,000 people in China who died from pollution related ailments and disease in 2012 and more of such similar reports, strike a chord in the increasingly health conscious society. As people begin to realize that the first line of defense for a healthier body is what they eat, drink and breathe, products that serve to ensure pollution-free air, healthier drinking water and toxins-free and chemical-free food would see a boom.

5) Area of opportunity: Home Renovation and interior design.

Idea: Provide highly customized renovation products and interior design services catering to specific needs of individuals

The affluent will continue to spend money on their home renovation and interior design. However there is a trend of people who want to have a home that is their ‘Own” creation, using their own concept and ideas. There is a growing aspiration of people to design their own homes and be able to claim that. Their home becomes their ‘art’ and they want it to be special and unique to their style and personal preference. The term “co-creation” comes into play; so interior designers should consider how to make that happen.

6) Area of Opportunity: The Pet’s business

Idea: From Pet grooming to Pet funeral services

More and more young people are rearing pets and would spend lavishly on their pet’s needs. From cats and dogs to exotic pets, the market is growing continuously. The key is to take one specialized area and expand to be the market leader in it. I have a dog in my house recently and I am convinced that he gets better care than me.

7) Area of Opportunity: Self-Development and Self-awakening

Idea: Provide education and services catering to the needs for personal self-development as well as self-awakening.

The wide and varied personal needs of individuals looking for more meaning in their life and for finding self-fulfillment opens up a whole range of possible programs and products for individuals from numerology to self-hypnotism to DNA profiling to Passion testing. The internet platform makes these areas more viable and more financially sensible. I have a student who specializes in happiness training and I believe that he will soon be quite happy as this will soon  be a fast growing area.

8) Area of Opportunity: Temp staffing and free-lancing

Idea: Set up a platform to link people who don’t want a full time job with companies desperate to get competent help even if it is not permanent

As organization struggles with fresh graduates who are mostly not ready or capable to take on the jobs at hand as well as a Gen Y workforce that is extremely challenging to retain, the need to find new and creative ways to get the job done becomes critical to organizational success. Companies not used to engaging temp staff, free lancers and part-timers will have to begin to do so. This will be the nature of the workforce in the near future in this region.

I am aware that this is already available but I am suggesting that there are opportunities for specializing in the specific areas of help or skills including areas like graphic artist, copywriters, maids, Facebook marketing specialist, accounting and many other specialized areas.

9) Area of Opportunity: SAAS/ PAAS/ cloud computing for niche areas

Idea: Find pockets of process weakness in specific industry and develop software and IT infrastructure to help increase throughput of businesses or reduce cost.

There are still a lot of organizations particularly the SMEs in the region that have not fully tapped the power of IT and technology to improve business. There are two things happening which will make 2013 the year of growth. First is the fact that more and more SMEs are now taken over by the next generation who are more educated and open to using IT s a business enhancer. This coupled with the advent of SAAS(software as a Service) , PAAS( Platform as a Service) and cloud computing thus making the initial cost of entry lower and more plausible.

10) Area of opportunity: Health empowerment

Idea: Provide education, information and self-administrated products or services that would enable the user to take charge of their own health

As health becomes a major concern in society and skepticism of traditional methods of health care and medical care escalates, there is an increasing demand for more information and education on health as it can been seen by the numerous amount of health periodicals and seminars. This coupled with the fact that the typical filial son and daughters who would hope to diminish their sense of guilt for not spending enough time with their parents by buying expensive products and gadgets to help improve the quality of their parents’ life, especially their health.

This list is by no means exhaustive and I am sure there many more hot areas of opportunities in the market. If you need to explore any of the areas listed and like to find out more, you can send me a note through

Starting and Managing a Business for Profits and Wealth Part 10: The Learning Entrepreneur

North America, Asia and Europe have been undergoing an entrepreneurial renaissance. These countries are moving from being nations of managers to becoming nations of owners. Until 1990 North America’s economic engine of growth centered in the Fortune 1000 companies. Today the economic growth is driven by the small and the mid sized enterprise.

Almost everywhere in the world, entrepreneurship is not only alive but thriving. That is the good news. The bad news is worldwide 60per cent of all new business fail within the first two years and 70% fail within the first five years of their existence. Of those that survive many never reach the success level expected whilst some are still struggling at its growth stage never to reach the maturity stage. This is even more challenging in an uncertain economic situation.
Anyone can start a business but it is a different story when it comes to taking it to a successful level.

The top 10 common mistakes made by entrepreneur are;

  1. The inability to anticipate and deal with change.
  2. Failing to manage the growth of the organization and expanding beyond the financial capacity of the organization.
  3. Lack of appropriate financial controls.
  4. Product rather than market or customer orientation.
  5. Not realistically understanding competitive advantages and disadvantages.
  6. Inability or reluctance to groom a successor.
  7. Running a company that is dependent on people rather than systems.
  8. Not setting and documenting processes and systems.
  9. Trying to be everything to every body instead of focusing on specific target market.
  10. Concentrating on tactics and become operational bound and in the process forgetting strategy.

You will note that out of ten common mistakes, three are marketing related. In some cases, some entrepreneurs literally believe that if you open your shop, people will come. No they don’t…not if you don’t know how to get them there.

It is now widely recognized that entrepreneurship can be learnt. Whilst they may be the few who have the entrepreneur’s instinct or business acumen as some called it, most of us have to learn by making mistakes. However making mistakes in this fast moving and unforgiving world can be expensive and in some cases may be permanent and beyond repair. It is much smarter to learn from others who has already make mistakes than to learn from your own mistakes. It is certainly less expensive.

In a research done by our Quest office in Shanghai on the challenges faced by entrepreneurs and those who run organizations in China the results shows the following:

The biggest Challenge in your Job/Business :
20.00%       Managing Staff
11.25%         Recruiting good people
21.25%         Increasing Sales
5.00%          Controlling cost
21.25%         Expanding market
1.25%           Financing the business
16.25%         Improving Quality and customer satisfaction
3.75%           Others ( specify)
1 – how to assign my own time
2 – how to make training gives better result
3 – explore unknown technique file

Once again you notice that 42.5 % of the challenges are marketing and sales related. Here is an extension of the research covering their wishes. The other conclusion you may derive from our China research is that working and managing people is another huge challenge faced by Chinese entrepreneur.

Biggest wish related to your work :
3.75%         Wish I have more time for my work
11.25%        Wish I have more time for family
12.50%       Wish I have more good people to work for me
5.00%         Wish I am able to speak more languages
36.25%       Wish I have more management knowledge
10.00%       Wish I know how others run an organization similar to mine
8.75%         Wish I know what are the developments in my industry in other parts of the world
11.25%        Wish I know what my real passion is
1.25%         Others ( specify) : A position that demonstrate my managerial skills and leadership

Base on our research it is obvious the Chinese has a great desire to learn and to acquire more management knowledge and know how. We came to a conclusion that there is a need for learning entrepreneurship and management and in particular marketing.. And that this need to learn is perhaps directed towards improving the ability to get more sales and get a bigger market as well as to manage people better.

The question we have is whether the results in our local Malaysian environment are different or the same. I believe very strongly that it is not entirely different; but lets find out. To participate in a local research log on to and your participation will reward you with a complete report.

The Pushed Entrepreneur

Here is a story you might like and all stories starts with …….
Once upon a time there was a king who lives in a faraway land. This king has a beautiful daughter and for whom he hopes he will find the right man to be her husband. Unfortunately he was rather choosy about who he wants to be his son-in-law and so for number of years he still could not find the right man for the princess. The king is getting old and so in desperation he decided to organize a contest to find the right man. He decided to find a man of character; someone who can prove his bravery and determination. He ordered a huge trench to be dug and he filled it with water and infested it with crocodiles, piranhas and all the beastly animals you can think of. He then command all the single young men in his land to assemble in front of the huge trench and he declared that the first man who would jump into the trench and swim across will take the hands of the princesses. He also offered half of his 16 castles and half his gold to any one who could successfully do that. For a moment there was silence and then there was no movement at all. It seems no one would want to risk his life even for a beautiful princesses and all the promised wealth. Suddenly there was a scream and in a flash a young man was into the trench of water. He was swimming furiously across the water with half a dozen ferocious beasts going after him. He reached the other end and very quickly jumped up on to land. There was a roar of cheers and everyone was clapping their hands. The king was delighted and beaming with joy, he went to the young man and declared him the winner. He was so happy that he asked the young man if there is anything else he wants other his daughter’s hands for marriage, the castles and the gold.

The young man shivering in the cold turned to the King and say, “I want to know who push me into that trench?”

We all need to be pushed into trenches and out of that amaze ourselves with the possibilities. Entrepreneurs who are successful push themselves to high level of achievements. They are what we call; self-motivated. Their push can comes from within themselves. So what do we need, to be pushed?

1. Pushed by an Obsession, Passion or a Dream
Some are driven by an idea, which might seems to become an obsession. Whilst none around believes in them and their idea; they are lock on to what seems impossible and continue to believe that it HAS to work. A good example is when Frank Brown, founder of Federal Express came close to failure with his ideas of what become the model for courier service. His passion and dream of what is Federal Express to day was his obsession and it came through.

2. Pushed by Personal Need for achievement
Some are just motivated by an inner desire to succeed and to become bigger than what they already are. These entrepreneurs just simply want to succeed and thrive on success. If they were ever asked why they have to climb that mountain, they would answer, “Because it is there.”
Money is often used by a measurement of success and entrepreneurs are often pushed to count their achievements by the monetary results they achieve.

3. Pushed by the Customers
A smaller group of entrepreneurs are just raised to a level of success by their customers. It could because they have a great product or service and their customers love them. Their success is demanded of them by their customers. They are driven by a need to meet their customers’ higher needs and expectations. They treat their customers like a politician treats their constituency.

4. Pushed by a Dare to be different
Others could be just striving for a difference and want to stand out in the crowd. They want to go out there and do audacious things that would carve them a name in the history books of entrepreneurship. They choose to walk the path that no one does and build a legacy for themselves. These are the Steve Jobs and the Richard Bransons.

5. Pushed by a Mentor
Finally there are entrepreneurs that are pushed to success because they are inspired and guided by mentors. These are not necessarily formal. A number of successful entrepreneurs will always be able to tell you who has inspired them and who they learnt from. Some where in their journey to success would be some one who pushed them into that ‘trench’

Starting and Managing a Business for Profits and Wealth Part 9: Keeping Focused

When I was young (which was not that long ago-sic), I actually believe that I can sprout wings, fly and can do ten things at one time. Nobody can convince me that man cannot multi-task. I am a man in a big hurry (for what exactly, I don’t know). It is as if I have to get a lot of things done in as short a time as possible. If my competitor can do it in 6 months I want to do it in 6 weeks. If they are in two cities I want be in twenty. I never turned away an idea and would totally be willing to try anything and every thing until it gives way or the money does not comes in as expected. Every idea looks good and you think you can conquer them all. I was enthusiastic, energetic and all positive, eager and ready to jump into any ventures (or misadventure). I was totally unfocused.

In the first 5 years of being in business, aside from my core business, which is training and consulting, I also went into publishing, software development, franchising, retailing and any thing that comes along the way. I must have started or got involved in 26 different businesses between 1984 to 1994. Needless to say most of them failed. I made money in some cases and I lost money in others. But one thing is sure I lost focus.

In 1994 I met with Robert Kiyosaki and two things I learnt from him changed my thinking about business and how I should run it. First is the power of leverage and the idea that you can’t do everything by yourself. If the business is not leveraged then it is a work-hard business not a work smart business. The second thing I learnt is to run your business and not the business run you. …down. The best way to run your business is to turn it into a money making machine. System should run your business; hopefully not you and not some one else. That changed my way of running my businesses but I am still not totally focused.

I became more focused after 1997 or rather circumstance forced me to be more focused. If I choose to go into any other areas, it is either as an investor or as a non-operational partner providing strategic inputs. In retrospective I guess the late Steve jobs says it better than any one when he says; “I am proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do”

Apple is a very focused organization and in many ways the organization practices this principle. Steve Jobs went on to say; “Innovation comes from saying no to 1000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We’re always thinking about new markets we could enter but it’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important”
It may be hard for an energized, young and dynamic entrepreneur to be totally focused. Just like me, years ago; ideas and new ventures are adrenaline shots that get us really excited and pumped up. You want to do everything, conquer every market and cover more product range or extend your services. Unless you are totally leveraged it could cost the downfall of your initial core business. I have seen a beauty school try to go into skin care retailing and lost money. I have seen a coffee manufacturer start cafés and not get anywhere. I have seen a software company great at project implementation for corporate clients, try to do retailing software to the same clients and still fail.

In my work, coaching business owners and entrepreneurs; common thing I have to do is to help them keep focused. The balance is to know when to be obsessively focused only on what you do and when do you should start trying product extension, market extension, changing business model or going into another area.

When Tupperware here, decided to change their business model whilst moving away from their traditional product line of plastic containers; I was their coach. I was doing the same thing; keeping the management team focused on the objectives in mind and what they have to change. So the lesson is keep focused even when changing.

K.C. See founded the Money Mastery Community with over 8,000 members from 22 countries; a community to support the pursuit of wealth and passion through education and mentorship. He coaches senior managers, entrepreneurs and business owners. Check out

Starting and Managing a Business for Profits and Wealth Part 8: Entrepreneurship – The 3 Key Ingredients

I write this month’s column reflecting on my experience as an entrepreneur for almost 30 years having started the Quest Group in 1984. Although I actually started my first business (a car wash) when I was 19, I would not consider that as a serious business. I have since gone into many different kinds of businesses, from publication to software development to franchising to retail to consulting, training and many different things. (When you are young you sometimes think you wear your underwear outside!) And in reflection, I realize that I must have started close to thirty over businesses during those twenty over years and the cold hard fact is actually, most of them failed. But I learned through my years of experiences; from failures as well as successes. More from failures than successes, actually.

I was often asked, what are the secrets of becoming a successful entrepreneur. I am not sure if there are really any universal secrets. However what I can share with you is not only what I have learned from these past years but the many successful businesses that I have consulted for. I have the fortunate experience of having worked with the varied number of organizations, from SMEs to MNCs. It is also from my business coaching that enabled me to have a deep understanding of what it takes to be successful in business. If I am required to turn a subject as complicated as entrepreneurship to a simple formula, my opinion is there are three ingredients that make a successful entrepreneur.

The first is to have what I call the entrepreneurial mindset. So what is the entrepreneur’s mindset to start with? The successful entrepreneur first and foremost must have a great hunger for success. This desire to be successful at almost any cost and in an uncompromising way is often seen to be extreme. He would be on a constant search to do better and has the persistency to strive for higher levels of achievement. He is willing to take risk and would believe that it is possible while all the rest around him tells him otherwise. The same obstinacy could give two different results and the road can lead to two paths here; one could lead no where when the choice made is wrong; wrong timing, wrong market, wrong business model. The other could lead to success beyond the mediocre. The key therefore is making the right choice. My friend, Michael Lim, the man behind the Diamond Water Filter, call it having the right opportunity. To have that right opportunity is to first, be able to see it and secondly to be able to grab it while others are still thinking about it.

The second area is your Network. My mentor Robert Kiyosaki said to me that my network is my net worth. You will realize that in a fast changing and fast moving world we are in today, there is very little possibility of any entrepreneur becoming successful, working all by himself. Networking becomes essential. Having a group of people that you can work with and constantly meeting new people from different fields, different levels and with different expertise is a very important part of entrepreneurship. Some business owners are so engrossed and hooked up with the internal issues of their own business; therefore lose sight of the market and the possibilities. To be out there in the market and to network will give you opportunities to acquire resources, ideas and people you can work with. All you need is one contact, one idea or one piece of knowledge at the right time and the right place, and that would make a difference between success and failure.

I took this even further by having mastermind groups; a powerful vehicle I teach to my Money Mastery community. Masterminding is well documented in the celebrated bestseller “ Think and grow rich“ by Napoleon Hill, as an important key to success. A mastermind group is a group of 5 to 9 persons that meet on a regular basis to support and help each other. The pre-requisite for successful masterminding is the willingness to give. If everyone in a group gives, then everyone will receive. However a mastermind group that is sustainable requires adoption of certain rules and possibly a change of attitude and behavior.

The third is what I call continuous learning. Even if you are a successful entrepreneur now, you will realize that success is not forever. What helps you to become successful up to this stage will not necessarily carry you to the future. It becomes very important for any entrepreneur to be willing to learn continuously. I will always tell people that continuous prosperity only comes from continuous learning. Anybody can start a business and most of you know by now; facts have shown that 60 to 70 percent of all new businesses will fail in the first five years. So the casualty rate is actually quite high and therefore is crucial to understand the difference between starting a business and taking it to a stable state and beyond that; growing it and finally how to preserve the success. This whole journey requires different way of thinking and different skill sets. Learning helps you go through the various phases of entrepreneurship.

Becoming an entrepreneur for most people is not something they are born with; it is a learning process. The experienced entrepreneur understands the need to stay ahead and the need to learn. And you can do this in two ways; learn by making your own mistakes as I have done over the years or you can shorten the learning curve by learning from the experience of others and from their mistakes instead. This would be learning from other entrepreneurs who are willing to advise you or better still, from someone who is willing to coach and mentor you. Having a mentor would be a great booster for an entrepreneur or a person aspiring to be one. This is especially if you want to avoid the many potential potholes in that road to entrepreneurial success.

So in my opinion the keys to becoming a successful entrepreneur start with having the right mindset, connecting with people and networking, having mentors and coaches and finally continuous learning. These ingredients I talk about are doable for anyone and you can start today, if becoming an entrepreneur is what you want.

KC See is the Founder of the well-known Money Mastery Mentorship programme. He just started the Entrepreneur Treasure Chest; a community of entrepreneurs. He can be found on Facebook or you can post in his group at

Starting and Managing a Business for Profits and Wealth Part 7: Recruiting and Retaining the Right Talent

One of the areas that I have learnt in the last 20 over years of running businesses is to build the right team. Recruiting the right talent into your organization is a critical skill that all business owners needs to learn and cannot really be delegated. Business is known to fail not because it does not have a great product service or strategy. In any business execution is key: the ability to deliver value to the customers effectively. You will need a good team to do that. Another constant frustration for business owner is the inability to retain good talents

So how can you avoid making an unsuitable hire? The solution is to learn to spot the danger signals that indicate trouble. These signs are often overlooked by eager employers who are impressed with a candidate’s appearance or personality, or are simply in a rush to fill a vacancy.

Common Mistakes

There are some telling signs to indicate if a candidate is merely on a fishing expedition to find out what’s available in the market and what their market value is. Did the applicant fail to ask probing questions regarding career advancement and the future direction of the company? Did she appear reluctant to give clear examples of previous accomplishments? Was she evasive about prior job responsibilities? Did the candidate hesitate or show a lack of eagerness to accept the position? And did he give you a good reason why he has three jobs in three years?
Ironically, many employers do, in fact, see all the red flags right from the start. And yet they make the costly mistake in hiring the person despite the signals. It may be because they were too keen to fill the vacancy.

A common hiring mistake is a syndrome that management consultants call the “halo effect.” Employers tend to hire someone who is the mirror image of themselves, even if the applicant is not quite right for the position. Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with choosing candidates because they fit in with the prevailing culture. But of equal importance is to find someone who can do the job – compatibility shouldn’t be your only criterion. The right person – even if he or she doesn’t have the exact mix of education or experience you were looking for – can rise to the occasion and grow into the job.

Another common mistake is that employers sometimes hide undesirable aspects of the company or overstate chances for advancement in order to attract top performers. If the promised promotions or pay rises don’t materialize, ambitious achievers will look elsewhere for opportunities to advance. You can also lose a capable staff if his talents aren’t recognized.

Be careful not allow you emotions to influence your hiring decisions. To avoid falling into this trap, there are a few simple techniques that will help you distance yourself from the process when interviewing the candidate, and thus be in a better position to evaluate their strengths and weakness objectively.

Give applicants ample opportunity to sell themselves. Ask them about their accomplishments. How do their previous contributions to their former employers relate to the new position? What can they do for you? Observe the applicants’ behavior and attitude. Are they enthusiastic? Or do they just sit back impassively. If so, they may not be genuinely interested in the post, or simply may not be quick thinkers. In either case they’re not the people you want on your team.


What about the manageability of the recruited staff? The candidate may appear impressive, with the right educational background and experiences, but if he’s not manageable, it’s not going to be a long-term solution.

To be successful in hiring, you have to build a three-dimensional picture of the short listed candidates. First, look inside and examine the skeleton with questions designed to reveal ability to perform on the job. Then you have to put flesh on the bones with questions that will determine the person’s willingness. Only then can you see the whole person and decide whether she is going to be manageable.

We need to ask question not only to find out what kind of staff the candidate is going to be like, but also if she will fit in with how you run your business. We should hire only people who are manageable by us, not only by some imaginary super boss. You really need to honest with yourself as to what kind of a boss you are.

Some questions we should ask are: “How do you take directions?” “How did your current boss get the best out of you?” “What do you think of him or her?” “What are some of the things which you and your boss disagreed on?” “Describe the best boss you have ever had,” followed by “What made him or her stand out?” “When was the last time you felt anger on the job?” “What kind of rewards are most satisfying to you?”

As a boss, you may be the let em-alone type, in which case you shouldn’t hire candidates whose answers fairly scream that they need constant supervision and reinforcement. On the other hand, if you are an autocratic boss, you are unlikely to have a happy relationship with creative self-starters who would resent supervision. You know yourself better than anyone else, and that knowledge should tell you how suitable the candidate is, based on her answers to some of the above questions.

Retaining The Good Ones

Now that you have smoked out the right candidates who are able to do the job, willing to work with commitment, and able to be managed comfortably by you, the next vital points is how to keep them.

Remember that candidates are not just taking a job; they are opting for the whole package – the company, the location, the working environment. If you want to retain your most valued employees, you must create a climate that’s hospitable to quality staff. Ironically, many businesses companies’ internal policies or cultures virtually guarantee failure so that many new staff, no matter how qualified, just doesn’t last. Especially if you are having a Gen Y staff force and you are still managing them the old archaic ways. YOU have to start making changes.

The key to keeping talented people is by being a good boss yourself. If the workplace is a source of gratification, not irritation, then you will have succeeded in making it a place that’s just too good to leave. If people see a future in your organization for themselves, they will stay. And if they jump out of bed every morning excited about their organizations’ vision and can see how they are contributing and they are appreciated for their contributions; then you know you got it right.

One more word about recruiting; surround yourself with people smarter than you and your business will fly.