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This is the one secret to managing an organization

Our advice columnist says it’s all about the people.

This is the one secret to managing an organization
[Image: anamad/iStock]

Editor’s Note: Each week Maynard Webb, former CEO of LiveOps and former COO of eBay, will offer candid, practical, and sometimes surprising advice to entrepreneurs and founders. To submit a question, write to Webb at dearfounder@fastcompany.com.

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Q. What’s the most important thing I need to know about leading my organization? What secret can you tell me?

 -Executive in charge of a global group at a public company

 Dear Executive,

It’s all about people. You don’t have anything if don’t have great people doing great things.

So many executives think that it’s a problem to find great people. They say it’s the hardest part of the job. I don’t think so at all. I recently had some tickets to give away to a Rolling Stones concert. I can tell you that I didn’t have a bit of a problem finding people who wanted to see the Rolling Stones.

So, what’s the secret? You have to have conviction about what you are doing. You have to have a mindset that says you are doing something amazing and exciting and people will want to be a part of it. In order to attract people to your endeavor, you must believe that it’s an incredible opportunity for others and you must execute and deliver on that promise.

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Always be on the lookout for great people, and do so with a mindset of abundance. People are yearning for good opportunities and you have the privilege of being able to offer them a chance. See what you have as what’s scarce—a rare and special opportunity. Instead of thinking of hiring as chore, see it as a gift that can change someone’s life.

In reality I know that this is a lot of work and time, and some people say you have to “kiss a lot of frogs.” But if you have the chance to dramatically change someone’s life isn’t that an exciting opportunity for all of you?

Also, just a reminder—hiring anyone requires investing your best effort. No matter how far along your company is, you should remember that you have to demonstrate what working with you, and working for this company, will be like—and the recruitment process offers an excellent window into this. Don’t make your evaluation process so stressful that your candidates make your hiring decision for you.

Always pick and promote people who will help you and your culture grow. I’ve learned from people I’ve worked with in more ways than I can tell you. They have years of experience with different problems, different organizations, and different attitudes. And for leaders—particularly those who are early in their careers—I can’t recommend enough the value of bringing in people who will commit to helping you grow. Don’t eliminate people because they don’t seem like a “culture fit”—embrace differences and stay rigorously focused on the cultural attributes that actually define your company.

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