Each organization to some degree has a different set of criteria for hiring their employees. Google give surveys to job candidates to identify favorable personality or behavioral characteristics that “fit” the job opening; Zappos places 50% of their weight in hiring on the cultural fit between candidate and organization; Sears uses an application to access each applicants Facebook page as part of the hiring process. Organizations seem to be looking for new unique processes to improve their hiring techniques–I want to reiterate a key hiring criterion that may be at times overlooked. It doesn’t involve new social media hiring standards or complex algorithms used to analyze a résumé. This criterion is hiring people based on their “ability to execute.”
A Message to Garcia is a classic essay written in 1899 by Elbert Hubbard that teaches the “ability to execute.” The essay tells of a man named Rowan who, during the war between the United States and Spain, was asked to hand deliver a message from the President of the United States to a leader named Garcia who was deep in the Cuban mountains. With this singular task at hand, three weeks later with minimal much instruction from the President and not much more than a stalwart attitude Rowan successfully delivered the message to Garcia. Rowan had the “ability to execute.”
There are rare individuals in the world who naturally and instinctively have the ability to complete whatever task is given them. They don’t complain the task is too hard; they don’t waste time wondering why they were given the task; they don’t look for ways to “cut corners” to finish the task. They find a way to get things done, and as Nike so eloquently teaches, they “Just Do It!” These are trusted, honorable, and honest people who, when asked to complete a task, find a way to get the job done efficiently and effectively–this is the “ability to execute.”
This principle may seem overly simple in nature, but is an essential trait to great workers in an organization. I believe when organizations are hiring for whichever department has openings (sales, finance, accounting etc.), find individuals who have this rare capacity.
Each organization should long for a culture of people with the attitude and work ethic of Rowan in A Message to Garcia.
(To read the complete essay A Message to Garcia visit: http://www.birdsnest.com/garcia.htm)
Levi Lundgreen from Brigham Young University of Idaho is a virtual intern with Braathe Enterprises