Know Precisely What You are Looking For
Before advertising for a person to fill this newly created position, I needed to first establish precisely what kind of person I was looking for. Technical skills are important, however the person’s character, the aggregate of their qualities, was going to be vital in a small team environment. This person would need to be able to work with me as much I would need to work with him or her. What this meant was that I had to do some heavy lifting of my own to first understand myself so that I selected someone who would compliment me, tolerate and accept me for who I am, and care for me.
I’m a left brain dominant person. I suspect that has been strongly influenced by over two decades of rigid command and control structures in the Air Force which have made me desire and yearn for greater logic and order elsewhere in my life. I can proudly say that my cupboards and drawers still meet the standards that would satisfy a military skills instructor performing a block inspection. It is important for me to understand that this has become a preference of mine that biases my thinking and, and I must be aware of it when choosing a person to work with. Although I needed more creativity in my life, it would not be fair to select a person who thrived on creative messes and a lack of order and structure.
I have high expectations for myself in my work. Consequently, I am my own worst critic. I have a strong desire to continually improve my practises, and I am easily frustrated with people who make the same mistake twice in a row. I apply myself to my work for many hours in the day because I love what I do. Therefore, I believe I deserve to have nice material things around me. I don’t like extravagant things, but I like to reward myself with nice things that acknowledge that working hard for others can reward me as well. I also want the same for the people I work with. So when I work with them, I want them to have nice things, stay in nice places and know their investment in me is worth it. It will help greatly to have someone who appreciates the same things for them self and would strive to create the same for others.
Despite working with large numbers of people continually, I am a natural introvert. I love my work and engaging with people however I really love my time away from the stage. I source the majority of my energy from within, which means I like to withdraw from time to time to reflect. This is why my jet ski has been such a positive influence in my life. Although I do frequently go out on the ocean on my jet ski with my best mate Rob and his jet ski, I still am very much alone for most of it. I use that time to solve the problems of the world. So whilst it is important for this person to spend a lot of their time with me, he or she will need to be comfortable with me wanting quiet time or at the very least, or to engage in a conversation that supports reflection.
I recognised that I had developed, and still do have, rather fixed views of the world around me. As much as we don’t like to admit it, the older I get, the less in touch I am with the younger generations. I was, and still am now, very comfortable with what I believe to be right. However my ideas for ‘creating right’ in the world needed constant challenging. I therefore didn’t need a yes person by my side; I needed someone who also cared about why I was doing the work I did, yet could and would challenge what I was doing and how I was doing it. Whilst I needed someone with the same values who aspires to similar things, an alternate world view through a different lens, would help to inform the future decisions I make around leadership. I know through experience that not all things work the same way for all people. So I needed to broaden my scope, particularly around gender, social attitudes and age. It was important this person could broaden the scope of my thinking.
When it was all said and done, it was still important that this person would get on with the job even if we didn’t agree on everything. I of course, needed to be ethical and justify any decision I made. However this person needed to be open to also seeing the world differently. Whilst I required robust discussion about all things, we would also need unity around the decisions I make despite not seeing eye to eye. It was important that I listened and explained my decision, however it was also important that he or she could move forward with that.
Finally, my work is not a job; it is how I choose to live my life. I haven’t felt like I’ve had a job that I must go to for over a decade, because there is little distinction between my work and play time. It is because of this, that I am prepared to communicate with clients at random times of the day and the week. I don’t work long days; I live with an inherent flexibility that suits my way of life. Some days are long, some are short. Some are on the road, some are at home. If I get off my jet ski and there is an email, I respond to it. The person who works along side me will need to accept that truth about me. He or she will need to understand this is not a job, it is a way of life that is purposeful and focused.
When I reflected on all of this, I began to think that finding this person might be more difficult than I first thought. It was going to make for an interesting interview.