Attitude or Skills: Which Employee Is Right For You?

Two identical twins walk into a bar… Wait a minute, that is another story.

Two identical twins apply for work at your glass shop.  At least, they look exactly the same.  But the semblance stops there.  You had placed an ad for a glazier to join your company.  Experience preferred, but not required, and able to work flexible hours.  Tim has worked for three years at John Doe’s Glass Company as an auto glass installer.  Tom has one year’s experience at a glass shop installing storefronts and low-rise curtainwall, your specialty along with auto glass.  Both are honest and have good references.

Have you made up your mind yet?  I haven’t so far. 

So, you ask each one back for a second interview, asking each one the same questions, and you are still stumped.  You wish you could hire both, but you only have one position open in your five-man company.  So, you ask your foreman, Tony, to come in at the end of each interview and spend 10 minutes with each one.  You agree that both are good, but Tony helps you summarize your thoughts when he tell you that Tim’s strength is his positive work attitude, and Tom’s strength is his experience in the field.

Which one?

OK, there is no right answer yet.  The path to the answer is deciding which type of company you are.  Do you retain people for a long time or do you have rapid turn-over?  Does Tony train his new installers?  Do your men go out individually, or do you always send a team?

The answer then, whether to hire Tim or Tom, is what type of company are you, not which twin has the best skills.  You have an opening, and you want to fill it and get back to full speed ASAP, but stop thinking about next week.  When you hire, think about next year!  Will Tim or Tom still be with you?  Will Tim or Tom be a good addition to your team or a disrupter?

So, I have revealed my choice; I would always take the one with the better attitude, in this case Tim.  Even though he will hit the ground more slowly and require more training, Tim is the team player.  Unless you are hiring a specific talent, such as a degreed engineer in a specialized field, I always recommend the team player.  Attitude will please your customers.  Let Tony follow up on his training and check his installs until Tim knows your jobs. 

Ask yourself: If Tim or Tom could ever grow into a foreman’s role, which one is a natural leader and ask which twin will cause you more grief?  To me, then, Tim is the man. 

When you run into me, ask about the time that Tim and Tom walked into the bar.  It is a great story!

The Glass Mystery At Lindy’s Diner

Lindy’s Diner in Keene, New Hampshire has a problem with glass.  We’ll go there in a minute.  Lindy’s is famous for three things, their food, the wonderful waitresses and their control over the elections in New Hampshire and the United States.  (The waitresses all wear t-shirts with the saying, “Hot, fast and cheap”.  I hope they are talking about the food.)  According to the owner, Nancy, there has not been a candidate elected to any office, from President of the US, to the local school committee, who has not had breakfast at Lindy’s in the last twenty years.  100% sure to lose if you don’t go to Lindy’s.  If you were running for office, would you go against those odds?

The 2014 election season is starting and some folks are talking about 2016.  And the parade has started at Lindys.  Just the other day, my wife and I were having breakfast there and a Republican candidate for US Senate came in and spoke to each person there.  Very interesting actually.  This is local politics at its best.

But, what is this glass mystery?  I couldn’t help notice that one of the large windows in the front of Lindy’s was covered in duct tape on the inner lite of an IG unit.  Nancy asked me to take a look at it and give my advice.  She knew a glass expert when she saw one.  There was a run from the bottom to about three-quarters of the way up.  Annealed glass.  No impact points.  The run started below the sight line, and in fact, upon closer inspection, it looked like there was a screw in the inside wooden stop, just about where the run started.

I asked Nancy if this had happened before.  She said it had.  In fact, this same window broke a month after it was installed about a year ago, and the installer replaced it, splitting the cost with Nancy.  And now it is broken again.  It didn’t take a glass expert long to explain to Nancy that the screw point had put pressure on the glass and that is what caused the break.

Nancy asked if she should replace it again and I explained to her the advantage of changing to an aluminum store front instead of her old wooden one.  Energy savings up the wazoo, less condensation running down the glass, easier maintenance and cleaning, and with proper installation, no chance of this type of breakage again.

I gave her the names of two local glaziers who are really good with commercial work and went back to the world’s best homemade cinnamon raisin toast. 

If you are called to do a replacement at an old store front, don’t take the easy way out and just do the replacement.  Take the time to explain the benefits of a retrofit to thermally broken aluminum.  It is our job to teach our customers about energy savings and maintenance benefits.  We can’t take the easy way out and just do the replacement.  Selling the advantages of Low-E should be basic in every estimate you give.  Talk to your distributor and fabricator to get sales literature to leave with your quotes.  Learn it yourself, train your entire staff.  We’ll all be better off for it.