Anthony Tjan is author of “Good People: The Only Leadership Decision That Really Matters.” He is CEO and managing partner of Cue Ball and has a successful track record as an entrepreneur, principal investor and strategic advisor. He leads his firms overall direction and is involved in activities across the board with Cue Ball. What was the progression in Anthony’s life that brought him to where he is now? Anthony is an immigrant and experienced a great amount of generosity throughout the years aimed at him and his family. He shares a story of being 15, selling picture frames in Canada. At the end of a long hot day of lugging around picture frames an elderly women invited him in for some tea. She finished their conversation saying, “As you go forward just make sure, as much as you love the product you are selling, you love the people more.” She ended telling him, “Just so you know, I believe in you.” This woman and that conversation resonated with him and set the stage for his leadership philosophy. Anthony moves on to discuss the building blocks of a great company. Most have trouble looking at life or a business as a marathon. Biases give us a sprint based mentality and more often than not it can be detrimental. When choosing a hire, hire someone with character over competency. Skills can quickly be taught, character cannot. Of course, there needs to be a level of competency but a person needs compassion, empathy, and overall great character. Competition and compassion can be enforced together and we don’t need to lose one to gain the other. Shedding drama from your life and company is also mission critical and goes back to hiring based on character. Drama is a disease. When hiring someone, always ask yourself, “Is this person going to act or react?” After every interview Anthony says to ask yourself a few things: 1. Would you want to hangout with this person outside of work? 2. Do you respect the persons work? 3. Would this be a person you would be proud of? 4. Throw out reference checks. Ask them to give two or three examples of lower level people who they have influenced. If you are in the being hired phase of your life rather than the hiring phase, you may be asking, “How do I get started?” Anthony’s #1 piece of advice is to find a good mentor to model after. Mentorship is a tricky thing though, so how should young people today navigate gaining a mentorship? All mentorships begin with a baseline of chemistry. If that isn’t there, it can turn into a negative experience rather than positive. Great mentorship is also about breaking down titles and speaking to each other on a human to human level. Also, the best mentors don’t just try and help you in the confines of your work. Mentors should not only be helping you out in business but also helping to find your calling or higher purpose.
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