Beef Tips

October 2016 Management Minute

“Define Quality”

by Chris Reinhardt, feedlot specialist

What makes a quality employee and team mate? Work ethic, intelligence, and integrity would likely all come to mind for most of us. But what about how a person contributes to the workplace environment? Mentoring of newer or younger team mates? How about creative problem solving skills? Any others?

I was recently asked to serve as a work reference for a colleague and was forced to consider all the many ways this person contributes to our organization. This provided me with an opportunity to define, or re-define, what it means to be a “quality employee”.

This person in question has all the “tangibles”, but also all of the “intangibles” as well. This person is what my baseball-loving friend would call “a five-tool player: can run, can field, has a good arm, and can hit for both average and for power.”

Billionaire business tycoon Warren Buffet is quoted as saying something to the effect of, “When hiring we look for integrity, intelligence, and work ethic. But if they don’t have integrity, we hope they’re also stupid and lazy or else they’ll rob us blind!” I guess the point is, as much as we all want to have 5-tool players, integrity may be the single greatest asset for an employee to possess. If there’s integrity, a person who lacks experience can be taught, and even a person who may not be intelligent can be taught some useful skills.

People with a high level of integrity do their best to get their job done to the best of their ability, but they also look for additional ways to contribute. They go outside their job duties to look for ways to make the organization better. They intentionally strive to make those around them better at their job and happier in the workplace and in their personal life.

In short, the high-integrity person is worth more to the organization than we can probably afford to pay them. If we have one, we need to hold on tight; they just don’t come along every day.


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