At one time Andrew Carnegie was the wealthiest man in America.
He came to America from Scotland as a small boy, did a variety of odd jobs, and eventually ended up as the largest steel manufacturer in the United States. At one time he had forty-three millionaires working for him. In those days being a millionaire was rare; conservatively speaking, a million dollars in his day would be equivalent to at least twenty million dollars today.
When a newspaper reporter asked Carnegie how he had hired forty-three millionaires, Carnegie responded that those men weren't millionaires when they started working for him but had become millionaires as a result.
The reporter's next question was, "How did you develop these men to become so valuable that you've paid them this much money?"
Carnegie replied that people are developed the same way gold is mined. Tons of dirt needs to be moved to find a single ounce of gold. But you don't go into a mine looking for dirt--you go looking for the gold.
That's exactly the way we managers need to view our people. Don't look for the flaws, warts, and blemishes--they're too easy to find and they're abundant.
Look for the unique expression of talent that caused you to hire a person in the first place.
It's a fact: you'll find exactly what you decide look for.
( "All Things Workplace" has been selected as one of the 10 finalists for the 2009 Best of Leadership Blogs competition hosted by the Kevin Eikenberry Group. It's an honor to be selected. If you are interested in voting for your favorite, please vote at Best Leadership Blog 2009 by July 31st.)