Part II – 5 Tips For Making People Decisions

Last week I shared my thoughts on the first two tips given my Dan Rockwell.

As a refresher, here are the original five (5) tips:

  1. Own poor people decisions: when someone doesn’t perform in a role, we put them there. Don’t blame.
  2. Start slow: test with small projects.
  3. Focus on character, capacity and drive: skill and talent don’t matter without these.
  4. Ask, “What would you do?”: explore how they think.
  5. Reject know-it-alls: humble is better than arrogant.

Today, I discuss the remaining three tips.

3. Skills Are Easy To Teach But Character Can Be An Indomable Beast

To use myself as an example, I am a fairly quick learner for many things. Sports, programming languages, math, computers, technical software, and many other subjects.

All of them are skills.

But something I haven’t been able to get good at after 10 years of trying is controlling my emotions when I speak.

Many will call this behavior poor emotional intelligence. This is related to character.

Character is challenging to teach because it is driven by a person’s core values and beliefs.

I value wisdom, courage, honesty, simplicity, and family. Since emotions are part of who I am, I will inevitably express them regardless of the circumstances in alignment with the values of courage and honesty.

If a company considers passionate discussions a negative behavior, then I am not a good fit. Regardless of how much time and money they spend trying to “fix” me, it is very unlikely I will change my values and beliefs.

The game is won by hiring the right people for the culture.

4. Stop Making It Your Problem

I used to do this a lot in my early days as a supervisor. The most common way I did it was by using the phrase “Can I drive?” and then proceed to take the computer mouse and keyboard and solver the problem for my staff.

Another way I did it was by quickly offering a solution to the problem without letting the other person think about it.

I didn’t take long for others to simply come back to me asking for me to “help” them with their problem.

Here’s a simple rule of thumb: whenever the other person ends up solving the problem by doing something I said or suggested, I have made their problem mine.

I say this because what’s the first thing they would say when something goes wrong? “I was just doing what I was told” or “I’m just doing my job.”

I see this happen daily and it is very subtle. What makes it worse is that our minds play the “I am just trying to help them” card.

5. A Learner Is Always Better

Someone who thinks to know everything and to always be right makes teamwork almost impossible. Here are a few reasons for it:

  • Since they “have all answers” it has to be their way.
  • Every decision becomes a confrontation to prove someone’s wrong.
  • They are too confident to learn anything new because they don’t need to.
  • They blaming everyone else when something goes wrong.

Ultimately, these people force the team to stay stagnant.

On the contrary, a learner is one who

  • Is open to change
  • Has enough confidence in themselves to admit they are wrong
  • Is willing to learn new things
  • Recognizes there is more than one way to solve the problem
  • Accepts to not necessarily have the best idea

Who would you like to have on your team?



Maybe the next time you have the urge to blame someone for their bad performance, you ask yourself what have you done to help them? Did you honestly try or did you just go through the motions?



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