One time I hired a friend to help me with a writing job. Then I fell hard for her. Then she got pregnant. Then she got an abortion without telling me.
Then I found out she also had another boyfriend. And, by the way, she did a horrible job for me.
In my first businesses, one of my partners was my sister. Ultimately she didn’t like one of my decisions and she quit.
Her last email to me was, “I never want to speak to you again for the rest of my life.”
And she has lived up to her word.
When you build a business, or you are doing work that is important to you: you shouldn’t hire people you love.
Because love might hide the things that are very important for you completing your job. I might love someone who can’t spell.
So I shouldn’t hire them to spellcheck.
Claudia, my wife, works with me on a lot of projects. We even do a podcast together.
But that was after years of relationship where we got to know each other and what we were good at and what we were bad at.
If I were to disappear tomorrow, she could probably pretend to be me. If she were to disappear tomorrow, I would be lost.
So she’s hired!
But, sadly, she can’t spellcheck.
But this post is not about hiring loved ones. It’s the reverse. It’s about finding the people you love by using a hiring process.
Recently I read the book “Who”. The authors had interviewed over 20 billionaires, 30 CEOS, and dozens of recruiting managers and then developed a process of hiring.
They then tested the process over and over again to see if it brought the right people into a business.
I don’t care at all about their process for hiring. I’m glad it works for them. Good luck.
When I read their book, I realized I used their process in personal relationships!
Wife, friends, work friends, close ties, weak ties, etc.
So here it is.
List all the features you want for a particular relationship.
Like, for a wife: I want someone who doesn’t cheat. For a friend, I want someone who doesn’t lie to me.
I make a list of ten things for each “position”.
When I was first dating after I got divorced I did not have a scorecard.
So I met women who were interested in all sorts of things that had no interest for me.
Women who were interested in dating other guys at the same time.
Women who were more focused on my belongings than who I was.
Women who liked me but wanted to see what else was better.
Women who wanted me to dress a certain way, or even women who wanted me to like having ten cats in my house and five babies.
I have nothing against any of these people. One woman I really liked once got super drunk at a party I invited her to. I have nothing against that.
But then her breasts fell out of her dress and she never noticed. I got her out of the party. And she kept laughing at me, “Your friends only like you because they think you have money. They’re idiots and you’re an idiot.”
And maybe she was right. But we broke up.
She is now happily with someone else high up in the banking industry and I am happy for her. She is also running her own company. Very successful and a very good person.
But not for me.
I was very very unhappy. I got drunk every night. I kept asking myself, “am I crazy? Does nobody exist who has the simple qualities I want?”
So I made a scorecard. I made my list.
Did I find her? I think I came pretty close.
Argentina was originally discovered by pirates escaping who needed a place to escape the British. Well, Claudia is my pirate and stole my heart.
I use a scorecard now for everything.
Friends, acquaintances, work friends (who are every bit as important to me as friends), people who I will do business with (who are also friends, else I won’t work with them. Period.), and so on.
It’s only in the past few years I’ve realized that each role has different criteria. If they don’t fit the criteria they are probably not good for that role. Probably not good for me.
For instance, friends around the neighborhood are different than work friends. Both are very important to me. But both have different roles.
Selfishly, I only want people around me who are good for me.
Is there anything wrong with that?
You can meet a woman in a bar. In a yoga class. Or a book club. Which would you choose?
It really depends on your scorecard above.
But just because you have a scorecard doesn’t mean you will find what you want. You also have to look in the right places.
Whenever I’ve looked in a bar, disaster resulted.
Whenever I’ve looked in a chess club, I’d only meet men (who became good friends).
I meet friends by making sure I go to places where the people have some similar values to me. So I don’t go to a hockey game (there might be good friends there but it’s not a good SOURCE).
Or I might go to a conference where people are focused on improving themselves. Or , to be honest, since I so freely express my own values in my writing I tend to like the people who gravitate to my writing.
There are a lot of studies that “weak ties” (not your close friends but people who might be friends of friends or acquaintances or Facebook friends, etc) are more beneficial for your career success than your “strong ties”.
I don’t know the reasons for this. We can all guess. But I spend a lot of time cultivating my weak ties. Being there for people who I barely know but maybe have that one moment where I can help.
I keep in touch with my weak ties.
This is also a great way to build the SOURCE for people who might later become strong ties. It’s worked for me many times now.
Also, if someone falls off the scorecard, it gives me a chance to distance myself while still having them in the pool of the source.
This all sounds very clinical. Ugh. Like science.
But I do wear a lab coat when I write. So I am Dr. Love.
You have a SCORECARD and a SOURCE. But not everyone in the source will fit what you want in your life.
There’s only so many “openings” to fill. You can’t have a room filled with great friends and lovers every day.
Maybe there’s only room for one lover. Three or four great friends. Ten medium great friends. And 100 weak ties.
So you want to make sure you Select well, given your scorecard and your source.
So I make lists of questions I want to know.
Given the 1000s of bad experiences I’ve had (see “face down drunk on Lexington Avenue at 3 in the morning” article or “the time I lost 7 million dollars in one day article”) I now make sure people meet the criteria.
Else, a lot of time, money, and heartbreak can be lost.
I hate heartbreak. And I hate losing time and money.
This doesn’t happen in one day, or in one interview. But many experiences with a person.
And since there are 7 billion people to mostly choose from, it’s not so bad if someone you think makes the cut, falls off after one or two strikes.
If you pick your Source correctly, then you have many people to go back to.
If you select your weak ties correctly, then there are many people to go back to.
One time I hired a friend to work for me at a company. Then I found out he went to my boss and tried to have me fired.
So, even though we had been friends for years, I made sure he got fired. Almost instantly.
There’s a saying, “Everyone deserves a second chance.”
My response to this…”not really.”
You have the right scorecard. You have the right Source. They’ve made it through the Selection process. Now what?
Well, you have to Sell them that YOU are a good person to love, to be friends with, to get to know better, to be a strong tie or a weak tie, or a help when they need it.
How do you do that? You can’t tell them. You can’t say, “You can trust me”.
That’s what real estate agents and stockbrokers say. Do you trust them?
You can only show by example.
I was talking to Tucker Max and Dr. Geoff Miller recently. They are about to come out with a book called “Mate”, about the evolutionary psychology behind how people choose their spouses (and other mating partners).
In the book they say that sometimes the most effective words you can say are not, “I love you” but “Don’t worry. I’ve got it.”
People want to know you are effective at what you say you can do.
That you are not the Emperor who wears no clothes.
That your word is gold.
That you don’t gossip about others (because then you might gossip later about them).
That you don’t take things personally when you shouldn’t (I often do that, and when I do – I’m very hard to deal with as Claudia tells me).
So you show, through time, that you are the person they want to be around.
My favorite technique. I always try to “over promise and over deliver“.
When I’m doing anything: a talk, an event, a book, a post, a trip, lending a helping hand, I always ask myself, “am I over promising and over delivering”.
Not under promise and over deliver. That’s for corporate losers.
Over promise and over deliver means you learn, other people get helped, and you exceed even your own expectations of what you can do in your life.
You become bigger. And you earn the trust of others. And it’s scary and hard and takes you out of your comfort zone.
So I guess it all boils down to what’s good for you. Even when you SELL, you do it by improving yourself.
I guess what I am saying is: I’m grateful this post is in your scorecard, in your source, that you’ve selected read it, and I hope I am over delivering.
I’m also grateful to the random people interviewed 30 CEOs and then wrote a book about it. They accidentally gave me a technique to find my loved ones.
Maybe you can use this to choose the people you surround yourself with. Try making the lists described above.
What’s your scorecard, your source, etc.
Or you can say, “this is garbage.”
But I hope we can be at least weak ties, and maybe friends.