I have learned a lot of lessons through my business career, but none of them more important than understanding the importance of unique abilities. Everyone has a unique ability, a natural skill set — a thing that they do better, faster or easier than most of their peers. It’s the one thing that you can do all day long and never gets old.
I learned the power and profitability of this concept in my first business detailing cars for the MPLS auto auction, starting in 1983. I hired my high school buddies and paid them $25 to detail the interior and exterior of cars. One guy could finish a car in about two hours, so that was great money back then. As business grew we decided to split up the work and pay $12.50 for an interior and $12.50 for an exterior. Under the new pay plan, the guys naturally gravitated towards performing the jobs that they did better and quicker. Seemed pretty straightforward to me. If you were faster detailing exteriors, you did exteriors; if you were faster detailing interiors, you did interiors. The result was that we completed more cars per week and the guys earned more money and had more fun working. I really didn’t comprehend the concept back then, as it just seemed to work. While a very basic example, the ability to utilize everyone’s unique ability within my little company delivered immediate and long-term results.
While as entrepreneurs, we naturally believe that we are good in every facet of our business, the reality is we need to hire people who have the unique abilities to be successful in their specific roles within the company. When we do, we build result-orientated organizations that are energized, operate more efficiently and have employees who are more satisfied and productive in their jobs.