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“I can” over IQ

Our Commercial Division Manager Eric Branson recently attended a conference on leadership and development. "The speaker, Jamil Quereshi, was fantastic," says Eric. "A lot of what he said focused on how we [all] interact with our staff and our clients."

Just like everyone in a sales environment, we're always trying to work out how to communicate better; whether it's to our current or prospective staff, to our network of candidates seeking a new career move, or to our clients, who we work for sourcing great people and filling their roles. "But what really struck me about Quereshis talk," said Eric, "was his fundamental message – hire for 'I can' over 'IQ'."

Sometimes somewhat uncomfortably, given that we believe in the value of education, we have been saying for some years now that degrees and qualifications can be completely dwarfed by someone's desire to do their job. Personality, work ethic and motivation are prerequisites and often alone they will suffice. Arguably, governments nowadays are so caught up with international league tables that they encourage too many people to go to university. Perhaps this waters down the value of a degree and disillusions some people who should never have gone in the first place?

When we at Spinnaker recruit for some of the most senior roles in shipping, we often find that some of the most highly regarded names in the industry don't have a certificate to call their own, but they cannot be matched in terms of ability and success. They and many others we speak to say that they simply would not get through the door nowadays and that they were late starters, discovering their motivations after school age.

Are we missing a trick?

Talking of motivation, Quereshi also stressed that staff always need a purpose, to know that their mission – no matter what it is – is worthwhile. That's where rewarding for effort comes in – not just rewarding for outcome. "In our own business, we are always at pains to make sure our staff understand the importance of urgency," said Eric. "Speed is essential in any business. You have to be able to communicate swiftly or people will assume you're not interested or don't care."

Qureshi's summary? Don't let your ego get in the way of doing things for the client. Trust equals credibility plus keeping promises plus being likeable. Once you've got that combination sussed, you're golden.

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