People decisions are, perhaps, the most important decisions we make. That is true whether we are selecting an employee, a business partner, a mate or a friend. Who we decide to take on the journey with us can ultimately determine our success in business, marriage and relationships. Making wise choices in the beginning provides a better chance of success in the end.

Understanding the WHY of an organization through determining the purpose is critical. Understanding WHAT the organization will produce, serve, sell is crucial. However, it is the WHO that actually produces, serves and sells. The WHO delivers! Purpose, strategy and tactics can be carved in granite and become somewhat static. The WHO is dynamic, ever changing, depending on the skills, talents, personalities, ideas and thinking involved.

There are 5 important steps to selecting the right WHO:

1. Carefully craft the profile of the role you wish to fill on your team. Consider current strengths and weaknesses and staff to the gaps. Use every hire as a chance to make adjustments of your team to maximize everyone’s talent.

2. Cast a wide net in search for candidates. Source candidates from different networks to generate a diverse candidate pool. Differences can energize a team and introduce new ideas. Sometimes, fresh ideas from different perspectives can stimulate a breakthrough to a new level of team performance.

3. Always check references. When properly conducted, referencing checking can be the most valuable tool in the selection toolbox. It has been said, “past performance is the best predictor of future performance.” If that is so, then fully understanding someone’s past performance gives you great information to choose the best candidate to help your team. Invest the necessary time to gain this helpful insight.

4. Encourage the candidate to carefully evaluate joining your team. The best people decisions, are the ones in which both the candidate and the team are certain it is a great fit. It is not enough for the leader to make a good decision to select talent. For long-term, successful relationships, the candidate must be sure it’s the best choice, too! Be sure the candidate gets an inside look at your organization . . . the good, the bad, the successes and the failures. Then, try to talk the candidate out of joining your team. If the potential team member can be talked out of it today, that is better than six months from now, when you have both made significant investments into forging the relationship.

5. Commit to success. Once you have decided and the candidate has accepted, commit yourself to the candidate’s success. Do whatever is necessary to leverage the investment you have made throughout the selection process. Implement a development plan for the new employee that leverages strengths that help the team succeed.

Surrounding ourselves with talented people whose character matches our own, whose competency matches our need and whose chemistry matches our team not only sets us up to win, but makes the endeavor much more enjoyable.