The year was 1979. I was a 17-year old working student in college. We just moved residence to Congressional Village in Project 8, Quezon City. My father was proud that finally, at age 50, he was able to buy a house and lot. He delegated the responsibility of hiring a driver to me. I accepted even if I have never hired anyone before.
Two applicants applied, I value the responsibility seriously and decided to use some criteria to shortlist my choice. The two applicants were actually poles apart when compared. One was very unassuming, not very articulate, short, overweight, wearing a T-shirt and his references were not known individuals. He asked me which car he would be driving and I showed him the green Toyota Corolla, the low end of all Toyotas. The other candidate was articulate, tall, slim, wearing barong and his work background includes working as driver-bodyguard of two politicians. I offered this second one a job immediately even if the starting salary, while complying with government wages, was not something an experienced driver would have accepted. I learned this from hindsight.
The driver and the car disappeared. It was an embarrassment for me that instead of reporting to my father that I hired an above average driver, I had to tell him what happened. While carnapping was considered, we just wished the driver did not get into an accident. A few days after we reported the lost car, we learned the car was found in Sta. Maria, Bulacan and the car was used as a getaway car for a crime.
I questioned my decision-making, or to be precise, I questioned the process of my decision-making. How could I have made better decisions? I now use the learnings to help clients make better marketing decision and do better execution, an important component translating strategy into something that adds value to both a firm and the customers and consumers.
Here are some things I learned in organizing, collaborating, and creating alliances with partners or even in every day routines.
1. Do not stereotype based on looks and speech. Many people are swayed when the person presenting is good-looking, friendly, articulate or is a good storyteller. While no doubt, likability improves rapport, fit is a better indicator. This requires pre-defining the competencies, behavior, and accomplishments one is looking for. I should have sensed something was not right when the experienced driver I hired agreed to an entry-level family driver, and an entry-level, second-hand car.
2. Criteria may be wrong. Having criteria is indispensable but it may be wrong. Confirmation bias may take over and we set criteria based on what we want instead of what is needed.
3. Delay intuition, validate. I could have exerted effort to back check or ask another opinion, instead of rushing to impress my father, but I did not. Today, I know the value of networking, and that I can just send a text message to someone I know to check on someone.
John 7:24 taught us “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment”.