Every employee doesn’t have to think like the boss

Learning how to choose my employees was probably the key factor in the success of Senior Planning Services.

When I started my business twenty­five years ago, I was willing to work around the clock to turn my vision of helping those who struggle because of aging into a reality. I realized early on that I had to carefully choose and hire capable people to help me. No matter what you may think going in, you need help as an entrepreneur, and you cannot shortcut the process. This strategy has allowed me to develop a staff I feel good about and can trust.

I have always been careful to find staff members who fit into the culture of my business and share my values. I always hire for character and integrity plus strong work ethic and genuine compassion for the people we work with. When in doubt, I always think: if something goes wrong, how would this look on the front page of the LA Times?

At first, I only hired people who had the same workstyle as I did. It seemed like a good idea because, as they say, great minds think alike and combining similar people at work clearly generates the most fruitful outcomes. Or so I thought until I hired a woman who was everything that I was not.

It turned out that having a completely different type of person in the team was incredibly beneficial for the business. I realized that her workstyle completed mine and we worked really well together. I started seeing the distinctions between us as advantages rather than obstacles. I learned that those who are different from us will be strong when we are weak and vice versa.

I recommend that you find the people who complete your business style, the ones that fill out the gaps in your team – the ones who can offer what you yourself do not have. This is how you lay the foundation for a business that will survive even the toughest challenges.

I’m proud to say that over the years Senior Planning Services has provided care for hundreds of Santa Barbara seniors and has been recognized for our outstanding work that goes above and beyond expectations. A great deal of our success is due to our diverse team who all don’t think just like me.

Suzanne McNeely

Suzanne McNeely is the founder of Senior Planning Services. She was the winner of the 2014 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards in Health. Learn more about Suzanne and her business >>

Written with the assistance of Nanna Strid. (nannamvs@gmail.com)