This is part one of a two-part series on beam holders. Read on to find out what that is, and how you can find them.
I love it when I come across a new phrase in business. Especially one that describes someone or something that I encounter frequently and can then use myself.
I recently came across such a useful phrase as I was reading an interview with Sharon Sloane, chief executive of Will Interactive, a company that makes training videos.
Her interview was in Corner Office, the weekly NYT column by Adam Bryant. He asked her what she looks for when she hires people.
She responded that she looks for “beam holders.” By that she meant, “Someone who feels personally responsible for the welfare and growth of the company and will do whatever it takes.”
She explained that she wants people who are personally invested in the success of the company and are willing to go the extra mile.
You know the type she is talking about. The ones who stay late for days to make sure a deadline is met. The manager who picks up trash off the warehouse floor when he is walking around or steps up to help a customer when the line is too long. The customer service rep that stays on the phone after her shift has ended to make sure a customer is satisfied.
You will never hear a beam holder say, “That’s not my job.” If it helps the business succeed, a beam holder will take care of what needs doing at that moment, whether it falls within her job duties or not.
This person will also not say, “I don’t have time to do that.” If time is an issue, the beam holder will take responsibility for finding someone who can handle the task or project.
I look for those types of people too when I go into an organization because they are the ones who will help me pull it out of trouble. I refer to them as Super Stars in Game Breaking Positions. They aren’t hard to spot. In fact, I can generally tell within just a few minutes whether I’m talking to a beam holder or not.
These are the folks that have taken on additional responsibility for no extra pay when the company was downsized. These are the people who still show passion for the company they work for. Despite often being mistreated, unappreciated and expected to do more with less, they are still loyal to their companies and want to see them succeed.
I’ve encountered beam holders at all levels of an organization. Sometimes the CEO has pretty much thrown in the towel, but he has people in the warehouse who are still busting their butts every week to make the delivery schedule and customer service personnel who still do their best to handle the increasing customer complaints.
Sometimes beam holders may be the silent ones, initially hesitant to talk to me. It’s because they have been punished for speaking out before, or labeled difficult when they pointed out problems with the way the company was run. These people are sometimes the unhappiest because they know how the company could and should be run better. It bothers them immensely to see how far off track it’s gotten.
Beam holders are the people you want in your business — in good times and in bad. They will devote themselves to the company and do their best to see it succeed.
Come back for part two when I discuss how to find and hire beam holders for your business — how you can get those Super Stars in Game Breaking Positions.