To join the SSI staff, a potential member
has to have substantial qualifications
for the position of interest. Agencies typically set minimum qualifications for
positions. This means the positions are open to people who are just barely
qualified. Throughout the agency, then, someone who is just barely qualified -
and most likely, sometimes by someone who is not qualified – may deliver
virtually any service. These services range from counseling to secretarial,
from assessment to network management. We have to be able to assure the people
who use SSI services, either internally or externally, that staff members who
are substantially qualified to provide them are delivering those services. The
best way to make this assurance is to only have staff members who are clearly
qualified to do what they do – people who are substantially qualified for the
position they hold.

SSI staff members are clearly qualified to
provide the services they provide. They are, in turn, allowed to provide those
services with a minimum of supervision and direction. They function relatively
autonomously and independently, so long as they function within the expected,
functional parameters. Within limits, they can do what they think is reasonable
and appropriate. Given this level of discretion and flexibility, there are additional
criteria SSI uses to select staff members. They are included below. Each
criterion is required. If the prospective staff member does not meet the
criterion, he quite simply is not likely to succeed within the SSI eco
system. This is not a judgment about the individual’s competence. Rather, it is
merely a conclusion he would not make a good SSI staff member.

  1. SSI
    staff members
    have a clear vision, a clear sense of mission.
    The most successful SSI staff members have a clear vision of their mission,
    why they do what they do. They know they are not experts at everything and
    do not profess to have all of the answers. Even with this limitation, they
    are clear about why they do what they do.
  2. SSI
    staff members
    value those who make the journey with them. For
    those who choose to be part of SSI’s internal eco system, they are valued
    and what they do is recognized and appreciated. They, as individuals,
    matter and what they do matters.
  3. SSI
    staff members
    commit themselves to excellence. SSI is not
    merely succeeding, it excels. Being an SSI staff member guarantees being a
    valued member of a human services team committed to doing the right things
    right, the first time, on time, every time, one client at a time.
  4. SSI
    staff members
    appreciate where and how they fit in. An SSI
    staff member knows his primary role is to help others succeed. His task is
    to provide for other people the best possible opportunity to get where
    they are committed to going.
  5. SSI
    staff members
    play by the rules. They respect the rules and
    expect others associated with SSI to do likewise. We have undoubtedly all
    run across the person who believes he is above everyone else. People like
    this think rules are for other people and what they want and do are
    exceptions to any rules or established procedures. Excellence is not
    something they have thought about a lot. Fortunately, they are very far
    away from ever being invited to join the SSI staff.
  6. SSI
    staff members
    do not pass their frustrations and negative feelings
    along to others.
    What do they do with their frustrations and negative
    feelings if they do not pass them along to others? They proactively share
    them only with people who have a need to know about their perceptions and
    who can do something about the underlying problems or issues.
  7. SSI
    staff members
    are positive and energetic whether things are
    going well or going badly.
    Bad news certainly does not suddenly
    energize SSI staff members. Neither do they take their frustrations and
    annoyances out on everyone else. They understand their attitudes and commitments
    are their responsibilities; thus, they make the extra effort needed to
    assure they are at their best, every day, every time, no exceptions, no
  8. SSI
    staff members
    accurately understand and appreciate their skills and
    Knowing what they do well and then doing it well are
    among the SSI staff members’ strongest assets. They understand SSI cannot
    excel unless everyone spends most of his time doing what he does
  9. SSI
    staff members
    are timely in all they do. For SSI staff
    members, being timely is mostly a matter of respect. They cannot always be
    on time and do everything on time every time but it is nonetheless a major
    priority for them. If we are expecting them to be somewhere at a specific
    time, they are there. If they commit to doing something, the job is done,
    on time, every time.
  10. SSI
    staff members
    pitch in and do what needs to be done. They are
    doers. They can always be counted on to do what needs to be done and to
    give whatever they do their best effort.
  11. SSI
    staff members
    keep focus on getting the job done. They do not
    get into being negative and depressed about things. They accept personal
    responsibility for their attitudes and behavior. They know too it is easy
    to lose focus, to lose track of the goal.
  12. SSI
    staff members
    have faith in those who make the journey with them.
    This starts with not reflexively blaming or accusing someone whenever
    there is a problem. That initial level of faith is followed by believing
    people are normally honest and trustworthy. Assuming others are honest and
    trustworthy allows SSI staff members to comfortably collaborate with them.
    Together, in the spirit of trust and good faith, they can best understand
    the problem and how to reduce the likelihood of its recurring.
  13. SSI
    staff members
    take even minor complaints seriously. This is
    based on the fact people seldom complain unless there is a real issue. SSI
    staff members know, as well, people who are complaining usually want to be
    heard at least as much as they want something specific done, and sometimes
    more. Put these two truths together and we can see the strategy: There
    likely is a real issue. + People want to be heard. = Always take time to
    seriously listen.
  14. SSI
    staff members
    are open to ideas and suggestions from anyone. They
    seek out
    ideas and suggestions everywhere, from everyone. They try to
    learn something from every idea, every suggestion, whomever its source.
    They listen and then they learn.
  15. SSI
    staff members
    understand problems and issues from other people’s
    points of view.
    We all have told someone about how a problem or issue
    looks from our point of view only to be told I don’t see it that way.
    Let me tell you what the real issues are here.
    What is the not so
    subtle message? You’ve got this all wrong. It’s not that way at all. This
    kind of demeaning approach is never heard from SSI staff members. Such
    disrespect is not their style. More importantly, they know by using that
    approach, they lose. Just as they get most of their ideas from other
    people, they get most of their insights and new perspectives from other
    people too. They take time to understand other perspectives, to get other
    people’s read on things. When they walk away, they have more of what they
    need. They have what they know and now also have part of what the other
    person knows too.