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 individuals competence. Rather, it is
merely a conclusion he would not make a good SSI staff member.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
staff members accurately understand and appreciate their skills and
limitations. 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
peoples 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.