There are two ways to build a team – hiring and training. The better the hiring, the less the training. The worse the hiring, the greater the training. Though training improves skill sets, it doesn’t change values or principles. It doesn’t change who we are. We don’t want others trying to change us and as leaders of our firms, we can’t expect to change others and it is presumptuous for us to try.

So to recap – we firm leaders can improve skills but can’t change who others are, their values and principles. You can, for example, improve your lawyers writing, oral advocacy and trial skills.

You cannot create confidence, grit, hunger, drive, and ambition. Your prospective hires have them or don’t based on who they are. Of course any one of us can choose to be any of these. But these choices are internal. Likewise, you cannot impose your values or principles on others. Your prospective hires are servant oriented or not, they are team players or not, they sacrifice or they don’t. Again, any of us can change our value system, our first principles, if we choose to, but the choice is ours, and we often resist others trying to change our values.

So we can change others’ skills, which is about 20% of who they are, but can’t change their values and principles, which is about 80% of who they are. Reflect on that for a moment – those we hire and add to our teams will, despite our best efforts, remain fundamentally the same. They will continue to live, work and operate by their personal belief and value systems.

Therefore, hiring is immensely more important than training. Hire the right people, and training supplements their fit for your firm. Hire the wrong people, and no amount of training will make them the proper fit for your firm.

So it comes down to hiring. In the interview process find out if the candidate:

  • Researched your firm’s mission, vision and values.
  • Understands them.
  • Shares them.
  • Lives by them.
  • Is committed to them.
  • Understands his or her role in making your vision and mission a reality.
  • Has a plan to turn your vision and mission a reality.
  • Take the time and energy to pick the right team members for your team. It’ll make all the difference in the world.