Christopher Columbus, believing the world was round, thought the fastest way to India was to set sail westward. Looking for a water route to Asia, he would attempt this feat four times without success. Some political powers of his day would deem the trip a failure because the cost of the expedition was greater than the initial return for the expedition. Spain’s expenses for the trip were comparable to sending a man to the Moon in modern times. Initially, the Moon mission seemed like just a large expenditure of tax dollars for the purpose of bragging rights against the USSR, a bunch of tourists’ “We were here” photos, and a bag of rocks. Yet, when analyzing the return over time, the dividends are exponential. Because of Columbus, Spain laid claim to an entirely new continent filled with riches and natural resources. The Moon mission and space discovery has yielded 63,000 technologies, including the CAT scan, cordless tools, and the famous TANG breakfast drink.
Each day around the world, companies in pursuit of their dreams invest time and money into hiring new employees. Some of those candidates bring raw talent that can be easily cultivated. Others have experience and wisdom that can be appropriated to benefit all. Then, there are workers who have management asking themselves, “Why did we hire this person?”
Let’s first focus on the questionable hire. Many companies desire employees that fit their immediate needs and goals. These firms employ candidates with very little need for investment but have just enough production value so that the company can reach its immediate goal. This can be considered a failed hire because the person feels expendable. Like Columbus with a finite goal, it may take several attempts to hire the correct person before showing a return on time and investment. Therefore, if meeting the objective is the only desire, then residual dividends will be missed.
Typically, a new hire is unable to contribute to a company’s growth if he or she is compelled to perform a mundane job, making them a “punch-in, punch-out” employee. Hidden treasures await a visionary employer that seeks to unearth the potential of its “robot” hires. Cultivating dedication and providing challenges and opportunities for self-edification requires an understanding by both parties. First, the employer must establish the vision. Second, the candidate must be willing to be part of the vision, based on realistic expectations. The effect of such a union can be infectious and create a positive buzz within the company.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” It is the dream of being more that compelled Columbus to cross the Atlantic. It took collaboration for the Apollo program to reach the moon. From these brave endeavors have come millions of possibilities, jobs, and opportunities.