A team is only as strong as its weakest player, so it’s critical for businesses to hire the right people to ensure success and longevity.
That’s the belief of Are Media Chief Executive Officer Jane Huxley, who focuses on hiring people with select personality traits that suggest they will be successful and help drive the magazine publisher forward.
“My fundamental belief is that if you get the people in the business right, the business is going to be successful,” Jane says.
“Frankly, I think that spans all industries, whether it’s a small business or a big business.”
Speaking as part of Elite Agent’s 33-hour, continuous Zoomathon training session in February this year, Jane, who previously held managerial positions at Spotify, Pandora and Microsoft, identifies four key traits that give her confidence a new hire is going to be a good fit for the business.
“The people I am looking for I would describe as hunters, chameleons, jesters and weebles,” she says.
Jane says hunters are people who get on the front foot and go looking for opportunities.
“A hunter is hungry and gets up out of their chair and gets stuff done,” she explains.
“You need gatherers at times in the lifecycle of a company, but a hunter is such a core characteristic of a startup, people who are doing business development or people who are under threat in their industry.”
Along with hunters, every business needs chameleons, according to Jane.
She says their ability to change and adapt quickly is essential, and they can help bring slower adopters in the team up to the plate.
“Chameleons walk into the room and figure out what role they’re playing really quickly,” she says.
“When you’re starting in a new company, their job description might read one thing, and we all know that lasts about two weeks. Chameleons are adaptable, flexible, tenacious, all of those things that are chameleons are known for.”
While all businesses need people who take action, the workplace also needs to be an environment that is enjoyable to work in, according to Jane.
That’s where jesters come in.
“The last two years have been challenging and the jester is someone who just has a laugh,” she explains.
“Whether it’s self-deprecating or enjoying a laugh with the team, it’s just the absurdity that we live with; we just have to have a jester.”
Jane believes in creating a positive workplace culture and jesters can assist with that.
She says having a drink at a bar with colleagues, getting real with people and having fun while doing it can help build team camaraderie.
“We’re engaged in work for so much of the week, it goes back to if you don’t love what you’re doing, you need to think about why you’re doing it,” she says.
“There are fundamental questions, and looking at the great reassessment, people are drawn to companies where they can just kick back a little.”
The final trait of successful people is what Jane labels the weebles, based on the toy from the UK.
“The tagline from the weebles was, ‘weebles wobble, but we don’t fall down’,” she explains.
“You can poke them and they get back up again – that is such a critical thing that we look for, especially in the young ones coming up.
“It’s hard, get back up again – resilience, tenacity, getting on with it, finding creative solutions and being supported by people around.”
Jane describes herself as a combination of all four personality traits, but since moving into executive-level positions, she has been forced to adapt further.
“I describe myself now as a storyteller and I’m also a weaver – my job is to weave people and teams and ideas together,” she says.
“And I’m a sheepdog. What I do is I race around the outside of the company and just gently move them from this paddock to that paddock.”
“But I’m always a Weeble.”