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PKF Australia

Accountants and Business Advisers

People Matter: Who Are You Working With?

People Matter: Who Are You Working With?

Katie Dudley has recently joined PKF Sydney for a short stint from the USA’s Golden State, California.  Katie has a degree in Science, Technology and Society with a concentration in Communication and Media from Stanford University, where she also captained the Water Polo team and won two national championships. She shares some insights into recent recruitment trends in the USA.

Many people underestimate the impact that those around us have on our lives. In the workplace, this is magnified as crucial decisions are being made every day that affect the financial future of the company. It is imperative that the people you are hiring and working with welcome healthy competition, are always striving to learn more and can adapt to different environments and people.

People make or break a company, if you aren’t hiring the right people the future of your company is at risk. Keeping the wrong people is just as bad. Most of us have experienced working with negative, rude and lazy people who can negatively impact the entire organisation.

It is not always the organisations with the smartest people who succeed, but rather those who have the people who together create greatness, something often seen in sports. We see a team that is stacked with many of the best players, but another team can beat them with players who aren’t as talented, but who work together well. Successful sports teams and successful businesses have people with extremely similar traits. These include:

  • Being willing to go above and beyond to succeed;
  • Learning from those who were successful before them; and
  • Pushing the people on their team to continually improve.

When you think about your own company, are these the type of people you are working with? If not, do you need to consider changing your hiring process? Your company is either improving or getting worse, there is no staying the same. It is ultimately the people who are going to determine which way you are heading.

Continuing with the sports metaphor, you want people on your team who can score no matter who is defending against them and who lift the rest of the team. It’s the same in business. You want to work with people who are team orientated and are focused on not just their own success, but also that of the business. Additionally, you want people who are achievement orientated and resilient, both attributes common in elite athletes.

As an American collegiate athlete interviewing for jobs in my last year of college, I noticed how it wasn’t the school I went to or my major that attracted the attention of employers, but rather the fact that I was a Division 1 athlete. Recruiters were constantly saying how my athletic background would help me succeed in a position. 

This shows the trend of many US-based companies moving away from hiring the smartest people, to hiring the best team people. For this reason, many top companies such as Salesforce and Oracle have started to recruit ex-athletes to work for them. They may not be the smartest candidate, but they have and know the characteristics necessary to succeed. This new standard for hiring shows how much these companies value the future prosperity of their business – preparing the future generation is just as important as managing the present. 

Today’s businesses need people who can adapt to change quickly. “The only constant is change” is an ancient quote but increasingly more relative in today’s world. We need open-minded people who are willing to ask questions and change how they are doing things if there is a more effective way.  There is always going to be the unknown, but change isn’t scary if you are working with the right people. 


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