The Co-Worker: The Quick And Dirty


You are starting a company with so much on your plate and not enough time in the day. You need help, but the process of finding competent people is a difficult and time consuming one. The interview process is harsh, but necessary, and ultimately you need to take the leap and give someone a try.

It can be brutal. And one must fail, oftentimes repeatedly, until you find men and women compatible with your philosophy.

My partner and I came up with a wish list of traits we would want from an ideal co-worker. If your co-worker has a few of these traits, you've got a good one.


The person should be smart. Now granted, there are times when you need to hire Uncle Dave's kid for a summer and he can barely provide a stream of vapor to a mirror if asked to, but generally a co-worker needs to be smart. A smart person can be taught processes you have in place and, hopefully, learn them quickly. If given the opportunity, they might even improve on the processes you have in place, but that would be a bonus. It is good enough that they are intelligent and can provide reasoned feedback and problem solving skills when asked.

Wear Many Hats

In any new business, there are so many twists and turns, so many unplanned and unforeseen circumstances, so many uncertainties, that you must have co-workers who aren't pigeon-holed into doing only one thing. If they need to do data entry, if they need to clean toilets, if they need to drive to the post office and figure out how to mail something, whatever, there will always be things out of their scope of work that arise. I am not suggesting you hire a receptionist who needs to figure out how to code the back end of your site, but there must be the willingness to wear more than one hat when coming into a new business. If someone doesn't understand this... show them the gate.

Bring Fresh Ideas/Innovate

You have plenty on your plate and you are not perfect nor do you have every answer under the sun. You are starting out, most likely doing something you have never done before. If I am one of my co-workers I would go home at night and figure out how to better the system or how to find a more clever way of doing things, something maybe the founders hadn't thought of. The ability to challenge yourself and come up with new ideas for a company makes you incredibly valuable. I am not suggesting every day come in with something new, pick your moments. But the quickest way to impress a boss is to show them you are thinking inquisitively about solutions to a company-wide problem or a new way of doing things. If you are merely collecting a paycheck, people will see right through you.


This goes without saying that you should strive to have mastery over what you do. How many times has someone had a great idea, but failed to execute? Or how many times have you showed someone how to do something, they do it and bring it back to you and you find the same or more mistakes? Speed, generally, does not impress the boss. Competence enables your co-workers to have trust in what you do and that they will not have to fix what you do. Which simply means more work for them.

While clearly not rocket science, finding these four simple traits in a co-worker and you will be well on your way to a successful business venture.

This post originally appeared on The Whole Magilla and was written by Chris Meyer, co-founder of

Follow Dean Sioukas on Twitter
Follow Magilla on Twitter