Salt Thrower: (noun)

Indispensible workers who are willing to do what it takes to help the company succeed even in the most difficult times.  Those who pick up the slack when the organization is forced to cut back; those whose ideas save time, money, and effort; those with a positive outlook who help keep the organization moving forward.

I was talking business with two of my friends the other night.  One is the owner of a Cincinnati based parenting publication.  She was struggling with a decision on hiring a candidate for a new managing editor position.  She has a small but committed staff who create a monthly magazine with a healthy readership.  She couldn’t afford to make the wrong decision on this position.

“Every position counts and there is no room for error”, she said.

“Ask her,” I said, “if there were ice on the entrance steps at your office, would she be willing to throw down salt before the other employees or patrons got there?”  She looked at me curiously.  I continued.  “From what I am hearing you need a leader as well as a team player.  Someone who will pitch in and do what it takes to make sure the business and the team succeed.  Someone who doesn’t think a task is beneath them and is flexible enough to go the extra mile when it is needed.”

“Yes, that’s it exactly!” she said.” I need someone who is willing to throw the salt.”

How does a culture begin to exist in an organization?  The vision has to start from the top and it has to be has been created intentionally.  If I stopped one of our associates in the hallway and asked them, ”Why do you stay with Tx:Team?”,  what would be their answer?  If I asked one of our associates to name the values of our company, would those answers be the same?  Culture must be reinforced by communicating frequently.  It must be reinforced by clear expectations that are upheld by everyone in the organization.  It must be reinforced by constantly recruiting and attracting the high performers I want in my business.

“So did you hire that candidate?” I asked my friend a few weeks later on the phone.  “No, I found out she wasn’t willing to throw the salt.” she said.

~Carroll Nelligan, MHA, OTR, President


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