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how to Build a Rock Star Team WIth 3c Employees

Every day, companies are becoming more cognizant of the fact that sustain­ing an organization’s health and productivity is not on the product itself, but rather it’s primarily dependent on building a solid team made up of great talent. And although finding and hiring “right fit” employees has always been the quest of companies, more than ever, leaders need to focus on surrounding themselves with an army of giants.


Brands today are only as good as the care and attention they put into en­suring that every employee has all three “C”s:

  • Competence

  • Character

  • Cultural Fit

It used to be that the first two “C”s were enough, but now you need all three: solid Competence, strong Character and a Cultural Fit. All of these are unseen qualities that will not necessarily show up on an application or a re­sume. Instead, these have to be discovered during the interview, onboard­ing and training processes. Let’s take a look at each:


This is the ability to actually do the job required. It is still vitally important, as you can’t just rely on your employees to smile their way to success or simply look good. You have to have faith that they can perform their assigned func­tions with excellence and take personal responsibility for helping the com­pany be successful. The basic tenant is: employees need to be able to do the gig. This is where previous experience—explored with some well-chosen interview questions regarding specific job tasks performed—can come into play. However, if the potential hire has no previous job experience in the position, he or she should at least have the capacity and willingness to learn the job. This too is part of Competence.


This is best described as trustworthiness—a person with “character” is worthy of another person’s trust. One would hope that a potential hire’s value ori­entation matches up with the brand’s, but there are some timeless principles that transcend any specific company or industry. Basic traits like honesty, professionalism and integrity are a few of the key elements any employer would want in an employee’s Character. It may be hard to pre-determine whether or not someone is willing to steal from you, likely to lie to you or will inevitably do something completely contrary to the company’s policies, but these are definitely detrimental to the trust factor. These are a few of the traits any employer would seek to weed out. Employees with high Character are self-managed, passionate about serving others and committed to the company’s mission.

Culture Fit

This is an employee’s ability to accurately and willing­ly represent the brand. An applicant’s ability to perpetuate the company culture is now as critical as any other hiring factor—perhaps even more so in some brands. Based on the potential hire’s personality, enthusiasm, appearance and answers to questions, both during the interview process and the initial training, a smart leader can tell if someone possesses the cultural DNA of the organization. It may be crystal clear to some managers that an applicant would be a perfect fit, but for others, it may just be a “gut” feel­ing. They might not be able to say why, but they know the company “juice” is running through the potential employee’s veins. This drive to hire culturally-sound employees wasn’t always a popular approach. In the past, most organizations focused more on a person’s ability to do the job, the amount of work experience he or she has accumulated and, as much as it’s possible to tell from an interview, the person’s general trustworthiness. Culture most likely wasn’t a huge factor in the hiring process, but it’s this unique element that is now in big demand. Cultural fit is not the only cherished characteristic in a potential hire, but it is a critical and equal part of the equation.

The Encore

If you were to study successful companies that are constantly in the news for their brand health—The Container Store, Five Guys Burgers,, Whole Foods, Hard Rock, Southwest Airlines, Salesforce, Chick-fil-A, etc.—you would notice that their strength isn’t solely rooted in their employees’ base skill-sets or job experience, but rather in the way those associates have magnificently represented the organizations’ values and overall culture. And so, there is a balance between all three “C”s. 

If you hire people that are missing one or two of these critical elements, then you will have inevitable problems. Everything from your recruiting ads to well-developed hiring profiles to a rigorous interview and training process should be geared to truly reflect, attract and match the candidates you want to embody your organization.

For companies to have any hope of reaching Nirvana in their desired results, they’re going to have to rely on the desired behaviors of a rock star team. And that starts with having 3C employees.

Amping Up Your Company Culture

Are you looking to build an iconic team, but not sure where to start, beyond the 3C's?

With over two decades of experience in transforming business challenges, my expertise in culture, leadership, service, engagement, and building teams is ready to turn your workplace into a thriving environment where everyone wants to be--employees and customers alike.

In-Person or Virtually. EDU-TAINMENT will be served.


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