May 19, 2004

The importance of Enthusiasm

I sold my company, Cleyal (the link is taken from the Internet Archive wayback machine), to Sapiens in 1998, after running it (with two partners) for seven years. In the years since then, I’ve had plenty of time to contemplate my sins – and also the things I did right.

One of the things I did right, which I wasn’t consciously aware of at the time, but which I intend to make official policy in my next start-up, was an emphasis on enthusiasm. In my opinion the most important things determining an employee’s productivity are:

1. Enthusiasm
2. Ability
3. Experience

In that order. Enthusiasm will carry you far, even if you are somewhat lacking in ability or experience. On the other hand, an employee without enthusiasm can be worse than useless, no matter ability and experience.

One of the side effects of recognizing the importance of enthusiasm is that it makes it very easy to fire people. I had to fire quite a few people over the course of seven years, and was able to remain friends with almost all of them. With one exception, all I needed to do was say, “it looks like you're not enjoying your job.” We would then seriously try to find a way to fix the problem. Usually it wouldn’t work out, and we’d both agree that it was in everyone’s best interest for the employee to work elsewhere.

Posted by David Boxenhorn at May 19, 2004 12:00 PM
Comments & Trackbacks

David, nudge, nudge, wink, wink :), I'm actually more interested in what you consider the things you did wrong. Seriously. We often learn more from our mistakes then our successes.

Posted by: Scott at May 19, 2004 03:22 PM Permalink

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