I proceeded on the strength of my salesman’s instinct and my subjective assessment of people. I have often been asked to explain the methods I use in choosing executives. My answers aren’t very satisfying; they don’t sound much different than the rules that students of business administration find in their basic textbooks.
It’s hard to come up with real answers because the weight of the judgement is not in the rule but in the application. As a result, I have sometimes been accused of being arbitrary.
It was believed that I once fired a member of our staff because he didn’t wear the right kind of hat and didn’t keep his shoes shined. I didn’t like those things things about the man, but those weren’t the reasons I fired him.
I just knew that he wasn’t right for us; he was prone to making mistakes, and the hat and the shoes were merely symptoms of his sloppy way of thinking.