You can't build a great company without great people. But how do you know them when you see them? Over the past few years, a number of companies in a wide range of industries - from airlines to steel, computers to hotels - have asked themselves what separates their winners from their losers, good hires from bad, and they all arrived at the same answer: what people know is less important than who they are. Hiring, they believe, is not about finding people with the right experience; it's about finding people with the right mind-set. These companies hire for attitude and train for skill.
But this does not exempt the sane from a feeling of alarm when a madman who has composed a sublime poem, after explaining to them in the most logical fashion that he has been shut up by mistake through his wife's machinations, imploring them to intercede for him with the governor of the asylum, complaining of the promiscuous company that is forced upon him, concludes as follows: "You see that man in the courtyard, who I'm obliged to put up with; he thinks he's Jesus Christ. That should give you an idea of the sort of lunatics I've been shut up with: he can't be Jesus Christ, because I'm Jesus Christ!" A moment earlier, you were on the point of going to assure the psychiatrist that a mistake had been made. On hearing these words, even if you bear in mind the admirable poem at which this same man is working every day, you shrink from him. . . .
We have nothing to fear and a great deal to learn from trees, that vigorous and pacific tribe which without stint produces strengthening essences for us, soothing balms, and in whose gracious company we spend so many cool, silent and intimate hours.