Great businesses have great people, and every growing business is always looking for more. The people you need to grow your business may be full time employees, part-timers, contractors, virtual types, vendors and suppliers, partners and advisors — all types of people. But finding great people can be a formidable task. Human resources experts tell us that if you’re successful more than 50% of the time with your people selections, i.e. half work out and half don’t, you’re doing pretty well. Argghh! Those are tough statistics for a business leader to swallow. They equate to a lot of wasted time and resources. So can you improve upon those statistics? I think so – dramatically in fact – and here’s how.

First, change your focus from finding great technical skills in people to finding great people. Now, I’m not devaluing technical skills. If you’re looking for an accountant, engineer, CSR, underwriter, unit manager, assistant, copywriter, etc., they certainly need to know their stuff. But that’s simply a requisite to work with you. It’s not the principle reason for you to cement a relationship; that requires much more.

Second, identify those characteristics that really make people great in a business environment. Those things that enable them to add value to your business and to your relationships. A few characteristics that you’re not likely to find on a typical performance criteria list, but you will find in great people, are:

Learning Agility

– the ability and willingness of an individual to learn new material and adapt to new situations. As a business leader, you’re committed to life-long learning; you know it’s a requirement for success. Surrounding yourself with people who are eager to learn more, especially about your business and challenges, can only increase the value of your products and services.

Desire to Engage

– a willingness and appetite to immerse oneself in the task at hand and the key priorities and conditions of the business. “That’s not my job” or “I don’t do that” just won’t cut it in a dynamic business. Success in business means meeting all the challenges that are thrown at you. It sure helps to have as many people as possible who are willing and enthusiastic about helping you with those challenges.

Emotional Intelligence

– the ability, capacity, or skill to perceive, assess, and manage the emotions of one’s self, of others, and of groups in a healthy and productive manner. Read: no adolescents allowed, and tantrums and hissy fits will not be tolerated. People must work together, as a high-performance team, to maximize the effectiveness of your business. Great people don’t get hung up with personal issues; they just get on with it and enjoy doing so.

Problem Solving

– the ability to think, reason, and get answers to questions through a conscious, organized process. This is an attitude as well as a process. Great people are solution-oriented versus problem-oriented, choosing to search for alternatives when encountering problems rather than being stopped in their tracks by obstacles. When encountered, though, the problem glass is viewed as half-full rather than half-empty, and great people will find several ways to fill it.

I’m sure you could add a few more from your experience, but these four characteristics are quite powerful. You might even call them “success factors,” because people that have them are typically very successful in whatever job they have or business they lead. Working with such successful people can only help you with your success as well.

Finally, incorporate these success factors into everything that you do. You’ll find that by modeling them you won’’t have to work quite as hard at finding great people; you’ll attract them to you.