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Last Update: Thursday September 23, 2021

Key Idea: Put What You Want In Writing

Tom Gegax, founder of TiresPlus, says that employees deserve to know exactly how you will measure their success.

Key Question:


Tom and Don formed TiresPlus University to teach new teammates what they need to know to be successful at TiresPlus. They are not very concerned with the knowledge that new employees bring to the company. Knowledge can be taught; the raw material is what Tom and Don care about.

Q:  Why is it helpful to have a written description of the type of person you want to hire?

A:  This many not be needed if you are the only person involved in the hiring process but as you grow, others must be engaged. However, being specific keeps you from falling for what could turn out to be a bad candidate.

TiresPlus is looking for COPS, people who are Caring, Optimistic, Passionate, Systems-disciplined and spirit filled. Finding the right kind of teammates is so important to Tom and Don that they pay a $500 referral fee to a teammate who successfully attracts another teammate to TiresPlus.Tom and Don's feelings are appropriate for any business. Who you hire is more important than what they know. True, training employees is time consuming and costly. But an employee who has the necessary skill set to jump in and needs no training is of little value if (s)he is not motivated, sensitive to customers' needs or a team player whom other employees have confidence in. Better to invest the time training the right person than offer the wrong person a position in your business.

Most companies, when advertising for a position, will include both job requirements and preferences. Requirements are the mandatory criteria that the person filling the position must meet. Skills or experience that are "preferred" indicate that all other things being equal, the applicant also meeting those criteria is more likely to be offered the position. Remember, though, that all other things are not equal. In the end, most companies have found that the intelligent and motivated applicant, who might require a more extensive training period than the applicant with more relevant experience, provides the business with a greater return on investment.

The next time you are hiring a new employee for your business, make two lists. One, list the required and preferred qualifications for the position. These are the technical criteria and required skill sets and will be included in the advertisement for the position. The second list, which you will review just prior to each interview for the position, will include the personal characteristics you would like to see in the new employee. These characteristics will include those most likely to ensure success for the company and the individual if they are appealing to your customer base and current employees. You can make that second list right now! 

Think about it

Do you have a written description of the type of person you want to hire? Do you have a list of the technical skills needed for each position? If not, do you think this would help you in the hiring process?

Clip from: The People Part

All around the World:  In this episode we explore what it takes to build a team. We talk to business owners in New York City, Stamford, Seattle, Chicago, Tucson, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Dallas, San Diego, and Las Cruces.

The first step in having a sustainable business is to hire good people who are able to carry on in your absence.  As a sole proprietor, we create a job for ourselves and work for our sub-contractors and suppliers.  When you become  an employer, you create jobs for others and put yourself in position to build a legacy and renewable asset.

If you believe your business concept is big enough to live beyond you and if you want to surround yourself with just the right people to make it happen, please study each key idea.

The more successful a business owner becomes, the more likely it is you will hear them say, "The single most important factor in this business is the people." By re-examining very specific parts of prior episodes of the show, we give you the very best thinking about what it takes to grow your business by hiring, training and inspiring others.  This positions you to turn over the leadership when you are ready to make a transition and go on to other projects.

All the key ideas and videos of this episode...
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Gegax Management & Tires Plus

Tom Gegax, founder

Gegax Management Systems
PO Box 16323
Minneapolis, MN 55416

Visit our web site:

Office: 612-920-5114

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Year Founded:

Put What You Want In Writing

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Tom Gegax and Don Gullet started Tires Plus in 1976. Both left Shell Oil and each put up their own cash to buy three gas stations which they converted to tire stores. When they sold the business in 2000, there were 150 stores with 2,000 employees generating 200 million in annual sales. Tom Gegax tells us what he thinks they did right.

HATTIE: What were some of the key decisions that that two of you made that you know now looking back were the right things to do?

TOM: Well, the decisions were: Have an environment that people were able to feel comfortable. Really spend money in having the store environment to look nice. Spend a lot of time, effort, and effort in hiring people that we call COPS -- people who are: Caring, Optimistic, Persistent, Passionate, System discipline and Spirit filled. So, we found people like that would come in and we trained them well.

Employee #2: The reason I'm here is I want to find out what makes.

TOM: (talking to his teammates) We have Tires Plus University, a place that takes what you're already able to do but enhances it. I sleep better at night seeing the quality in this room, because you're our future. This kind of goes in tandem, because the more that our company's reputation is built, the more people would want to be involved with.

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