Mining People Matters

Steve Heather

Steve Heather, Managing Director and Co-founder of Mining People International (MPi).

A wine bar theory every mining industry leader needs

White wine in a wine glass
'Wine Bar Theory' is a book with fantastic tips for anyone leading a business.

Mining recruitment: Here's why cheap people are rarely cheap and expensive people are often not expensive at all.

Here’s a truism in business: Cheap people are rarely cheap and expensive people are often not expensive.

As the mining and staffing industries recover from years of malaise, there is going to be a different set of challenges confronting business leaders navigating through new eras of public listings, mergers and acquisitions and the more rapid incorporation of technology. Added into that mix is, as ever, the challenge of hiring the right people.

A terrific little book on these topics — and how as a leader you can create effective environments for people to excel — found its way into my Christmas stocking a couple of years back. Here is the précis from the book’s introduction on Amazon:

Wine Bar Theory  is an attitude and an approach to work. It’s not about cutting corners; it’s about wanting the very best and not settling for less. It’s a theory that can pave your road to success.

Author David Gilbertson built a failing company into multi-billion dollar business without waking up at 4am or working until midnight. He knows how to work better and get great results. In this pocket-sized book, Gilbertson distils the secrets of his success into 28 simple rules, building a compelling narrative on how to achieve one’s goals while still having time to join friends at the wine bar.

Covering workplace issues and business strategy, Wine Bar Theory offers accessible, everyday strategies for creative professionals, entrepreneurs, students, and anyone looking to get ahead in life.

The book really resonated with me, so I made a list of my own simple takeaways. Now seems like the right time to share them. So, here they are.

About Culture

Successful small companies make their people feel big, powerful and quick and have people say:

  • We all get involved
  • We’re passionate about our product
  • We want to delight our customers.

About Leadership

  • Lead more; manage less
  • Be open. There is no question a leader should not be prepared to answer
  • Leaders create inspiring places to work. They ask simple questions and engage constantly to bring about change.

About Hiring

  • Hire smarter people
  • Hire specialists. Very few people are good at lots of things
  • Hire the tea boy and promote talent
  • If you need to hire from outside, beware the ‘plausible idiot’
  • Cheap people are often not cheap. Expensive people are often not expensive
  • One expensive person will do more in one day than two cheap people in two days
  • Competent people win you time. (Note to self: an incompetent executive can make a $1,000,000 misjudgement in their first hour on the job)
  • Cheap people don’t save money; they cost you revenue
  • Hire plenty of challengers who demand better ways.

You can get David Gilbertson’s Wine Bar Theory here.

Steve Heather signature
Steve Heather – BAppSc (Mining Engineering) WASM, FRCSA

Managing Director & Principal Executive Search - Mining People International (MPi)

Fellow/National Board Member – Recruitment, Consulting & Staffing Association Aust. & N.Z. (RCSA)

[email protected]