I always hire for unity first.
Because there is something much more vital than productivity to the success of a work environment: unity. Will this person fit in, get along, and bring the unity of the team up a notch? It’s not until that question is answered that I then look for teachability and, lastly, talent. (But that’s a different blog post.)
Our culture is borderline obsessed with the focus on productivity and getting things done. And while I am certainly an advocate for those, at my office, and on my team, unity is far more valuable than productivity. Where there’s unity there’s people who love their job. And a lover will always out-work a worker.
Unity encourages discovery, too. Unity means I’ve got your back and you’ve got mine. When you feel safe around your team then you’ll go ahead and try out that crazy, out-of-the-box idea of yours. If you were afraid of your peers criticizing you, then you’d probably stick to what is safe and boring. Unity and trust amongst your team means you’re safe to fail. Which means there’s a far greater chance of something truly amazing happening.