For many business leaders, the daily focus usually revolves around either marketing or operational activities with little if any thinking time given to what I consider to be the most important component of all organisations – their people and hence the culture.
Focusing on the needs of our clients is critical, but even more critical is the ability to find, attract, and keep great people.
Success in business is having the right person in the right job at the right time with the right skills to solve the right problem. In other words, finding a candidate who has close to a 100% chance of achieving the outcomes that only 10% of the candidates could achieve.
Going about finding ‘who’ has got very little to do with what is on one’s resume, yet many business managers make decisions based on the resume. I’ve yet to see a resume that truly reflects the strengths and weaknesses of a possible candidate. A resume is a record of a person’s career to date with all the accomplishments embellished and all the failures removed. So never base you decision primarily on what someone shows you on paper, otherwise all you are hiring is their resume only to realise you are getting them.
Fit Through Measurement
A better way to acquiring great people is to fashion a document that describes exactly what you want a person to accomplish in a role. This is not a job description but rather a set of outcomes and “core competencies” that define a job well done. Such a scorecard gives you a clear picture of what the person you are seeking to hire needs to be able to accomplish. In other words what does success look like in terms of a set of numbers examined weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
Together with a clear scoreboard, come up with 3 – 8 specific outcomes that a person must accomplish to achieve an “A” performance. In other words describe what the candidate must be able to accomplish within the long run (usually a 12 month timeframe).
Small Actions Matter
Not so long ago I made a decision to hire a consultant interstate. I recall his exemplary resume, with the healthy figures and lengthy list of accomplishment and competencies. It was dazzling to say the least. “I will do whatever it takes to make sure we succeed” he repeated over and over.
Yet something early on just was not right. My gut knew I had made the wrong choice because I had let my emotions make the decision. How did I know? Through him being late to our first two meetings without any reason. By failing to deliver on the small stuff, be it writing up a simple document as part of his role, failing to complete client work, and ignoring simple dress codes.
The Best Time To Let Someone Go
The best time to remove someone from the organisation is when it first crosses your mind.
I spoke about this recently in an open forum and recall receiving some push back from the audience stating it was somewhat cold and inhumane to let people go when you get that first inclination to do so. The fact is, however (and we all know it) that our high-quality people deliver consistent output with minimum fuss.
The hallmark of such people is that they are fully accountable for delivering agreed outcomes within a timely manner expressed through a clearly defined scoreboard. Any employee who thinks otherwise will set you and your organisation on a path to mediocrity. Gather great people. Why? They get the job done with minimum fuss and very little management from your end.
As a caveat always keep in mind that it is never what people say that matters. What matters is what they do. For their actions reflect their true values. Nobody is right or wrong. It is just that the person who promises you that they will set the world on fire cannot deliver simple tasks in your organisation, but will get up at three am for example to watch an international game of football. So take courage in the fact that when you let someone go, you are allowing them to align themselves with their true values, not only their words. Set them free, the earlier the better.
Be Like The Tide
All of us who lead businesses I am sure have gathered personnel who promised the world only to find the opposite. It is, I believe one of the great lessons in not only business but life. Surrounding yourself with the right people can save you decades of stress, lost profits, sleepless nights, and overall inertia.
Keep focused on finding the right candidates that fit your vision. Just like the tide, keep coming back with a resolve focused on building a highly accountable team that leads to a winning culture.
It can be somewhat challenging because we are tepid when it comes to hurting others self-esteem in the process of cutting them loose. However, business is not a charity nor a free ride. You owe it to yourself and the other winners in your organisation to build the culture through great people and nothing less.
So go ahead, drop the ‘turkeys’ and move forward with ‘eagles’ in both your business and in your life. The impact in doing so is immeasurable.