Thursday, January 28, 2010

Who Should I Hire? Part 1

Hiring new people can be a very challenging endeavor. Not only does it take a tremendous amount of time, energy and often money, but the rate of success is just not that high, based on the numerous conversations I have had with executives and managers.

In this week's post I wanted to share with you one of the most important lessons I learned over my 15-year management career...hire for attitude and train for skills.

I have shared that tidbit with many people over the years and they usually nod their head slowly in agreement, yet the look in their eyes tells me they're still not convinced. The reason is that it is counter-intuitive in some ways.

For example, you have an open position. The fact that it is open often means that there are others who are carrying the weight of the duties and responsibilities of that position until it gets filled. Many times it ends up being you, the hiring manager, who is carrying the bulk of the weight. So, what you want more than anything is relief! You want someone who can step in, take the ball and run with it. That seems to be the best answer...but only in the short-run, as too many of us have learned.

"But you don't understand," you say. "Do you know how much work it takes to train someone? I don't have time for that, " you continue.

No, you don't understand. Do you know how much it will cost in time, energy and money if you hire the wrong person? I have heard some HR experts say that a bad hire can cost six times the person's salary, or more! Can you afford that?

From my experience, most bad hires are the result of a lack of fit within the culture rather than a lack of competence. They just don't get along with the team, don't work well within the established system, don't have the right work ethic, etc. The problem is one of attitude and behavior, not skills.

More next time...

Seize the day!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Getting Back At It

It has been a few weeks since I posted to this blog. The Christmas and New Years holidays, along with visits by family members and the beginning of a new year have kept me more than busy.
However, I am committed to getting back to my "at least every Thursday" schedule and look forward to the opportunity of interacting with you about topics concerning leadership and life in 2010.

Today was an exciting day! I had the pleasure of delivering my "Making Great Managers" seminar in its new, expanded format (i.e. full day). I had a great time interacting with those who attended as we discussed a very practical process for performance management. We covered: 1) laying the proper foundation for successful relationships, 2) how to have a consistent performance feedback and planning session that contributes toward the success of our employees, 3) how to use S.M.A.R.T. goals to fuel significant progress and 4) how to coach for performance in between feedback and planning session.

We shared a lot of stories about how we have seen these principles at work, and the negative effects of their absence.

What kind of environment are you creating for those you lead? What is the quality of your relationships with each of them? How well have you communicated your expectations to them? And, are you supporting them in achieving those expectations?

Seize the day!