Posts tagged ‘hiring’
For the start up, every person and every advisor you need to hire represents a critical commitment of your company’s available time and cash. In essence, you trade those resources for the knowledge and skill (intellectual assets), contacts (social capital), and the pure energy, ideas, and actions you expect that person to bring to your budding organization.
But what if you could get some of same resources without having to give up any of your precious start-up funds?
You can – if you put your customers – and those who you’d like to have as customers – on your team! Here are three ways to start:
1. Stop thinking of customers as ‘them’. Customers are stakeholders who can help you move and shape your vision. Try posing a provocative question that will trigger thoughtful responses. For instance, my company created a completely new way to predict how people perform in teams–but we were struggling to find a way to properly present it. So I started asking, ‘Why do people say they want team players, and then hire people who aren’t?’ Instant reaction! We not only got some great feedback, but some of our customers even went out and recruited other customers for us!
When a company is in the early stages of development, input from vision-oriented people can be especially valuable, and ‘Vision’ people are intrigued by big-picture questions. They’ll probably give you good advice, so make sure you let them know how you’ve used it.
2. Add some customers to the marketing R&D team. Find a low-risk way–if you can–to get them engaged in using your product in a way that will deliver real business value. If you know they have a problem that your product can solve, let them apply your solution (at least once) at no charge. We learned pretty quickly that if we gave people enough product to use for one solution, they would experience the value of a pre-hire positive I.D. on real team-players, and it would bring them back for more.
3. Give someone a reason to feel good! It was Benjamin Franklin who said “If you want to make a friend, ask a favor.” Good team players actually LIKE to help others out. Whether you need a source of information, a second opinion, a pep talk, or some help getting something done but no resources to pay for it, there’s probably someone who will take on that job and be happy to share with you what they’ve found. But not until you ask! Just be sure to let them know how valuable their input is and be very clear in letting them know that when they need your help for something, you will give it gladly. You’ll end up just a little bit closer to someone who now feels they have a stake in your success. Remember, people who are good at finding things you need are also good at finding people who need exactly what you are selling.
So how’s business? How’s your team? Are you working with them…or without them?
(This post originally appeared in Innovation DAILY, May 17, 2010)
Sometimes someone in a group email discussion says something so well, you have to wonder why they haven’t been blogging about it. Mark Talaba, blogger at Talabesian-Coordinates had this to contribute on the issue of experience as an indicator in hiring decisions:
“Some people – in the process of acquiring experience – have made lot of other people miserable, and have caused teams to underperform. Such persons may yet have a ‘history of success’ – but as success can arise from many factors, not the least of which is a team’s ability to perform despite handicaps, even successful exploits are not a reliable indicator.
“One real tragedy of making “experience” a primary indicator in hiring decisions is that, during the past 20 years, there has been such fluidity in the job market that some really bad team players have had the opportunity to turn a series of short-term jobs (which used to be a red flag) into an enticing story of “broad-based experience.” (A good topic for some investigative reporting!)
“As the concept of Coherent Human Infrastructure takes root, and as organizations come to realize that Coherence and Role are the ‘missing pieces’ of the Quality-of-Hire/Talent Management puzzle, I believe that demand for a pre-hire assessment of ‘teaming characteristics’ will grow exponentially.”
I have to agree. It’s pretty well known in entrepreneur circles that many of the CEOs who’ve failed in that job a few times are more desirable recruits than the virgins, at least to less Coherent VCs. In contrast, the interns, collectively, have virtually no experience. It’s their teaming and their Coherency that make them so amazingly productive. (Another episode of The Intern Diaries will be here shortly…)
Around the fourth day after Mr. Sperm meets Miss Egg, differentiation begins. (If you slept through high school biology, differentiation is when cells start to get specialized.)
Ok, biology lesson is over. I was just mulling over how week four of the Interns could be subtitled, The Week of Differentiation. It isn’t that they weren’t fully formed individuals when they arrived. It’s how we see them and assign work to them that’s undergone some subtle changes.
Lindsay is continuing to work on social marketing optimization because she’s a star Communicator. Not surprising. This line from her Role-Based Assessment pretty well covers why I wanted her for this project:
She will quickly make contacts throughout the organization and get to know almost everyone. She is especially cooperative and will also try to do almost anything she is asked to do. Her focus is on interpersonal interaction and trying to get everyone to work together harmoniously. She won’t do this by direct means but by attempting to broker the arrangements that bring people together in a positive manner. As a result, she is likely to be respected by those she has contact with.
But we needed to get the database cleaned up so despite the fact that she also had this in her report: “She will not want to do organizational tasks…”, there she was in the conference room with some others, working on exactly that task, with music emanating from someone’s laptop, a pile of snacks, and the sunniest of good natures.
Meanwhile, Kartik, the Action Former, whose report included the following, managed to reorganize, clean up, and optimize my consultant certification files. Here’s Kartik in a nutshell:
This candidate is the type of employee who can be found in the front of the group with marker in hand, developing a list of things that need to be done or important points or assignments. He is the consummate organizer. The key is that he does not organize for the present but as a way of getting things ready for the future. His style is one of handling many things simultaneously. He believes that multi-tasking in a rapidly evolving environment is essential to keep on top of everything.
The others too have their unique qualities and it’s amazing how much more productive they are when we recognize them, give them work they enjoy, and celebrate the results.
It just makes good business sense.
Happy ending: Lindsay has a project beginning Monday that is totally about communicating with people, while Kartik will get a great new organization project!
Week two and all our five interns are hard at work doing their thing while I marvel at how unique each one is, just as predicted by their Role-Based Assessment. And today we agreed to bring on a sixth starting next week. Another strong Action Former, the perfect addition to our Intern Action Team!
These Action Formers are the organizers on the team, the detail people, those who revel in the chance to learn to do everyone’s job. What better for our Vision-oriented exec team than those who want to carry out our dreams?
This newest intern started another internship, but instead of giving her a project to manage, they sent her outside to meet people. Now there are some Action Formers who might like that but not this one – she is strictly an ‘inside’ person. No wonder she’s asked for a chance with us.
I’m sure they interviewed her at length and certainly read her resume. (I don’t bother with either.) People who are of each Role will tend to have certain things as typical in their career history and behavior, but the only way to tell for sure what Role someone is, what style they truly have mastered and are comfortable with, is to use Role-Based Assessment. People can go into jobs and do things because of necessity or outside pressure. They can make mistakes and be unhappy. They will vary in their level of coherency. The ONLY way to cut through all the distractions and find out what the person is really like is to assess them using Role-Based Assessment and save yourself the grief of finding out too late that what they seemed to be in an interview or on a resume is not what they are really like where the rubber meets the road.
Rubber meets road on Monday and new intern will join her peers. She’ll fit in well and maybe even make some friends in the process. Most important, she, like the others, will get to play on a team where the coach doesnt tell you what you’re doing wrong, but what you’re doing right.
And I’ll have that market research I’ve been wanting.
Just when you think HR has learned that some assessments aren’t right for hiring, you open today’s Wall Street Journal and there’s an ad for a COO position being recruiting by a major search company that asks for a resume and “complete Myers-Briggs personality type test results.” Then they refer to a free online knockoff of the original, which the publishers of clearly state is not appropriate for hiring.
Enough agony. Now for the ecstasy.
For those of us who are highly motivated by mastery, there is nothing better than the triumph of person over technology. And for those of us who are highly motivated by affiliation, there is nothing better than doing it as a team. Today our team finished our first videos on Role-Based Assessment and teaming characteristics! And this was our first ‘review’:
Speaking as a performer who pays attention to production values kudos on the quality of the clips! It captures very visually the Gabriel Institute competitive differentiation.
Overall, that shifts the balance clearly in favor of ecstasy for today!
Every so often I think about succession planning. My own. But I’m not planning on leaving. I’m planning on sharing. Let me explain.
I’m thinking that a lot of CEO problems are caused by people who think they can do a huge job well, all by themselves. Up till now, our company has been small enough that I could do a credible job myself. But as we grow bigger, I find it makes much more sense to work with someone else as sort of an extender. If it was on a shelf at the supermarket it would be called CEO Helper. I prefer the term VisionMeld(tm).
So how do you find someone to share? Role-Based Assessment to start, for sure, but I think asking the candidate to write a Vision Paper really should be part of every recruiting process.
The Vision Paper is a way of explaining to the leadership team of an organization what it is that they are expected to accomplish, the purpose for the venture. It does not go into precisely how they to achieve it since that isn’t a problem for the CEO to solve alone. It begins with a bit of the history behind the product or service and goes on to simply describe the end, the goal or the long-term, desired outcome for the organization. Where most mission statements are vague and general, the Vision Paper is personal. It’s the best measure of the ability to be an inspiring leader I have ever seen. And the knack of inspiring and motivating others to follow your dream is the sine qua non of the successful CEO.
I asked a friend what he thought. Ever practical, he concurred and pointed out that it’s a way of getting to agreement as to what the performance expectations will be. “You’re just trying to find someone who can do the job. To lead a company successfully, you need to know where you’re going and the Vision Paper is your roadmap,” he said.
I guess I’m just more mystical than he is. For me, the energy that goes into writing a Vision Paper reflects back on the author in an almost magical way. If it resonates, you probably have a good basis for a VisionMeld(tm) – and for sharing and succeeding.
Unemployment figure is out this morning – 8.1% – triggering memories of conversations with people who lived through the Great Depression. One of my favorites was from a couple who had just been married when the bottom fell out in 1929. Every morning she sent him off to look for work with his daily rations – two cigarettes (this was before the Surgeon General’s report, of course) and a dime for coffee. They said people really did ask, can you spare a dime. And although a dime meant something, there was plenty of sharing going around.
Fast calculation using 2007 averages: $1.38 for the coffee and .23 per smoke.
Brother, can you spare $1.84? Just doesn’t have the same feel. I wonder how much sharing will happen this round.
The Wizard on our portal (www.RightFitToolkit.com) got another email from someone wanting to “confront my shortcomings” by taking a Role-Based Assessment and then “making strategic changes.” Sweet, so why am I cringing?
I don’t know this guy personally so I’m just going to speak generally here.
YOU ARE FINE THE WAY YOU ARE.
Sorry for shouting.
You are probably in the wrong job. You might even be in the wrong career.
There’s even a good chance that you are reporting to, at best, someone who is a misfit for their job or, at worst, is just a bully.
And, worst of all, if you want to eat, you probably don’t have much choice. It’s the economy, dammit.
It’s affecting all of us, but I’m working on it. Not the economy, just our product for people like you.
So if you’re really miserable in your job and you suspect it just doesn’t fit you, well, I’ve been there.
Many times. And I might be able to help you.
Write me – 25 words or less – why you need help and why you deserve it.
John Edwards’ campaign manager said it the other day. And so have many hiring managers I’ve known in the past. This morning’s Philadelphia Inquirer subtitled their editorial on the Edwards scandal, “At least the hair still looks good.” Doesn’t that say it all?
Elections are our national hiring olympics – the Triathalon of Rhetoric, Looks and Resume.
Maybe we can’t get politicians to take assessments before we vote for them but we certainly can do better at predicting workplace behavior in the other people we hire.