Is your organization one where top talent goes to die? Have you been successful in finding and hiring great people in your organization and then wonder “where they went” once they started working? I’ve actually had clients admit that their company was the place where great talent goes to die. But, they couldn’t figure out why especially since they already had great talent who were supportive of the company’s mission & purpose.
It may be helpful to understand, or at least review, part of the mind-set of top-performers. In part, they need to know what success looks like and when they’ll actually reach that place.
Top-performers also need to be challenged. They won’t be content being contained in a box being told what to do. They’ll shut down and eventually leave for another opportunity that challenges them and where they can grow both professionally and personally.
In this situation, the team wanted and needed to be part of building the strategy to company’s road to success. They weren’t content with this task falling solely in the hands of the leader.
More importantly, the team needed to know that once they developed a strategy for success that the leader was going to buy into it.
Did you catch that?
The team needed to know that the leader bought into the strategy developed by the team instead of undermining it because, for example, it wasn’t the leader’s idea or the leader doubted the expertise and experience of the team.
The organization already had awesome talent that rivaled any in the industry. Now, that talent needed the support of the leader to let them do what they were hired to do.
Some leaders need to learn to let the team they hired do their job. It may be the missing link to an organization’s success. This may be a growth edge and easier said than done for many leaders.
If you’re a leader facing this challenge, I’d encourage you to step off your island and seek the objective input of others to hold you accountable in making this (or other) change. Whether it’s an executive/business coach, peer group or a swami of your choosing, taking that journey with someone far better ensures success and sustainability than going it alone.
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Defining success provides direction to everyone inside and outside of your organization. Whether it’s outperforming a specific competitor, capturing a percentage of market share, achieving an industry award or credential, being the best at what you do, etc., defining success gives your team a framework within which they function. By clear, consistent and frequent communication, there is little question among your team, and others, about where your organization is headed. Here are 6 or 7 ways in which defining your organization’s success aids in achieving it and making it stick:
Inspire engagement When success is clearly defined, it provides a platform upon which leaders can tell their story. “Storytelling” is one of the current buzz words in business and there is plenty of research to back its effectiveness. Data and statistics engage the language centers of our brain. But, when numbers are fleshed out with a story multiple areas of our brain are engaged, including the sections responsible for emotion thus making the message more memorable and “sticky” for the audience. Whether your audience is comprised of your employees, customers or investors a “sticky story” keeps it in the minds of your audience and increases their engagement. With so many messages competing for our brains’ attention these days it helps to stand out.
Increased Productivity Defining success provides a framework from which people can make decisions and execute. The answer to the question, “Is this choice beneficial to our clients/organization/team, etc.?” becomes much easier to answer. People no longer flounder with decisions when the desired outcome is clearly communicated. Your team feels empowered to make clear decisions void of being micromanaged. As a result, efficiency, productivity and morale improve.
Attract & Vet Top Talent Your organization’s definition of success lends itself nicely to a great interview to determine if candidates are a good fit for your organization. Just because someone has “mad skillz” doesn’t mean they’re going to be able to play a role in your success. But, when success is defined then questions can be asked in determining if a candidate has what it takes to play a role in achieving your organization’s specific and unique definition of success. Is this goal important and inspiring to them and why? What role would they play in getting your organization to the Promised Land and how would they do it? The interview becomes much more rich and informative than a stale and unidimensional “yes or no” Q&A session.
Retain Top Talent One of the distinguishing characteristics of top-talent is that they need to know when they’re successful. They require goals and a clear direction on how to get there. When success is clearly defined in your organization, not only should this be used as part of the interview process, but it becomes a measure against which A-Players can gage their own success. High-achievers are more likely to be drawn to and remain with an organization in which they are or can become successful.
Attract Allies When leaders do the work in defining and communicating the vision of organizational success and the accompanying story, that story can be retold resulting in engagement of all sorts of resources for success - - customers tell more customers, great employees recruit more great employees, investors become interested, organizations offering complimenting products and services refer business, etc.. People can clearly understand and communicate to others what it is your organization does, increasing exposure and your success.
Critical components to success are to clearly define and communicate it. Taking the time to do so shifts the bulk of heavy lifting off the shoulders of leaders and engages many others in promoting and working toward that success. (Is that a 7th reason?)
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The Golden Rule suggests that we treat others the way we would like to be treated. No one likes to be micromanaged. Plus the end result is never a good one. So, why do so many leaders do it? Let’s take a look at a few reasons. Can you or any of your Executive Team relate to any of these?:
Facade of Control
There are people who are just simply control-freaks. As a recovering control-freak myself, my personal opinion is that those who feel the need to control things lack the confidence to trust the truth. The only thing that happens when you control things is that the truth is avoided. If Johnny is left to his own devices and his resulting performance is subpar, NOW what do you do? Now, you’ve got to accept reality that John isn’t a rock star and either mentor him or replace him. But, if you continue to control the situation everything always turns out fine so there’s nothing that needs to change. Right?
Inability to Mentor
Not everyone has the ability to mentor their team successfully. As a leader, part of your job is to develop each member of your team so they grow to their fullest potential and advance in their career. Top talent will be bored when they’re not challenged and eventually leave. What will be left are likely your “C-String Players” (or worse).
Poor Talent Selection
Why would any reasonable leader delegate to someone who is either not capable of doing the job or wouldn’t perform in keeping with your company culture? They likely wouldn’t. Talent selection is key to halting the cycle of micromanaging. Developing a team of top talent allows leaders to focus on leading instead if and how everyone else is doing their job. Selection top talent doesn’t stop with skill set. Before anyone is recruited to be part of your team they need to be a great fit for your organization’s culture. And, in order for that to happen, your culture needs to be clearly defined.
Lack of Focus
If you have a tough time staying focused or you’re not sure what it is that requires your focus, you’re at risk for huge distractions. Spending time defining where the organization is headed allows leaders to better prioritize and delegate those projects and activities that take their focus away from being a visionary and leader.
Success of any organization, in part, depends on leadership’s ability to delegate effectively. Inability to do so results in a reduction in moral, engagement, performance, loss of top talent and ultimately profitability. Not to mention how expensive micromanaging is - - leaders are paid too much to justify their time spent hawking over their team and/or doing their job for them. Take measures to curb micromanaging tendencies in your organization and watch productivity and profits skyrocket!
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As some of you know, I’ve recently started blogging again. I’m encouraged as I graaaadually develop a small following (thank you) and feel like a kid on Christmas day if LinkedIn’s analytics indicate that 60 people have viewed any one of my posts.
About two weeks ago, I reposted an article authored by Kyle Reyes, “CEO Makes Employees Take Snowflake Test” and as of the time of this posting 3,876 people (and counting) have viewed my reposting of that article (that doesn’t include the number of views Reyes received directly) and over 1,000 on Twitter. After he published that article, Reyes was interviewed by several news outlets about that topic. While that’s several thousand more views than I usually get on any of my posts, considering the world population those 3,876 views are a drop in the bucket and I wouldn’t say my repost “went viral”. But, as someone who has about 570 LinkedIn followers and lucky to get 50 views on any of my blog posts, this was better than Christmas day. This is like getting a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock on Christmas day!
Clearly, that article has gained some traction. But, why? What was it about that article that seems to have ignited an already smoldering fuse with so many people? Reyes’ article doesn’t pull any punches. It’s a bit “in your face”, edgy and certainly not for everyone. AND, HE SPEAKS HIS TRUTH. His truth isn’t meant to be accepted by everyone. It’s meant to be accepted only by those who share his passion. It’s a perfect example of how to establish an organizational culture.
Here’s your pep-talk:
Be courageous. Be vulnerable. If you know what you’re meant to do and that you can make a difference but don’t think there’s anyone else out there who shares the same crazy dream, you’re wrong. Put it out there and I promise you you’ll attract the right kind of crazy to help make your vision reality.
- - and the world will continue turning - - and your world will grow and be enriched by those who share your vision and help you succeed.
Be true to yourself and who you are.
Know that there is a value in who you are and what you offer. Respect yourself accordingly.
Surround yourself by people who share the same values - - those who will support you and who mutually care enough about your cause to offer viewpoints different than yours in order to “get it right”.
Let’s not forget: We are meant to be free. We are so free that we can even choose bondage. Choose wisely. Audentes fortuna iuvat
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Aaaahhhh, yes . . . the elusive interview process. How many times have you interviewed a candidate, concluded that they were a “perfect fit” and found out at some point not so long after you hired them that they were not a perfect fit?
If you’re like many people, you’ve probably experienced this more than once or twice. In fact, this may even be the norm given your past and present interview process. You may often ask yourself, “How the heck did we miss that?” and, “How do can we vet that next time?”. Well, today is your lucky day because that’s the topic of this article!
To take a cue from Brad Remillard, co-founder of IMPACT Hiring Solutions, the key is to develop an interview process that determines if a candidate is a good fit for the available position in your organization. The candidate’s résumé got them the interview and now becomes ancient history. A good interview goes beyond the typical Q&A such as:
Q: Are you a team player?
Q: What’s your greatest weakness?
A: I’m a perfectionist.
Q: What are you most proud of?
A: My children.
You get the picture. The only information you may learn with this type of interview might be how good of a BS-er the candidate is. I suggest that such interviews are a waste of time for all involved.
I’m also suggesting that the interview should be unique to your organization and be designed so that you’re able to determine whether or not the candidate is the best [ insert position here ] for your organization. This means going beyond the outdated, stale, one-dimensional interviews of yore.
If you’re seeking to learn whether or not the candidate can work their magic in your organization then you need to be clear on a few things so you know what you’re looking for. Topics such as organizational goals, metrics, challenges, improvements, projects, culture, etc. specific to the position in question should all find their way into your interview process. In most instances, your interview should focus more on the future of your organization rather than the candidate’s past experience.
And, for goodness sake - - have some FUN with your interviews! Be creative. Do something unique & unexpected. I often site an example about a fitness center in Florida that wanted to develop an interview process to determine whether or not candidates were truly team players. Prior to a candidate meeting with anyone for their scheduled interview, they were asked to wait in a room with several chairs. While candidates waited, an employee would enter the room & grab a chair and explain to the candidate that they were setting up for a meeting just down the hall and needed more chairs. Over the next few minutes, the same employee would return several times to the chair-filled room retrieving more chairs.
You can probably guess how someone who IS a team player might respond - - by helping carry chairs to the meeting! This is so much more of an accurate test than asking, “are you a team player?”.
If you want to identify the “rock star candidates” who are a good fit for your organization, spend some time becoming familiar with your organization so that you know what you’re looking for and can recognize it when you find it in a candiate.
Consider, engaging your team and spur their creativity in developing a fun and unique interview process. You’ll not only successfully identify great candidates, you’ll also improve engagement and fun with your team. If you don’t feel confident spear-heading this effort yourself, give me a call!
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