Delivering the Systems and Expertise You Need to Confidently Make Great Hiring Decisions
Jim Collins has been taking quite a beating in the news recently for a lot of what he wrote about in Good to Great and Built to Last. As it turns out, much of what he praised companies like Fannie Mae and Circuit City for has been emulated by thousands of companies around the globe. The problem: well, if you’ve had a pulse and watched the news for more than 10 minutes in the past year you’ll know that both of those companies aren’t in the best shape any more.
In response, Jim Collins has written a follow-up book called “How the Mighty Fall“. Fortunately for you, you can skip buying it at the book store and, instead, read this summary to capture what he’s trying to get across. Unfortunately, the book reminded me a lot of the scene a couple of years ago where Mark McGwire (one of my favorite baseball players of all time) sat in front of Congress and kept repeating over and over again, “I don’t want to talk about the past”. If you missed it, I found the video on YouTube.
The book was hastily put together, is a shorter read than Parade Magazine on Sunday (it’s only 123 pages), and feels more like Jim trying to save his reputation than actually get any point across.
That being said, here are the TWO nuggets that I was able to capture (and hopefully they’ll save you the pain of reading his short story):
PEOPLE NEED RESPONSIBILITIES (Page 57) “One notable distinction between wrong people and right people (in key seats) is that the former see themselves as having ‘jobs,’ while the latter see themselves as having ‘responsibilities.”
Verne Harnish suggests, “Every person in a key seat should be able to respond to the question “What do you do?” not with a job title, but with a statement of personal responsibility. “I’m the one person ultimately responsible for x and y.” Think columns two and three on our Accountability Worksheet. In fact, Collins, when he’s hosting executive teams at his research lab often challenges executives to introduce themselves not with titles, but by articulating their responsibilities.”
MANAGE WITH DISCIPLINE (Page 119) ”If you’ve fallen into decline, get back to solid management disciplines — now!” ”In fact, our research shows that if you’ve been practicing the principles of greatness all the way along, you should get down on your knees and pray for severe turbulence, for that’s when you can pull even further ahead of those who lack your relentless intensity.”
Tags: A-Players, built to last, circuit city, congress, fannie mae, flywheel, good to great, hedgehog, hire better, how the mighty fall, jim collins, management discipline, mark mcgwire, testimony, verne harnish
Dr. Brad Smart, in his book Topgrading, gives a scary statistic that should make any Manager or Executive cringe:
“[Only] 25% of people hired and promoted by most companies turn out to be high performers.”
An even more alarming statistic: Topgrading has only sold about 150,000 copies. Why isn’t it the most popular business book ever written?
The most common answer we hear: implementing all of the Topgrading principles isn’t easy. With that in mind, here are 5 simple things, many of which are based on Topgrading and Good to Great, that you can implement in your business today to have a direct and positive impact on your hiring track record.
1. Work Backwards to Create a Job Description. Most people start with the Job Description when they start to think about hiring a new employee. The next time you need to hire someone, start at the end: be honest with yourself about what your year-end review would look like with this new team member. Quantify as much as you can. By understanding what could be accomplished by an A-Player in the first year, the creation of a job description is a lot easier. An added bonus, because you know where the person needs to be at the end of 1 year, your 30, 60 and 90 day reviews just got a lot easier.
2. Write a Scorecard. What are the top 5-7 things that you need from this new hire? Could you handle hiring someone who has only 4 of the 7 skill sets? What if they have 6 of the skills but not the most important? Scorecards give you a strong focus and allow you to rank and quantify the people you’ve interviewed objectively and unemotionally.
I’ll cover #’s 3, 4 and 5 later this week.