Delivering the Systems and Expertise You Need to Confidently Make Great Hiring Decisions
In an ongoing effort to Add Value for you as a Leader, I’ve been seeking out Experts who have unique talents to ask them for their experiences. This week Doug Wick, a Professional Coach and Business Advisor, shares some of his thoughts on how you can improve your hiring.
[JDavis] What do you see as the biggest challenge your clients face when they make hiring decisions?
In most cases they’re shooting from the hip. Most of them have, at best, a 50/50 chance of someone they hire being the right fit. Not only that, they often don’t have any clue to figure out or determine if someone is a solid candidate when they make their final decision. They’re simply not confident in their “system” for hiring and, even those companies who who have taken the time to build a “system” aren’t sure whether or not it’s telling them the right things about people that they’re interviewing.
[JDavis] What are the top 2 or 3 recommendations you’ve made in the past year to your clients on how to improve hiring effectiveness?
1. Embrace and utilize Topgrading. The methodology is terrific.
2. I’ve built a process to measure and review my clients’ hiring “batting average.” Through this I’ve learned to encourage people to look back and reflect on their recent hires and rank “good” and “bad”. I had a client who used the Topgrading Methodology but they still missed on a key hire and this reflective activity that I took them through following that mis-hire helped them get a better grasp on what their culture is and how to screen more for cultural fit during the interview process. If you don’t evaluate why you’ve been making mistakes you are bound to repeat the same mistake in the future. The hiring process is often very subjective. Recognizing your mistakes moves you from making a largely emotional decision to a decision steeped in objectivity with a seasoning of emotion which provides the best hiring outcome.
3. When hiring salespeople, I encourage our clients to use the Objective Management Group’s sales screening test. The outcomes [according to OMG research] produce a 96% effective sales hire. From what I’ve seen, the results do actually match up with those claims. They’re very thorough and accurate. Despite their effectiveness we still recommend doing the Topgrading interview with the candidates the test recommends to make sure their test results and track record match.
[JDavis] How instrumental do you feel regular Strategic Planning is to making the right hiring decisions?
It’s important. While it’s not as important as employing Topgrading, if a company is doing Strategic Planning they’re likely to be more aware of where they are going (and from what I’ve seen, most companies plan to improve and grow). With that sense of awareness, they are more cognizant of the need to upgrade their existing staff or add additional staff to achieve their vision. Strategic planning helps companies better understand how important it is to get the right people on the bus because they spend the time understanding their business and its trajectory.
[JDavis] Who are the companies that you’ve witnessed that have done a great job of hiring the right talent and why?
Ideal Computer Systems (Cedar Rapids, IA) – they have a really solid interviewing process that is based on a step-based interview process that makes people who are candidates go through stages that include really tough interview questions that require someone to prove that they’re an “achiever”. They also consistently do great reference checks and also ensure that they’re always doing background checks on everyone.
Meta Law (Ventura, CA) they had a very long and disappointing process of spending more than 18 months searching for a “successor” to the President of the company. They interviewed local talent and they got discouraged when they didn’t find the right person for the role. On my suggestion they went out and ran ads in places like their association newsletter that resulted in them getting introduced to a great candidate who was moving back to the city/location they are based in. Then utilizing Topgrading and not “settling” for someone just because they were tired of looking or because they didn’t want to expand their geographic reach, they made a great hiring decision. I always find it so rewarding as an outside consultant when a company can really use Topgrading and it results in an exceptional hire.
Doug Wick is a certified Gazelles Coach with 12 years of coaching experience and 9+ years as an E-Myth Certified Consultant. Doug coaches his clients on how to develop Strategic Discipline. He focuses on small to midsize business owner/CEO with a ravenous appetite to improve their leadership skills and business results. Positioning Systems provides unrelenting personal commitment combined with foundational and dynamic best practice tools that enhance management proficiency and produce measurable performance.
Patrick Thean is the author of Execution Without Drama and in June 2010 I got the opportunity to hear him share some of his thoughts on creating specific scorecards for Manager Level talent and, because I get so many questions from hiring managers and business leaders about this exact topic, I felt like a blog post to share his suggestions was worthwhile. Here they are:
KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS FOR MANAGERIAL SCORECARDS:
RELATIONSHIPS & PEOPLE
- Voluntary Attrition
- Keep Smart (learning, furthering themselves)
- Employee Net Promoter Score
- Dry Powder
- Burn Rate
- # of Months of Cash (Runway)
- Quality & Bugs
- Supplier Mistakes
- Project Health Index (actual vs. plan)
- Sales against plan/quota
- Pinkie Report (Patrick’s idea for his sales team – if this deal doesn’t close I get your pinkie)
- A/R Quality
- # of days to Close & Report
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
At American Workforce, we’re big fans of Verne Harnish. His book, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, is one that we strive to adhere to as much as possible. He devotes a significant amount of the book to something called a BRAND PROMISE. His overview:
“A measurable brand promise is crucial. It defines your company…it gives your organization something huge and galvanizing to strive toward. It does not overstate it one whit to say your brand promise is a single-minded measure around which all decisions are made.”
We’ve been working on our BRAND PROMISE for a couple of months now. Because this one piece of our business is so important in separating ourselves from the rest of a crowded and generally un-trustworthy industry, we knew it had to be good. After all, when you’re competing against companies that promise to hire quickly and cheaply, we felt it was mission critical to not only point out how wrong that line of thinking is, but also focus on the importance of hiring for the long haul. We call that Hire to Last.
And so, after months of deliberation and analysis, I’m excited to share with you the BRAND PROMISE that we’ve decided concisely and effectively declares what we do and how we’re putting our reputation and wallet on the line to ensure that we’re doing it right:
YOU’LL HIRE THE RIGHT PERSON.
WE’LL STAKE OUR PROFITS ON IT.
I got forwarded a tremendous Whitepaper that was written by Doug Wick, a Certified Gazelles International Coach . This short document outlines, for the first time that I’ve seen, the differences in opinion between (a) hiring great people or (b) putting in place great systems. If you’ve read this blog with any consistency you’ll know that we’re huge fans of Topgrading at American Workforce so I was a little skeptical when I first saw the title.
Here’s the initial “teaser” for the article:
Successful business models must operate successfully with low-skill employees. Replicable models use systems that do not require high-skill specialists. If your franchise model requires a highly skilled and motivated clone of you, its potential success is structurally limited from the start. How many you have you met?
Systems-dependent models, unlike personality- or expert-dependent models, produce consistent results when replicated. Such systems allow ordinary people to produce reliable, predictable, yet extraordinary results. The Gazelles Inc, in their seminar Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, test Michael Gerber’s fundamental idea with a concept called Topgrading. What is Topgrading? It is a view that holds that high-skill-based models can be more profitable and still be duplicated consistently.
I’ve found myself sitting and reading this Whitepaper numerous times already since yesterday and I think that virtually every one of his arguments is well stated and thought provoking. Check it out, it’s worth a glance.