Saturday, July 11, 2009

The 7 Biggest People Mistakes - #3: Using Job Descriptions That Don't Match What You Really Need

Seen this before? 5-7 years of direct experience in 'x' position. Positive team player. Ability to grow team (dept) profitably with demonstratable track record. Developed budgets or managed a P/L, etc... You get the picture. Add some more that I may have missed too.

Here's the deal. Job descriptions are the most well intentioned documents in the world but the worst documents to use in hiring. Why, you say? We've spent a lot of time developing these and they show what we want. I'd say they miss in some very critical ways.

First, they miss because you might not be tying your company's situation, either present or future, to the role you're hiring for. For example, is your company a start-up with chaos galore or are you a well established company who's greatest fault is you have a bunch of dead-wood or huge complacency internally to take it to the next level. Maybe its a company that is broke or broken and needs a complete turn around. Get the picture? All very different situations. Hiring a turn around person is different from hiring someone who will just maintain the existing status quo.

Let's do another. JD's don't scale into interviewing or decision hiring tools. You've built the JD out, so now define the top 'must haves' in the role and then weight each of them with the goal of your total number adding up to 100%. Next, slide in a column to score the candidates on a 1-10 scale on how well they fulfill each 'must have'. What you should end up with is a very objective way to score everyone in an unbiased way v. liking someone because they come from your hometown or alma mater.

One more. Use a hiring profile tool. Does the person really have the attributes you want? You want a self-starter? You want a bull-dog prospecting machine? You can find this out and never even have to speak to a candidate. Yep, true. You can also use this and your weighting tool to drill into the candidate to demonstrate proven examples of where they demonstrated success in your specific needs.

The classic saying goes: 'measure twice; cut once'. Don't be too quick to hire without a couple simple tools in place first.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The 7 Biggest People Mistakes - #2: Failing to Replace Low Performers

Ok, the gloves need to come off. This is a tough subject and needs tough talk. You know there are '3' types of performers in your company - A's, B's, and C's. The A's are your brightest and best. You'd love to have ALL A's in your organization, but you think you can't. If you really think you can't have a team of ALL A-players then your doomed to the same results that you have now. ...You can stop reading too.

Ok, we're still standing. Good. Welcome to those who brave to make a difference in their teams and people!

For the B's on your team, these are the people who perform up and down, with mixed results. They are steady, but rarely light things up in their performance. A .220 hitter if you will who bats .275 for a month. Lastly, you have C's. Described as those who require much of your time, worry and source of greatest discontent. Pictures of faces of your C-players are flashing in your mind as you read this.

Here are (2) fun and simple things you can do to change you IMMEDIATELY into replacing your low performers.

First, calculate a team of A-players. Take your own metrics of success; how many deals they do, monthly revenues, margin, # of calls, etc. If you aren't in a sales-type environment find specific performance metrics which apply to your group. Next, take your existing team and divide them into A's, B's, C's. Run the numbers of where everyone is at present and calculate your current productivity. Lastly, take all the C-players and B's and toss them into the A-player bucket with the higher productivity. Run the numbers again. Yep, this is what you're missing out on. Even scarier is to take that number and divide by 365 - this is the amount your missing out on EVERY DAY you don't do something.

...so you don't have time to go through so much hassle to replace people and hire A's, your thinking. Seriously?

Take this topgrading 'Mind Teaser':
Q: If you inherit 10 low performers and want to replaceall 10 with high performers, how many people do you have to hire if your hiring success is 25%?
A: 40… You hire 40 people.

Q: How many do you have to fire?
A: 40… the 10 you inherited plus the 30 you mishired. Any manager would be nuts to fire 40 people whenthe team is only 10 people. The revolving door would be chaos!

Q: How many would a topgrader have to hire, with a 90% success rate?
A: 11

Q: How many would the topgrader have to fire?
A: One… which gives the topgrader a 30:1 advantage in hiring and time savings!

Tough stuff. People deserve to be successful. If you can't make them an A-player, let them move on to become an A-player in a different role or company. I've seen it happen many times. Make it happen. Today.