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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Talent Matters: Recruitment Tips and Team Dynamics

Talent Matters: Recruitment Tips and Team Dynamics:

As I sat in the departure lounge at Pearson in Toronto the other day, I overheard a familiar conversation between two colleagues.  One of them was venting about how they spent a great deal of time, effort and money to hire what they thought would be their next "shining star" and future organizational leader.  Apparently, their new hire, who had impressive credentials, an outstanding resume and great charisma during the interview, turned out to be a dud.

While having impressive credentials, an outstanding resume and being charismatic during the interview process are undoubtedly important factors in any hiring decision, the hiring manager also needs to consider the candidate's personality type as it relates to "fit" within the broader team.  In my experience, sometimes hiring managers become awestruck by what they believe is "the perfect candidate" because they look so good on paper and appear to be very charming during the interview process.  They become so wedded to that person that they fail to consider whether they are the right "fit" for the team or the broader organization.

In order to avoid similar hiring mistakes, here are some factors that hiring managers should consider during the recruitment process:

Appreciate/Understand Team Dynamics: Do not underestimate the importance of "fit" as it relates to a candidate fitting into the existing team, group, department or functional cultural dynamics. 

Organizational Contribution: Be careful not to set a new incumbent up to fail by setting a high bar for them to achieve too lofty a goal.  More specifically, very rarely can one person single-handedly drive a disproportionate amount of organizational value, especially when they are new to an organization and in a steep learning curve. 

There's No "I" in "Team": Collaboration is key to most organizations.  By touting someone as the end all be all will not bode well for the rest of the team. 

Allies Are Key To Success: You need to ensure the incumbent focusses on building allies not enemies.  Oh too often the new hire is focused on demonstrating the value they bring to an organization which if not managed effectively, can be at the expense of relationship building with their peer, colleagues. 
Apart from not discussing hiring decisions in airports, the morale of the story is that hiring managers need to look beyond credentials and resumes, and equally weigh personality "fit"within the team and broader organization.  This will ultimately lead to better hiring decisions with employees who are the right fit for the organization.

Please click on human resources consulting for more information on Talent Matters.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Be "Insanely Great" - In Memory of Steve Jobs

As I settled in for the night in my hotel room while visiting a client in Western Canada, I turned on my treasured and indispensable companion - my MacBook Pro - and was deeply saddened when I clicked on Safari. (For those of you out there (if there are any) who don't own any Apple products, Safari is Apple's web browser). As would be expected, Safari defaults to Apple's website. I never bothered to change it.   The usual marketing-heavy (yet simplistic style of heading, image and movie elements set in geometric configuration against a white background) start page of the website had been replaced entirely by a simple tribute page. Steve Jobs, the brilliant, innovative, hard-driving, legendary, iconoclastic leader and visionary of all things Apple, had died.

While Steve's passing was not unexpected and I certainly did not know him or ever meet him, the world feels different without him in it.  By many accounts, Apple's success over the past decade has been attributed directly to Steve.  While I'm no expert in the area, the fact that he has more than 300 patents registered in his name, speaks volumes.  

It dawned on me that Steve was not just great, but in many ways was "insanely great" (a phrase often used by Steve).  That's why we are all the beneficiaries of such great products (some would even call "insanely great") and feel such a strong sense of loss by his passing.  That's the impact "insanely great" people have on others -- they are true visionaries, they move people to do great and even "insanely great" things, they inspire others, they innovate, they build on "insanely great" things and make them even better.  While we have all heard the stories that Steve wasn't perfect and may have not been the ideal people person, one of the things we can learn from Steve is to be "insanely great".   By being "insanely great", you will inspire others to be as well.

This is something all leaders should strive to be -- be insanely great.  Leaders don't have to emulate Steve Job's exact style, but they need to strive to be brilliant, to be innovative, to be hard-driving, to be legendary, to be iconoclastic and to be a visionary.  In doing so, they will lead others to follow in their footsteps.

In closing, I wanted to leave you with a few poignant words from Steve Job's commencement address to Standford University's 2005 graduating class:

"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.  If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on."

Please click on human resources consulting to be linked to the Talent Matters website.