February, 2013

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Hire Wrong And Fire Right

You may be asking why I would suggest hiring the wrong person. Well, these days it’s all about the numbers. You really never know if someone is right for the job until you hire them. In fact, you don’t know if someone is wrong for the job until you hire them.

A former boss once told me that a good hiring policy is a good firing policy. There is a lot of truth in that statement. The hit ratio for a good hire used to be about one in ten. Then a few years went by and it became one in twenty five. Recently, it seems more like one in five hundred. But you never know when you will find the gem you are seeking.

The key is finding a potential hire that brings something to the table. Look for someone that has skills your organization is lacking. Whether it is a second language, a mastery of freight scheduling, or maybe they can juggle five balls at one time. You never know what skill may add value to the company.

Sometimes a new opportunity presents itself in unlikely ways. Look for passionate candidates that want to change the world. Even if the fit does not feel right, you never truly know until you give it a chance.

Be upfront and honest. You never want to hire knowing it won’t work out. But if you never hire it will never work out. That gem you have been looking for may not be found until you take a chance.

You have to communicate what is expected. Human beings have an instinctive desire to please. If you define the objectives of the job and those conditions are met, you claim success. If the objectives are not accomplished, you lay out the course for the desired outcome.

Once you identify failure, accept it and move on. Termination is an inevitable outcome if you are a manager. Goals have to be met by everyone in the organization. Goal setting will be the topic of a future post.

Delegation Rocks!

We have all read the principles of delegation.  I especially like the visual of the manager giving a direct a little rock.  Then, once in the direct’s hand, it magically turns into a big rock.  It turns out this oversimplified visualization really is the key to successful delegation.

The key is understanding the science behind what it takes to turn a little rock into a big rock.  It does not happen just because you tell someone to do something.  It does not happen just because you ask someone to do something.  It does not happen just because you are the boss.

A direct interprets a task as a big rock when you explain that it is a big rock.  The task is integral to accomplishing the departmental objective.  You assigned the task to them because you knew their skills would allow them to accomplish it much faster.  You assigned the task to them for training so they can improve their skills.  Your direct’s relationship with the other department will help.  There can be many reasons a task is important.

Why is one of the most powerful words in management.  If you have to ask it, someone has not explained things completely.  If you lead with why you are assigning a task to a direct, you eliminate the “Who Moved My Cheese?” moment.  The employee understands why you assigned the task/project to them, no energy is wasted on complaining “Why does she always give me these assignments?”  Energy can then be spent on prepping the direct to complete the task.

Sometimes a task can be delegated without instruction.  Many times you have to teach a skill set needed to complete the task.  Other times you must review the progress on a daily basis and offer guidance along the way.  Follow up is another key to delegation and will be a future post topic.

If you want to turn little rocks into big rocks, explain why, teach, and establish a follow up date.