Hire for Value

The most important and long lasting decisions you make as a leader have to do with the people you hire. How you shape the job posting, and then recruit, interview, hire, on-board, and train new people, and how you position them will have an enormous impact on the effectiveness and value of the organization. If you are hiring the right people who might be different than you and have great capacity to do things you can't do, then the organization increases in capacity. You need to model this behavior and drive it throughout the leadership team. Diversity of ideas will promote innovation, growth, and eventually creation of great value.

Hiring the right people and getting them in the right positions can be challenging for some leaders.  This is especially true for those who want or feel the need to tightly manage the details of each process in the company.  Look for the best, most talented people you can find, and when you hire them, ask them questions, listen to them, and learn from them. Above all create an inclusive environment where they can learn, contribute and grow.

Leaders who are caught up in control, and who have a need to be personally in charge of detail will drive people away, and ultimately create a loss of value. If leaders are not surrounding themselves with a team that is smarter than they are themselves, their company will never grow beyond the personal bandwidth and capacity of its micromanaging leader.

Surrounding yourself with people who are smarter will create more value for the organization, according to Jim Moats, an executive coach and consultant to many companies.  According to Jim, "Institutionalizing the creation of value always creates wealth and liberation."  This is a process that needs to be institutionalized in your company for maximum effect, and hiring the right people is fundamental to its execution.  Hiring needs to be a well defined process, not some random act based on gut feel.  Jim goes on to say "Institutionalizing value creation is always available, but never possible when the CEO plays the role of being the smartest person in the room."

New candidates hired into your company should believe in the vision, in fact they should own it.  They also need to be aligned with the core values your company espouses and follows.  This needs to be a big part of the interviewing process.  If the new hire is committed to the vision and believes in the core values of the company, and is compatible with other team members, then its likely that candidate will succeed. But hiring people is always risky, so a structured process will yield a much more effective result.  Geoff Smart, founder of ghSmart and author, with Randy Street, of 'Who' suggests creating a job scorecard with job mission, specific deliverables the candidate must be accountable to, and specific characteristics you want the candidate to possess.  This scorecard is fundamental, and should be incorporated into the interviewing process.  If you want to improve your team performance, I suggest you read this book

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon has said that he would rather interview 50 candidates and not hire any, than hire one candidate that is wrong for the organization. Often times companies will hire for competency thinking they are adding strength to their team, when commitment is far more important. Skills that increase competence can be learned through education and training. It is far more difficult to teach commitment. Commitment is from the heart level.

Hiring today means you will be interviewing and hiring some people who were born after 1990.  According to Meagan Johnson and Larry Johnsonwriting for the AMA, "Generation Y has different work requirements and expectations than the Baby Boomers and Gen Xers who manage them. Understanding these differences will help managers to be effective and their Gen Yers to flourish."

They further state that "the goals for managing Generation Y include: a.  Help them integrate into the work setting without scaring them off or turning them off; b. Provide them with solid primary experiences that lay the groundwork for their careers; and c.  Keep them from self-destructing."

As a leader who has made some hiring errors in his career, I am glad to be working today with people who bring many tools to the table, people who are both younger and older, who challenge me, give me feedback, and teach me things I don't know.  I thrive on that, and am enjoying the journey.

I'd love to hear your thoughts.