Is hiring the right people strictly a matter of talent? That’s not how great leaders think, and neither should you. Knowing that every personnel decision can make or break your team’s success, let me share a secret of how they hire that will change the way you approach filling important roles on your team.
For my first ever podcast episode, I spent time with Verne Harnish, founder and CEO of Gazelles, a global executive education and coaching company, and author of “Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It… and Why the Rest Don’t.” What Verne shared about hiring really hit home with me.
“We always talk about what you need to do and be to be a great leader,” Verne pointed out. “We don’t talk enough about the ideal team player. What do you have to do to be a great team member?”
And most important: how do you identify and hire that person?
Traditional criteria are backward
Traditional leaders hire on four criteria in this order:
Makes sense, right? We have to determine whether the person has the skills and has produced the results that we need on our team. Those need to be first, and if those are in place, we often skip the values and will. Sometimes, there’s not enough time or desire to dig that deep. We have to get to work.
Great leaders flip this process, Verne says. By doing so, they identify and hire the people who have the desire and principles to achieve beyond their résumés.
Here’s how and why.
- Will is the foundation. The team member has to want to achieve and do a great job. “It’s tough to coach someone to have the will to taste success,” Verne says. Will is the engine for great performance.
- Values drive greatness. When the job candidate’s values align with the values of the organization, they are invested in the work as a reflection of what they care about. This connection drives productivity.
- Results are important for assessing potential. “Look for the pattern of what the person grabs hold of, even back to high school,” Verne says. “Did they just achieve, or did they super achieve?”
- Skills are most significant in context. Because technology and work is changing so quickly, a great leader focuses on the job candidate’s ability to adapt existing skills. Not just have those skills.
Other thought leaders agree that we have to move beyond conventional ways of hiring.
Seth Godin wrote about the misperception of soft skills . “It turns out that what actually separates thriving organizations from struggling ones are the difficult-to-measure attitudes, processes and perceptions of the people who do the work.”
Great leaders fearlessly go against traditional thinking to choose the right people to join their teams. “This takes guts, because it feels like giving up control, but we never really had control in the first place. Not if we’ve been obsessively measuring the wrong things all along.”
That’s how great leaders hire.
Your Game Changer Takeaway
Great leaders know that the inner fire of their team members is more important than a list of their past successes. Improve your leadership by fearlessly prioritizing a job candidate’s will and values and considering skills and results in context. You’ll be hiring someone you can count on and coach to even greater success, to the great benefit of you and your team.
The Molly Fletcher Company inspires leaders, teams and organizations to kick-start growth. A keynote speaker and author, Molly draws on her decades of experiences working as a sports agent. Her company’s Game Changer Negotiation Training workshops teach business people the framework for successful negotiating, so that you can close more deals while building stronger relationships. Sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter and subscribe to the Game Changers with Molly Fletcher podcast on iTunes.