Posted tagged ‘executives’

Hiring Leadership

June 13, 2010

When you think about it, the amount of time devoted to the hiring process is pretty insignificant. This is ironic given that it is one of the most critical decisions made at any company.  Perhaps, there are a few hours, or at best, a few days devoted to screening, interviewing and reference checking.

The process really cries out for a method – some way of determining whether the individual was appropriate for the position and for the culture. Such an opportunity presented itself in recent weeks and it afforded me the opportunity to create such an approach.

I have always found that having multiple people interview a candidate is extremely important. Everyone has “blindspots,” areas that are not important to them or areas that they are willing to gloss over. Multiple interviewers tend to mitigate this problem and force dialogue during the assessment process.

A COO recently invited me to participate in the selection of a new leader for one of his operating companies. In order to gain as close to a full perspective of the candidates, it was agreed that his focus would include prior industry work experience. The dimension that I hoped to contribute was an assessment of managerial style and knowledge in what was important in running a company

To prepare for my role in the interview, I organized this plan.

  1. Pre-work
  2. Deciding what to evaluate
  3. Building a way for capturing the information
  4. Designing the interview questions
  5. Preparing the introduction so that the interviewee can be engaged and comfortable
  6. Providing the assessment

The pre-work stage was devoted to understanding what the company provides, the culture of the company, the background of the candidates and what the heart of the assignment was.

Understanding the “heart of the assignment,” is perhaps the most critical element in this stage. Every leadership style has its place. A young team may need a patient mentor. A seasoned team may need an expert guide. An undisciplined team might do best with a firm leader dedicated to creating structure. In short, when looking for a leader, the answer to who is the right candidate is often, “it depends…”

In the next post, we’ll continuing reviewing these stages.


Making your leadership team successful

December 12, 2008

Here are two questions worth considering.

  • Who is most responsible for the success of your leadership?

The success of each level of leadership is heavily influenced by the monitoring, measuring, and coaching of the leaders directly above it. If you want to increase the likelihood of success within your pipeline, it is incumbent on you to dedicate your leadership to this process.

  • What influences the likelihood that your people will execute successfully?

It should be clear that one of the core success factors is to have a team of leaders with the proper skills, focus, and values.

Still, even by applying this process, you may never be completely successful. In some organizations, professionals will not readily accept people if they don’t have credentials in the field so your choices are limited. In these cases, we have no way of knowing how the person will respond to the tensions, frustrations, and relationships of staff work.

When an executive places a person in the wrong job, s/he must correct it. Not removing them is a false kindness because in the short and long term it is cruel to the individual, the direct reports, and the company to keep that person in that role. But there is also no reason to let that person go. The appropriate course of action, and with planning this is often accomplished, is to return that person to the old job or an equivalent position.

Sometimes, the position itself is the reason for the lack of success. When a ship would have several fatal accidents, it earned the moniker “widow-maker.” The owners would not keep sending out the ship – instead they would break it up. Whenever a job defeats two people in a row and these people in their earlier assignments had performed well, a company has a widow-maker on its hands. . The executive should consider abolishing the job because it may not be doable.

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