Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Deadly leadership level hiring blunders

Irrespective of the size, most organizations desire to build leadership that has strategic vision for business, penchant for people/talent management and building a sustainable organization for future. The magnitude of stakes involved at these positions need not be reinforced. Yet, many organizations make the moist fatal hiring blunders at this level. Some of the most prevalent and common ones that immeasurably impact organizations are as follows;

1.       Not assigning quality time on hiring:  Leadership level hiring needs high quality formal and sometimes informal time for knowing a candidate or explaining about organization. It is about this mutual investment of time that builds trust and commitment and confidence. A tight time window with a targeted date for closure only ruins the purpose and ends up queuing up worthless resumes’ , resulting into wasteful  rejections round after round.

2.       Inability to focus on “Must DO” and Can DO”: For no fault of theirs, candidates meet recruiters with their past experience. It is the recruiters who fantasize the fitment of the candidate into the role. More often than not, this fantasy leads to force fitment and assumption that a candidate “will manage to handle this role”. I have seen some very senior professionals taking this approach for leadership level hiring, either under duress of time or just manning a position.

3.       Failing to notice soft aspects and screaming gaps: It is proven time and again that the past is indicative of future behaviour. Inability to ask the “right questions” to gauge the past behavioural patterns often leads to missing the most probable future courses of behaviour in the given situations. It is extremely critical for recruiters to take note of emotional quotient, distortions, contradictions and deletions during the interview. Having had some success with this, I have had a few cases of my interview inferences coming near cent percent true post recruitment.

4.       Segregating “ability” and “potential”:  Leadership recruitment requires a clear understanding of these two which sometimes may be interchangeably used in literal terms. As leadership roles involve strategic investment for the organisation, either both or the latter could be very relevant from a longer time horizon. Ability helps leaders execute quickly, potential keeps them ahead in the “inspirational” bracket of leadership for their given structures and helps them to create and re-create “differential” that keeps them there.

5.       Not identifying the “amiability” quotient:  Leading teams requires acceptability and buy in as the very basic qualities in leaders. All amiability indicators like humility, poise, mannerism, interpersonal sensitivity, focus, and ability to strike “good transactions” and receptivity may be some key indicators of amiability quotient. Someone who has progressed to the eligibility of leadership level hiring may be looked upon more on these than his past successes.

Failure in hiring the right leadership position can have destructive implications and it may be advisable to build caution in the process and have requisite skill to identify the right talent.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Five detrimental havocs at a new work place

In this fast paced professional world, most people end up with average 3-6 assignments in their active working tenures. Over the years, I have worked with many such professionals and as a keen observer, tried to assemble the small dispersed fragments of my observations on the most detrimental mistakes people make at their new work place;

1.       Insensitivity towards the change of Industry: Companies across different industries do not work alike. While most organizations work with a view to encourage diversity and assimilation of ‘best practices’, the business model of each industry is bound to be different. It may not be a great idea to compare and view everything with an already conditioned mind. This may only reflect inflexibility and discomfort in a different environment.

2.       Insensitivity towards organizational culture: Each organization has been brought up with deep rooted values, good, bad or ugly over several years. Building an expectation of organization changing for you, or, you changing the organization too fast, at will could be decimate your chances of success with colleagues and the new environment.

3.       Criticizing the legacy that one inherits: All of us inherit some legacy and also leave one behind. While most of us may expect admiration or appreciation on what we leave behind, a majority of people end up criticizing what has been handed over to them at their new work place. More than this, these are extremely unfounded, premature conclusions which are made and communicated in order to re-set the expectations on the starting point.

4.       Pre-conceived notions about their work place : I observed a few unproductively researching on weak areas to be highlighted or identifying ‘tough nuts to crack’ in their initial learning days rather than focusing to know more about the industry, business, comparables with the best in the industry and improvement areas. This only reflects self serving assumptions that begin to condition their minds and shape their perceptions and beliefs. A different reality only ends up being a shocker while the damage is already done. It may be a good idea to look for data for objective judgment.

5.       Focusing on personal engagements: Arriving at a new work place has its own anxieties and new joiners end up managing them by engaging with presumably like- minded people, irrespective of relevance and value of precious learning time, and the opportunity to meet many others at the work place. While comfortable relationships will address initial anxieties, it may be useful to engage and be visible across departments and peer group to be effective, faster than expected.

A new work place is the ramification of one’s effort to get a new opportunity, environment or setting. It is that time to begin completely afresh with no inertia, notions or past experiences. I would recommend that all of us make the most of this occasion and time.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Stop living with these five degenerating myths

Recently, I spoke to about 30 people among my acquaintances and asked them only one question… ‘do you want something to change in your life’.. expectedly I could see an answer in  assent. I did this in order to gauge the percentage of people who, despite a strong urge and a dormant need to change, keep it suppressed and do not act further to seek help. The most common ‘internal justifications’ or myths people resort to are typically:

1.       I can’t change it: The reality is one can, if one decides to.

2.       I do not know how it will be, in an unknown territory once I step into: A change will happen only when one moves from the status quo.

3.       Time is not right to begin and I will wait: Good time shall never happen by procrastinating. There are advantages of beginning early, in all walks of life.

4.       It is not worthwhile putting in resources (Time/energy, effort, money): Nothing moves without effort and commitment. Once need and ways to bring about a change are bought into, go whole hog to reap disproportionate gains from the requisite change.

5.       My time for learning is over: In fact the time for learning is never over. Without learning, one begins degenerating. It is a sure shot recipe for obsolescence.

The need is to seek professional help and look out for an agent of change who can help you sail through these transitions. It is necessary to recognize and be aware if one is telling these lies to himself. I always argue the concept of ‘Compounding’ and ‘Opportunity cost’ in one’s life. It signifies the time advantage by your side if positive changes are brought in earlier and minimizing relative loss by taking the right foot forward. I wish to embark upon these concepts a little more in my next blog. Meanwhile, wish all of you a very happy Dussehra, and wish that all of us kill the evil forces inside us and let the pure soul prevail.