You are a bus driver. The bus, your company, is at a standstill, and it’s your job to get it going. You have to decide where you’re going, how you’re going to get there, and who’s going with you.
Most people assume that great bus drivers (read: business leaders) immediately start the journey by announcing to the people on the bus where they’re going—by setting a new direction or by articulating a fresh corporate vision.
In fact, leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with “where” but with “who.” They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. And they stick with that discipline—first the people, then the direction—no matter how dire the circumstances.
What I have been struck by is how many "errors" continue to be made by organizations and leaders in getting the right people on the bus and in making sure that the right people are in the right seats. My recent experience has seen this happen at all levels of an organization - with Board's selecting their next CEO, CEO's looking for C-Suite candidates, all the way down to first-line management personnel. Over and over again - in each circumstance - I'm struck with how simplistic some of the selection processes can be. Over and over again, too many selection processes fall prey to the power of powerful/likeable personalities or a plethora of credentials. Unfortunately then, the chances of success for the candidate and the organization are akin to a roll of the dice - which would be a lot less expensive than many traditional selection processes.
The recent examples that I can relate and their costs are stark. Senior Executives let go with as little as 4 months on the job experience. A leader terminated within a year of hire but not before creating a an environment so toxic that several team members quit, organizational credibility was significantly damaged, and organizational performance stalled. Leaders kept in roles not suited to their skills or leadership capacity - because others couldn't or wouldn't face hard realities, provide effective feedback, or make hard choices. The consequences of poor selection processes, inadequate identification of performance expectations, and lack of oversight and real feedback all combine to throw the proverbial bus to the ditch.
And yet, to me, the fix seems simple. Spend REAL time and effort up front understanding your own organization, its unique challenges and opportunities. Get CRYSTAL CLEAR on the leadership qualities you need for the role, for the direction you are headed as an organization in the next 5 to 10 years, and what a leader needs to bring as a person to your team. If you believe you are going to have to change the culture of your organization - to be more innovative, creative, flexible - then hire with those criteria in mind. If you are going to require more stability hire accordingly.
This all happens before the posting goes up, the candidates for interview are selected, and choices are faced. Create the IDEAL CANDIDATE PROFILE and don't settle! Better to try again than make a mistake which could cost you far more than a vacant chair. Be honest and courageous in understanding lessons from past selection and performance failures. If your past processes have failed you, CHANGE THEM!!
Hiring leaders and team members can be among the most strategic decisions you ever make. Leaders are critical points of leverage for success of all other staff. And your staff are critical points of leverage in your relationships with your customers and in pursuit of your organizational goals. Leaders can be a force multiplier for both good and bad.,
Greg Hadubiak, MHSA, FACHE, CEC, PCC
Helping leaders realize their strengths and enabling organizations to achieve their potential through the application of my leadership experience and coaching skills. I act as a point of leverage for my clients. I AM their Force Multiplier.