have said it again and again: one of the most frustrating aspects of building an organization is to get the best people to work with and for you. I speak from experience in interviewing over 1000 people in three different African countries. I have seen people with exemplary academic papers, those with average education and those seriously bamboozled in life.
It has always been painstaking to get the right person. Jim Collins taught us in “Good to Great” that the first thing we need to do is to make sure that we have the right positions before we can fill those positions with the right people. He says that the best resource in an organization is not people, it is the right people! I agree. The question though is:
“How do we get the right people?”
Can you think of any ways? In one of my books, I talk about the 7 Detrimental Philosophies in the Modern Job Market. These were deduced from countless hours interviewing, equipping and managing people in these three different countries.
[ictt-tweet-inline]Spontaneity is one of the rarest quality that women look for in their lovers.[/ictt-tweet-inline] If you can just intuitively know what she is thinking an desiring and go right ahead to provide it…you are THE knight in shining armor, even if you do not know how to hold a sword! Women want us to figure some things out…read some hints and act on them. In the romantic world, they hate to expect what they know is coming, but they love the good old well timed surprise.
Surprisingly, the same applies to Managers. What truly good managers hate is to have to tell employees what to do from A to Z. Managers have so much on their plate to want to think for employees. The same applies to Mentors. Some mentees want their mentors to think for them. [ictt-tweet-inline]The same way a wife hates to think for the husband is the same way a mentor hates to think for a mentee.[/ictt-tweet-inline]
The dream that everyone has is for people who are intuitively productive. Perhaps the best prediction of this is found in the USA Network Original Series – Suits. Harvey’s personal assistant “Donna” intuitively anticipates what Harvey wants, knows what he is going through and she is able to juggle all relating to his work thus making him shine.
How do you get such a person? In my experience, getting such people from interviews is the most daunting task. There are two types of people that you will get from an interview:
For both parties, the same method is likely to give you the results you are looking for. Here is what I found out: You will not attract the exceptional people in your interviews no matter how hard you try. You get these exceptional people by drawing the best of their potential out of them, through the professional method of coaching. Coaching is a sustained professional process where the coachee is challenged to be the very best version of themselves. This is totally different from training. It is sustained, filled with accountability and at the center of it all, it is employee (coachee) driven.
Coaching blends the following fields into one: Adult literacy, Learning Styles Theory, Sports, Business, Philosophy, Psychology and Spirituality.
The best employees want to develop and so they look for the opportunity to be “managed” by someone who can help them grow and develop. So instead of you looking for these people from an interview, you get them through coaching them. Even the most qualified applicant for your interview does not have the necessary DNA that you are looking for in performance. But if people know that you are given to developing others, they want to work with you.
You know, when it all comes down to it, people are not really engaged at work because of money. They are engaged when they know that you care for them and most especially their growth and development. In other words, people are more engaged and motivated if they think that you are interested in them becoming better. If they knew that you are not just “using” them to meet departmental or organizational goals, they get more committed.
John Maxwell famously said that a leader is one who : “Knows the way, goes the way and shoes the way”. In other words, when you know that they are looking up to you as an example, you would not want to set a bad one. You up your game to become better. You raise your own bar. You get equipped so that you can equip. And as John Maxwell’s Law of the Lid says, you can only lead as your capacity allows. If you have great capacity, your team will either adjust to it or ship out.
Therefore, developing people after you have recruited them is the best kept secret. Sadly when I look at the budgets for corporate organizations I get sad. There are those who allocate money for leisure and refreshments during “training” that is far greater than that which they allocate to learning materials and the facilitator. And we wonder why we don’t have great employees.
Let me close with this quote:
CFO asks CEO: What happens if we invest in developing our people and they leave us?
CEO Replies: What happens if we don’t and they stay?