THE WHO DECISION
As leaders we make hundreds of decisions every week, every month, year after year. Commercials, launches, business cases, acquisitions, what to pitch to a customer – the list of a leader’s decisions is endless.
The single most important decision however that often determines the entire success of the organization of all is the “who” decision. “who” to hire, “who” to promote, “who” to fire. Each of these decisions determines culture, productivity and success for the organisation long term. Yet leaders may often spend more time in perfecting a presentation proposal than in the recruitment of a new person into their team.
One right hire or promotion means many years of growth, profit and success. One wrong hire means many years of decline, decay and stagnation. So how can one get it right – very simply by putting a deep sense of rigour and discipline on the “who” decision. Here are some ideas to help you do so –
1. Sharp Recruitment Questions – Develop a standard set of criteria and questions to assess all candidates who you want to recruit. These should cover – their history, success stories, giving them challenging and thought provoking questions, seek examples which demonstrate the values that matter to your organisation eg entrepreneurship, leadership, vision etc. Score each candidate on a scale of 1-10 on each of the criteria that matter. Make sure you do this every single time you are recruiting anyone. You will get better at it over time.
2. Multiple Recruiters – Every person joining should be vetted and checked by atleast 3 people who have different backgrounds. People who are experienced in the organisation from different functions to get different points of view. Then compare the scores and see what patterns and learnings you get. Discuss with the others to form one clear point of view.
3. 360 Feedback for promotions – To help coach, guide and grow leaders, 360 is a powerful tool. 2 simple questions – what is the person doing well ? and what could they do better ? are the simplest method you can use. Send these to all the relevant people the individual works closely with. This can be done by the person themselves, the line manager or HR. Do it at least once a year.
4. Leadership selection – When selecting a leader in any part of the organisation, it is super important to combine long term performance, 360 feedback above and a clear assessment of the individual on the values that matter to the organisation. A “who” or “people” focused meeting must be set up every few months with all relevant leaders from across the organisation to discuss and then jointly decide “who” should be the next leaders in the organisation.
5. 1-1 Connect – Every single person in the organisation from top to bottom must have a chance to have a deep 1-1 connect with a leader regularly to share ideas, concerns, express their desires and feel heard. Notes from these connects should be saved up so that one can track over a period of time how someone is doing, their career wishes and the organisation’s commitments to the individual.
6. Constant Talent Hunt – Whether roles exist or not, a leader must constantly be hunting for strong talent. Networking, posting content on linkedin and other similar sites, seeking out names from other parts of the organization or other companies is a key leader responsibility.
All of this takes time and dedication. Leaders who devote disproportionate time to the “who” decision never have to worry about the “what” of the excellent results that they always get.