Your Salespeople Better Be Business People or Your Business May Be Out of Business

The breadth, knowledge, and ability of your salespeople equal the breadth, knowledge, and ability for them to grow the business. If you want to improve the performance outcome of your sales team, you must first educate them about the business and develop their complete awareness between their decisions and outcomes in sales.

A given? Not at all. Salespeople are expected to do one thing... SELL.  Far easier said than done. In many cases, salespeople are unaware, under-equipped and unsupported in their quest. A lack of a focused approach around teaching them the business of the business will likely leave them unfulfilled and under-performing against the target or expectation.

Thoughtstarter

The mandate to “just go sell” is far easier said than done.
Why do you think this is and what do you think about this statement?

Salespeople as Business People

The leaders of sales teams would be well advised to invest in developing their salespeople to be business people. The days of having a sales manager/director/team leader do everything for a salesperson prevents growth rather than maximizing opportunities. Having someone else do what a salesperson should have the awareness, skill, and presence to do supports a lack of accountability and a lack of performance.

The leaders of salespeople and sales teams need to have a focused approach around increasing the awareness and knowledge of their salespeople connected to the business. This is the process of developing salespeople as business people.

Here are five characteristics of sales teams where their business knowledge is advancing sales growth.

The Sales and Business Behavior That’s Expected is Rewarded

Incentive and bonus compensation are directly connected to the performance that’s expected. They aren’t used to try and manage salespeople. Expected behaviors are defined and the incentive is the result of demonstrating those behaviors.

Beyond Price, the Salespeople Consider Margin in Relationship with Customers

Each investment that’s made has an expected rate of return. Considering customers in relation to profitability is no exception. Every customer deserves to be treated well. Every customer should not be treated the same. Knowing the true profitability of each customer is important to salespeople who think like business people. Here’s a primary question they’re asking - “Who in my territory/area is costing me more to do business with than if I weren’t doing business with them?”

They’re Defining a Complete Business Relationship

They recognize that if it’s only about the transaction, there’s no true depth or mutual business respect in the relationship. This is about having the necessary conversations dealing with the complete business dynamic (credit, turns, marketing expense, etc.) rather than just the sale.

Selling Isn’t Done In Isolation

Beyond the people that make it complex, the number of variables that have to be dealt with in sales and business is only increasing. No matter how local, business is truly global. If a salesperson doesn’t understand the potential variables throughout the world that can impact their world, they will be selling in isolation and doing so at their own peril. Maximizing awareness and not selling in isolation comes as the result of educating salespeople at a higher level and knowing that they have the capacity and demonstrated ability to turn that into forward-thinking conversations with customers.

They Understand the Total Picture of the Business

What happens in the business landscape most often has a direct connection to the sales landscape. Think about the number of times something has occurred outside of your business that had an impact on your business. Did you later realize that this was something you should have seen coming? Think about each of the points above and ask yourself how you see those impacting your salespeople and your business.

It’s imperative that salespeople understand their role as business people. A failure to do so means that the future of your business is at risk, both in terms of sales growth and sustainability into the future.

Be Authentic. Be Purposeful. Make it Meaningful.

Brent

P.S. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.


Why Assumption Fuels Leadership Ignorance

Great questions lead to great conversation. Meaningful questions lead to meaningful conversation and deep questions lead to a deep conversation.

Questions, and the answers they generate, are the source of awareness, insight, and growth for leaders within companies.

Thoughtstarter

How many times have you delayed or avoided asking a question because you were uncertain or afraid of the answer?

Better Because We Ask

Here’s a question you may have heard before:

Q: What happens when you assume?
A: You make an ass out of u and me.

My good friend and colleague Ryan Lisk, the author of the book RealTime Coaching, reminds readers of the importance of inquiry ahead of assumption.

My perspective and direct connection is that we improve our leadership when we ask more questions and make fewer statements. Why? Because inquiry is the fuel to gain greater clarity and understanding about an individual, situation, problem or challenge.

Fearful of Feedback

Anyone who knows me knows that I not only enjoy asking questions, I enjoy asking tough questions that make people think. And yet… when I first began writing Thoughtwave the idea of getting feedback from readers by asking them questions sort of stopped me in my tracks. That feeling was driven by the uncertainty of the potential answers. I was fearful of feedback, so I never really wanted to engage with or ask questions of the reader. That fear fueled my ignorance related to my writing.

Inputs and Improvement

Last year I wrote about CANI – constant and never-ending improvement. The idea that nothing is ever truly finished or perfect. There is ALWAYS room for improvement and the source of that improvement is often times based on the input and feedback from a group of people known as our employees, customers, clients, readers or community of followers.

No Fear

There should be no fear in asking questions to gain understanding and avoid assumption. If you listen to your employees, customers or community of supporters and seek feedback from them, you’ll understand what’s working well and where you have the opportunity to improve.

In nearly 20 years as an advisor to the leaders who run family businesses, I have come to learn this very important point:

Leadership ignorance is fueled by assumption and the fear to ask important questions that will reveal the true health of any pursuit or business.

I have experienced this individually related to my writing and advise on it regularly as it relates to leadership performance and the advancement of cultures within privately-held and family-owned businesses.

Feedback is essential in moving beyond assumption. It tells the story of the needs and wants of groups of people that are critical to our success. Those inputs, listened to by leaders with wisdom and discernment, offer a powerful combination in getting to the core of eliminating the contradictions that can stall leaders and their companies.

Don’t assume. It’s a bad place from which to make decisions. Ask more questions. This provides the context by which you can make better decisions.

Be Authentic. Be Purposeful. Make it Meaningful

Brent


Don't Let Trends Lead You Astray

In 1984 parachute pants were “in style.” I was in college and owned a pair of those trendy tight-fitting pants. I wore them twice and never wore them again. Ripstop nylon wasn’t exactly a breathable fabric and the teal color certainly stood out in a crowd. Looking back, I laugh and know that’s a trend I would have been best to ignore. Those pants were designed for somebody, but certainly not for the 6-foot-tall, 200-pound version of me.

There’s No Magic Pill

When you follow trends, especially in business, you may gain short-term progression or attention, with the trade-off being the loss of long-term focus connected to your goals, objectives, vision or identity.

The phrase “there’s no magic pill” exists to remind us that consistency beats trends regularly.

Want to lose weight? Consistency. Want to improve your physical ability? Consistency. Want to expand your book of business? Consistency. Want to build wealth through investing? Consistency. Want to reduce or eliminate debt? Consistency. Want to develop people to think differently? Consistency. Want to improve at something? Consistency. Want to grow a company? Consistency.

Consistency isn’t trendy… it’s consistent. It offers stability apart from variation or contradiction.

The Critical Question

There are a lot of things that chasing trends can cause you to do. Some of them good and some not so good. Here’s a critical question to ask yourself.

What does establishing consistent performance require me to do individually and/or organizationally?

Consistency doesn’t require you to forego an awareness and connectivity to trends. Chasing trends may, however, cause you to forego consistency in your sales performance, leadership or business evolution.

It’s a Matter of Discipline

In a practical sense, defying trends is about two things:

  1. Definition - Knowing who you want to be as a professional and/or what you want your company to be in the marketplace.
  2. Discipline -   Working consistently and relentlessly toward the definition of your identity versus letting a trend take you somewhere else, in an alternate direction or someplace you were never intended to go.

Thoughtstarter

You Do You is a trendy phrase/idea being featured in a variety of commercials and on billboards across the country. While it’s trendy, it’s also a great call for clarity about people being the people they want to be in the world. Here are a couple of connected thoughtstarters that will help you move beyond being trendy.

  • Before you can do you, you must first define who you want to be as a person. This is about understanding your identity.
  • In order for you to do you, you must consistently and relentlessly work with the awareness of knowing who you are as a person, leader, friend and more.

Think about it for a while.

Be Authentic. Be Purposeful. Make it Meaningful.

Brent

P.S. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.


Are You a Thermostat or a Thermometer?

Thoughtstarter

Take a minute to ask yourself this question. Are you a thermostat or a thermometer?

The Difference

A thermometer tells you the temperature in the room; it reacts to the environment around it. A thermostat sets the temperature of a room; it regulates an environment.

Thermometer leaders consistently react to the situations and conditions they confront. Their reaction is often driven by the environment that’s created for them rather than one they define.

Thermostat leaders regulate their business environment and don’t settle for less than defined best practices. It’s uncommon for a thermostat leader to compromise the standards that they’ve established for themselves.

5 Compromises You Should Never Make When it Comes to Workplace Excellence

As a leader, setting the temperature of your environment begins with understanding the climate you want to create. Here are five factors that thermostat leaders regulate continually.

  1. The Hiring Process
    My belief is that people are the foundation of your business. That being said, why is it that so many leaders fail to connect the hiring/selection process to their business in a meaningful manner? Belief in their “gut feel” creates a compromise that is problematic at best and catastrophic in a worst-case scenario.  A best practice option is to take a balanced approach that considers both the subjective factors (gut, experience, and likeability) and the objective factors (behaviors, driving forces, competencies, and capacity) related to hiring ideal candidates. You may want to check out the recent Thoughtwave on selection fatigue.
  2. Safety
    Nobody wants to go home differently than they came to work as a result of a workplace injury. That’s why best practices related to creating a safe work environment must be clearly defined and enforced relentlessly with consistency. Easy to say and far harder to ensure, if best practices regarding safety are allowed to go undefined or be compromised regularly. Non-negotiable would be the term that best describes the required attitude by leaders related to applying the best practices of safety in their organization.
  3. Personal Standards
    There’s a difference between a compromise that’s mutual and compromising your standards simply to make someone else feel comfortable. Defining personal standards is a choice. Leading from those standards is about defining a set of personal best practices. How others feel about those standards is largely irrelevant as long as they aren’t destructive to you, others or your company. Mediocrity, in the form of people who want you to lower or abandon your standards, has a way of trying to chip away and erode what they may feel is too demanding or intense for them individually. Let me be clear. This is not your problem to resolve.
  4. A Culture of Communication
    Awareness is a powerful ally of excellence. Communication is a foundational element of awareness. Defining an environment where the two go hand-in-hand sets the tone for better insights, interaction, and decisions. The impact to a defined standard comes in the form of optimized results. These are the most effective results possible and the factor that establishes impact and differentiation is communication.
  5. Personal Accountability
    Being answerable for your individual actions sets the leadership temperature for your team. It’s about being willing to take ownership and accept personal responsibility for the outcomes. This begins with the ability to proactively self-evaluate every aspect of your leadership and see new possibilities by examining your personal approach. Thermostat leaders define their successes and mistakes and make them a part of their leadership progression and evolution.

Final Thought           

As you go through the week, think about whether you set the temperature or tell the temperature.

Be Authentic. Be Purposeful. Make it Meaningful.

Brent

P.S. Are there any other factors you would add to the list to ensure workplace excellence? Let me know in the comments.


Why Reading Requires Focus

You can’t believe everything you read. True statement. Here’s an even truer statement. You shouldn’t act on everything you read.

As a leader, reading is imperative. Reading engages your brain and sharpens your perspective. Reading is a great way to expand your awareness and knowledge. It’s about developing the ability to consider ideas that go beyond the scope of your own thinking.

Common Sense Before Book Sense

You’re never too young to read or too old. Reading something is better than reading nothing. From blogs to books, feeds to articles, online sources to print publications, short form or long form, reading is more about what interests you than what bores you.

There are two perspectives about reading that must be understood.

  1. Reading offers a distinct competitive advantage for leaders.
  2. Leaders who don’t read limit their capacity for growth.

This is about common sense more than it’s about book sense. It goes beyond the belief that knowledge is power. It’s about recognizing that the application of knowledge is where the real power of reading is discovered.

Seven insights about how I focus my reading:

  1. I read relentlessly.
  2. I read practically.
  3. I read beyond the boundaries of my preferences.
  4. I commit to reading something that expands my view every day.
  5. I set a goal for the number of books I want to read in a year. (This year that goal is 8).
  6. I don’t read about things that don’t interest me.
  7. I read with focus because I can’t, and shouldn’t, act on everything I read.

BTW -  Right now, I’m reading a book titled The American Entrepreneur by Willie Robertson. This is a book about the daring movers and shakers who dreamed big and risked everything to build better lives.

Thoughtstarter: Adapt, Adopt, Abandon

Reading requires focus because every idea read isn’t a call to action to change something within yourself or within your company. Sometimes reading is simply about…well... reading.

Let me encourage you to start reading if you’re not and keep reading if it’s already become a habit. Saying that you don’t read because you don’t like to read is about justification ahead of development. Think of it this way…

Would you want a surgeon to operate on you that hadn’t expanded their view both intellectually and experientially on surgical techniques and methods over the last 25 years?

Before you read, understand whether what you’re reading is more about your enjoyment or your education. Sometimes you won’t know until you’re done reading. Regardless, any reading expands your awareness.

When you read for insight and knowledge, ask yourself this question to help bring clarity to your reading.  “Should I adopt, adapt or abandon this idea?” Think of this like your reading filter.

When you choose to adopt an idea, it’s because it offers you something. It’s like a best practice that fulfills something you want and helps to generate a result. In the same way, it’s okay to acknowledge that someone else’s good idea doesn’t have to immediately become your best practice. It’s okay to recognize that what worked well for someone else may not be the best option for you, but you can adapt it to work for you. Perhaps most importantly, it’s okay to read something and realize that what worked for someone else won’t work for you and you can abandon the idea.

The most important thing to remember? Read.

Be Authentic. Be Purposeful. Make it Meaningful.

Brent

P.S. What are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments.


Start. Stop. Continue.

Designing a strategic plan simply for the sake of the exercise is a waste of time. Along with the plan, action is required. Defining a plan and then failing to act doesn’t equal results.  Understanding and executing around a set of required actions, used as measures of success within your company, may be far more productive.

What Does Action Planning Look Like?

If you or your company are looking for an effective way to advance initiatives, consider three simple words...Start. Stop. Continue. Why wouldn’t you start doing things that will improve your performance or business, stop doing things that are detrimental or unproductive, and continue best practices that are already contributing to success?

If you want to improve a team, department, or your entire business it’s imperative to take the time to reflect on what’s going well, what isn’t going well, and what could be improved. Start, Stop, Continue allows your team to create an action plan for improvement. Here’s how it works...

#Thoughtstarter

Hang three large posters on the wall. The posters will need to be labeled:

  • Start
  • Stop
  • Continue

Provide everyone on your team a pad of sticky notes. Tell them they are to keep their sticky notes private; they’ll have the opportunity to share their ideas with the group later. Provide the group 10-15 minutes and allow them to list actions they believe the group should start doing, stop doing, and continue doing, a separate note for each action.

When time is up allow participants to place their sticky notes on the corresponding posters. Then, encourage the group to work together to group the sticky notes by related ideas.

Next, facilitate a discussion to confirm that everyone agrees that the actions have been placed into the correct categories.

Lastly, provide everyone a marker and allow them to put a tally next to what they believe to be the top 2-3 actions to start doing, stop doing, and continue doing. The actions with the most tallies are your priorities.

When you complete the exercise, you will have an action plan that was determined and directed by the team. You’ve used a simple process that allows the individuals participating to assess themselves and the team while defining next directed steps that are immediately actionable at all three levels.

The next time, you feel a bit frustrated by strategy, consider three simple questions to get your thinking and action moving in a positive direction.

  1. What do we need to start doing?
  2. What do we need to stop doing?
  3. What do we need to continue doing to advance performance/results?

Be Authentic. Be Purposeful. Make it Meaningful.

Brent

P.S. What did you discover by utilizing this exercise? Let me know in the comments.


Email is Imploding as a Method of Communication

Email is imploding. Why? The breakdown in understanding and valuing communication awareness and effectiveness among people sharing ideas.

You’ve Seen This Happen

Recently, I watched two individuals who were working on the same project, in the same work area, exchange their thoughts and ideas with each other solely via email and text. There was no interpersonal interaction, communication or understanding. They could have easily had a face-to-face/one-to-one collaboration and conversation. They chose instead to exchange and expand complex thoughts around a complex project via an electronic interaction. It’s no wonder that when I sat in on the meeting in which their ideas were challenged directly that their thought process collapsed.

The problem? They had exchanged emails and texts; they hadn’t built the relationship of interaction, understanding and communication.

It’s happening more and more in workplaces and in homes… people have exchanged interpersonal interaction and conversation for soundbites, tidbits and broad interpretation.

Suddenly, the phone seems completely revolutionary and relevant again as a means to have a conversation that allows people to expand their interactions beyond one dimensional.

Get Your Butt Out of Your Chair

If the phone is revolutionary in expanding communication, then getting face-to-face and one-to-one is flat out disruptive and an idea to be maximized.

Here’s a suggestion. The next time you have to communicate with someone who’s in close proximity to you, and you think about sending an email or text, get your butt out of your chair and go talk to them - have a meaningful conversation about the topic.

Need to have a challenging conversation with a customer or client? Pick-up the phone and call them. Does a really challenging situation with a client require real face-to-face awareness and insight? Make the investment… go see them. You may be surprised at what this does to deepen your relationship, define a competitive differentiator and increase your value.

Same Problem Different Technology

In an era in which technology is viewed as contributing to our effectiveness and efficiency, it may be worth a look back to Circa 1990 to recognize that as much as things change, they truly remain the same. Check it out here and you’ll have a better understanding of my perspective and purpose around direct communication and interaction.

Email, just like fax machines, isn’t an effective method of communication when used one-dimensionally or incorrectly. Technology certainly doesn’t offer a method of interpersonal communication.

Let’s not be delusional. I use text, email and other forms of technology daily. I also invest the majority of my day either on the phone with clients or working with them face-to-face. The result?  Greater clarity, less misinterpretation and differentiated understanding. Why? Because direct interaction and communication matter.

#Thoughtstarter

Technology has expedited communication, but in so many cases has failed to make it more effective.  Email does not allow someone to convey their thoughts as accurately as they could face-to-face.

Email is imploding. It shouldn’t be your primary source of communication, rather it should be a supplement to your differentiated one-to-one plan and interpersonal strategy.

Earlier this month I discussed casualization of the workplace and lowering your standards simply because it is viewed as acceptable to others. Don’t allow email to become another casualization trap. Stand apart and be the person who excels at interpersonal communication.

Be Authentic. Be Purposeful. Make it Meaningful.

Brent

P.S. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.


Why Casual Conversations Create Organizational Chaos

Take Note

The problems and challenges within an organization are directly related to not only a lack of communication, they’re directly related to the casualness of many conversations. As a company grows, these one-off conversations have the potential to create a level of chaos that is both counterproductive and destructive to organizational advancement and effectiveness.

The Cornerstone of Success

Communication is the cornerstone of your company’s evolution and the direct outcome of growth. So, while every communication doesn’t have to be structured, every conversation can’t be casual.

I see it all the time in family business. The business starts as a small enterprise and the entrepreneur becomes comfortable with communicating in a one-to-one manner throughout the entire company. In that stage of a company’s growth, it represents the quickest and most effective path to results. Then the business grows, and grows some more. Then the business achieves exponential growth. The owner eventually finds that what s/he communicates to one individual is passed through the organization, one person to the next, and by the time it reaches its final destination is a much different message than it was originally. “This isn’t the way it used to be,” they can be heard saying in a frustrated tone. The good news is that the company’s success has fueled a requirement for a more enhanced system of communication. The bad news is that many leaders are so slow to recognize this changing dynamic.

“If communication is so important to the success of any enterprise or relationship, why is it that people are so slow to recognize the changes that have to occur to make it more effective?”

“As a company grows exponentially, the process of communication must evolve as well in order to achieve the intended outcomes and desired results.”

“Communication wasn’t intended to be continuously random.”

Absolute Importance

The evolution and effectiveness of communication within a growing enterprise is based on leaders recognizing the absolute importance of advancing the communication cadence, sequencing and systems. So, what does this look like? Depending on the size of the company, you may find some or all of these options applicable:

  1. Engage team-members/employees one-to-one on a regular basis. Use this time to discuss what has gone well and what hasn’t gone well over a period of time and adjust as needed.
  2. Implement daily and weekly connections among departments and teams that are concise and purposeful. Use this time to connect and communicate on all priorities.
  3. Don’t let communication become bureaucratic or unnecessarily complex. In other words, don’t trade common sense for processes and procedures that make no sense in moving communication forward.
  4. Teach people what effective communication looks like and doesn’t look like specifically.
  5. Create a system for how information should flow through your organization so that communication is based on the required connections between people.

 

#Thoughtstarter

Don’t assume that because someone has reached a certain position or level that they’ve mastered effective communication. Entrepreneurs, owners and senior leaders are often the primary source of communication chaos within their company. This is because they think of and reference communication based on what it was in the past rather than what it needs to be now and into the future.

The expression “if we aren’t growing, we’re dying,” can be heard in the hallways of companies around the world. Highly effective leaders within the most effective organizations give another context to this wisdom that goes like this... “If we aren’t communicating, were dying.”

Make no mistake that what you say matters and people listen.

It’s not about eliminating casual conversations. It’s about recognizing that, at some point, they must evolve and can no longer serve as the primary strategy for effective communication within a company. Growth demands that leaders become more purposeful than casual in their communication.

Be Authentic. Be Purposeful. Make it Meaningful.

Brent

P.S. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.


Casualization

I’m not quite sure where it all started. Casual Fridays? The home office? Aloha Friday? What began with an emphasis on relaxing the traditional dress code on one day of the week in the late 90’s has turned into the steady casualization of the American Workplace in appearance, mindset and behavior.

Let’s Be Honest

How often do you really associate sloppy appearance with an enhanced professional image or personal brand in the workplace?

When was the last time a casual mindset really struck you as forward-thinking and contributive?

Just because someone chooses not to wear socks with a pair of dress shoes doesn’t mean that the entire organization should adopt that as their new standard of appearance.

This isn’t about being judgmental or lecturing. I’ve dressed traditionally at work and I’ve dressed more casually. What I can definitively tell you in both cases is that it’s about attitude.

An Attitude of Professionalism

I don’t see the value in diminishing appearance simply for the sake of comfort. Just like I don’t value trendy simply because it’s well...trendy.

Granted, I’ve been referred to as hyper-professional on more than one occasion. There’s no doubt that I value the way I present and carry myself. I’d rather be known as hyper-professional than overly-casual. It’s an attitude.

We represent ourselves in how we look, behave and communicate and others determine how seriously we are to be taken based on these factors as well. When we over casualize anything we put our credibility and professionalism at risk.

The Practicality of it All

Have you ever noticed how people continually try to encourage and help you lower your attitude of professionalism simply to justify their own limited view?

I wear a suit on a regular basis. Recently, there’s been an uptick in the number of people who’ve commented that “wearing a suit is over the top and unnecessary in today’s business climate.” The two questions that run through my mind each and every time are the same.

“Is that a fact or is that your opinion?”
“Is your comment more about my attitude or is it more reflective of your attitude?”

For me, wearing a suit has nothing to do with today’s business climate or what someone says is required, preferred or in style. My appearance, and by extension my suit, reflects my attitude toward myself, my clients, our relationship and my mindset towards our work together.

Check out this Lifehack and you’ll gain immediate perspective on why an attitude of professionalism and corresponding appearance matter practically.

In 2010, just nine short years ago, UBS, a Swiss bank, published a 44-page manual for employees on how to dress. It included everything from practical advice such as, “"If you wear a watch, it suggests reliability and that punctuality is of great concern to you,” to the personal: "The ideal time to apply perfume is directly after you take a hot shower, when your pores are still open." While the employee dress manual was over-the-top, it acknowledges and re-enforces a simple and practical point for anyone who’s looking to influence outcomes and results.

Your attitude of professionalism and how you present yourself matters.

#Thoughtstarter

Don’t lower your standards to what others view as “the norm or acceptable”. Suit up and define your attitude of professionalism.

Be Authentic. Be Purposeful. Make it Meaningful.

Brent

P.S. Let me know your thoughts on casualization in the workplace in the comments.


Selection Fatigue - When No One is Right for the Job

Selection fatigue is real, and it tests the stamina of most managers at some point in their career.

Ultimately, many bad hiring decisions are connected to a lack of willingness to stay the course in finding a person who aligns well with the position rather than just finding a person to put in the position.

Sound illogical? Hardly. When it comes to selection and hiring, fatigue will pit logic and emotion against each other on a regular basis.

The Likeability Bias

Most often, with the exception of leaders who have learned through experience, emotion outpaces logic when selection fatigue sets in. Why? Because of something I refer to as the Likeability Bias.

That moment at which emotion overtakes logic in deciding who to hire because someone “likes” a candidate and believes that their “like” of the person will outpace the logic that clearly shows a lack of alignment between the person and the position.

To be clear… just because someone likes a person doesn’t mean they’re a qualified fit for the job.

The Scenario

Todd comes in for his interview and he’s instantly liked by Marsha who’s the hiring manager. Six other candidates have already been interviewed for the position. None of whom seemed like the right “fit”. Todd was sociable, personable, and shared many interests with Marsha.  As the interview progressed it was revealed that Todd was in a similar position with his current employer. During conversation, he openly, and in great detail, shared why things weren’t working out in his current situation and said that it wasn’t about the position, it was about the company. “Todd’s got potential that hasn’t been maximized in his current work environment,” thought Marsha. “Our position is more clearly defined and won’t present him with many of the challenges he currently faces,” she justified to herself.

Having completed the first interview, Marsha sent Todd a behavioral assessment. The assessment was a necessary part of her company’s selection process and would be compared to a benchmark that had been developed for the position. Marsha didn’t really agree with, or support, assessments because in her words she was an “experienced manager who had hired hundreds of people.” “My gut feel is my best guide,” she would often say about the people she hired.

The detailed output from the assessment showed that there was less than ideal alignment between the position and Todd. “What matters most is that he and I connected about the real-life requirements around the position and he fits our culture,” Marsha shared with her boss.

You can imagine how the rest of the scenario plays out… Todd is hired and Marsha and other leaders within the company become frustrated with him when he doesn’t fit the role the way that Marsha’s gut had predicted. The unnecessary amount of energy and dollars spent trying to “develop” Todd to fit the position were both real and could have and should have been avoided.

“I don’t understand. Everything went so well during the interview,” Marsha complained to her boss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Upside

Selection fatigue is like a virus and it can spread rapidly throughout those involved with hiring within your company.

The upside is, it’s curable.

Selection fatigue sets in when the people who are hiring become desperate and discouraged. Neither of which is a good place from which to make a decision about the people you hire. Here are three ways to overcome the discouragement and desperation associated with selection fatigue.

  1. Give up on the notion that perfect people exist. Getting more realistic begins with identifying the people that are the ideal fit for the position and the culture of the company.
  2. Actively look for blind spots that exist in the candidate and stop denying that they exist. Every candidate, just like every hiring manager, has them and the key is to have an awareness and understanding of what they are and how they impact performance, choices and decisions.
  3. Actively incorporate an objective resource, like a validated behavioral assessment, to the selection process and balance the subjective nature of the likeability bias in hiring decisions.

 

#Thoughtstarter

So, what happens when you feel like you’ve exhausted your candidate pool and you still haven’t aligned the ideal candidate with the role?

You stay the course and stay focused on a disciplined selection process. Don’t begin to make decisions from the space of desperate or discouraged. Sounds agonizing doesn’t it? Here’s what’s more agonizing - hiring someone who doesn’t align with what the position requires, who isn’t a good fit with the company culture, and/or who flat out doesn’t have the skills or experience necessary to succeed.

When you put someone into play that is aligned for the position, you receive great results. When you put someone into play that is not aligned to the position, you’re intentionally making a decision that minimizes results.

Be Authentic. Be Purposeful. Make it Meaningful.

Brent

P.S. Share your thoughts in the comments.