Who is Integrated Strategies?

November 1, 2007

Finding the Right Talent

I've written before on setting up your org chart to enable your business to succeed. There is another aspect to that though that is sometimes overlooked- the right people need to fill the positions that you created. Forbes.com has written a great article called "The War for Talent." Beyond the issue that the war isn't really new and has been going on for as long as there have been big businesses, this is critical to long-term business success.

When you look at where you business will be five years from now, besides yourself, who do you see in top management positions? Can you picture anyone who is currently on your staff making the important strategic decisions and doing it right? When you hire it is important not just to hire for the position you have open today, but to look to fill the position you will need tomorrow. Even in large companies this principle should apply. If you are the manager of a group shouldn't you be operating that group as if it is a small business?

Most groups have a unique business plan that ties into the plan of the company as a whole. On the day-to-day level you still have internal and external customers you must satisfy, business demands you must meet and a budget you must work against. The dynamic that makes larger companies different is that internal customer component. You can't turn them away or refuse them service, that would be acting against the good of the overall company. However, you can treat them as an external customer and make sure that the time and resources that you used to assist them with are accounted for accordingly. If there is a way to charge them back for your work it would probably make them realize exactly what all those "little tasks" they keep asking you to do are worth.

United Parcel Service (UPS to most of the world) has a start at the bottom and work your way up promotion strategy. Upper management started out in warehouses and driving trucks before they got to where they are. Most technology companies have a hire the best available candidate approach to filling their positions. For the most part these are the two most common hiring practices in the marketplace. Knowing which one is best for your business is the first step to understanding what talent you need to be fostering.

Promoting from within has the advantage of keeping the company culture intact with a resulting lack of short-term change. The business will evolve with the times, but often slower than everyone else around them. It offers great stability but no real creative punch. "Groupthink" will often set in and allow even the most uninterested outside observer the ability to predict the decisions and actions of your company. Internal promotions rarely result in management failures as the hires have already learned what's expected and will maintain the status quo.

Hiring the top gun on the market offers a different set of advantages and disadvantages. The most obvious issue is company culture. If your new hire decides to completely go against the grain you could be facing a rebellion and drop in productivity. Failures become a business risk. If your new guy isn't working out, waiting for the problem to solve itself may not be an option. You may be forced to pull the trigger quickly and find someone else. However, when you do get it right, the new ideas that someone from the outside can bring, mixed with the successful tricks you've already developed over the years can offer some truly exciting results.

Every company is different but for most companies a policy of only promoting from within is probably not an option just due to size. Recruiting and hiring management talent is a must. Therefore evaluating that talent effectively and accurately is a must.

There are all kinds of books in the stores on how to hire the right people. How to pick the right person for your company. Finding the qualities of successful leaders. Don't buy into the fads. In the end there are three qualities that distinguish good hires. Mike Myatt over at n2growth says it well as does Jack Yoest at Small Business Trends and so does BusinessPundit. Hiring for character, integrity, and honesty will always serve you well. It is these three qualities that breed loyalty to you and your company if you treat them right. It is these qualities that will make a person do everything they can to help your business succeed. These are the qualities you should want and hire for in every staffing decision you make.

It's often hard to know how a decision is going to turn out in the long run. Do what you can to give yourself the best chane at success.

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