Mind Your P’s and Q’s to Hire the Right People

Mind Your P’s and Q’s to Hire the Right People

Hiring the right people consistently doesn’t have to be so complex, especially if we do what we were taught by our parents- that is, to mind our P’s and Q’s. Discover how to use evidence-based approaches to decide who will be the right fit for a critical leadership position…

Answering three questions (the 3Qs) based on your own experiences will build the foundation for a more objective and evidence-based selection process.

  1. Have you ever hired someone who you thought would be great… but who ultimately didn’t meet your expectations?
  2. At some point in your career, were you ever hired by someone who you subsequently learned you were not compatible with?
  3. In your personal life, how many people do you know who dated and/or married someone who seemed ideal initially… and then later found out the match wasn’t as good as they had originally hoped?  When I’ve asked these same 3 questions to thousands of senior executives over the last 27 years, their answers were remarkably consistent.  As they reflected back over their life experiences, these senior executives told me they wished that they had known these facts earlier both in their careers and in their personal lives… because they could have saved themselves a tremendous amount of time, money, and heartache…and they couldn’t help comparing their personal/dating lives with their professional lives.  Many of our life experiences and best practices research studies have verified the similarities between hiring and dating and support the Baldrige criteria. These also demonstrate what we can do to boost our Knowledge Management (Category 4) and help us deploy this knowledge most effectively and efficiently.  Our answers to the three questions also demonstrate the importance of making informed decisions about the people we surround ourselves with and who we depend on every day, because it is these decisions that separate the best leaders from the rest.   We know for sure that the best leaders in the best companies want better than average results.  They deliberately surround themselves with other highly capable people who can help them to achieve their goals.  They refuse to settle for the luck of the draw.  How do we define personality?  If we step back and think about it for a moment, a good, evidence based definition of personality is “a relatively stable set of characteristics and ways of behaving that a person demonstrates over time”.   What’s important to stress from this definition of personality is that it focuses on a pretty consistent pattern of observable behavior that a person displays day in and day out.  But this definition requires that we are honest with ourselves.  Most of us are not psychic and we can’t read others minds.  Instead, we form our impressions of others’ personalities based on what they say and do and not their hidden, innermost thoughts.  We need to focus on others’ personalities in order to improve our hiring quotients and Follow the 3P’s … “Personalities Propel Performance“.  As we look at a few of the Baldrige criteria, we will discover several practical and productive ways to apply this knowledge to:
  • develop ever improving value to our customers and stakeholders and
  • improve our organizations’ overall effectiveness and capabilities.

 Category 1, Leadership, specifically asks how do our senior leaders create an environment that engages customers, is innovative, and rewards high performance. Effective leaders in this category need to be driven to continuously improve, must be open and responsive to feedback, transparent, service-oriented, and willing to take intelligent risks.

Thinking back over our own careers, how many of us have worked with leaders who were complacent, risk-averse, sensitive to criticism, or just plain rigid?  How did their words and actions affect the culture?  Think about how much more effective they could have been if they were more self-confident and responsive to the feedback that was readily available to them.

Category 3, Customer Focus, asks us how do our employees listen and advocate for our customers… What do our leaders do to encourage and reward others to exceed customers’ expectations and to do more than does our competition?

Thinking about some of the best leaders we’ve worked with, what have they done to build loyal customer relationships?  How would most others describe their personalities?

Category 4, Measurement Analysis, asks in part, how do our leaders gather and share information with others? 

Thinks about when we have worked with a controlling leader who was reluctant to share critical information with others? How did that affect us and others in our organizations?

Perhaps the most obvious category in which the right personalities propel performance is Category 5, Workforce Focus.  Workforce Focus asks how our organization assesses their capabilities and capacity to facilitate their high performance.   Part of this includes what is the organization doing to recruit, select, develop, and retain high performers who will help to achieve the strategic objectives not only for today, but for the future as well.  We need to be selective when delegating responsibilities to others, as they must demonstrate both the capacity and the desire to do their jobs well.

Just as evidence-based medicine recognizes that it costs less to do things right the first time, progressive leaders understand they need to assess the specific criteria for success “up-front” in order to decide which candidate will be the best fit for their specific needs.  This evidence-based approach significantly increases our confidence in our critical decisions as well as our selected leaders’ odds for success.

Moreover, those leaders who choose to continue making critical hiring decisions primarily at the “gut level” unintentionally expose their organizations and their own careers to needless, significant risks.  Recognizing that the direct and indirect costs of a leadership “wrong hire” are at least 6-10 times that person’s annual earnings click here to see research findings, the best leaders put their egos aside and utilize all available evidence to achieve the most effective and efficient usage of their limited resources.  Systematically identifying and leveraging those key factors that drive organizational and individual success is a core element of the Baldrige Criteria and all Evidence-Based Selection Best Practices.

Over the last 27 years, The Synergy Organization has helped thousands of progressive leaders and organizations across the country, including national Baldrige Award recipients, to hire the “right fit” leaders the first time.  Integrating unique expertise, validated psychological testing, the findings from our own leadership and HR Best Practices research studies, and the Baldrige Criteria enables us to provide our clients with the precise data and confidence they need to mitigate their risks and consistently hire extraordinary leaders most cost-effectively.