When we think of important leadership decisions, we often point to decisions of strategy, financial structuring, and market positioning. And while these choices are certainly important, long-term business success is heavily influenced by decisions that may seem less exciting, but are arguably the most critical decisions we make. How we pick people makes all the difference.
People Decisions are those choices and actions related to:
Who We Hire and Why – Selection and Hiring
What We Offer – Development Opportunities
Who We Promote and When – Advancement
How We Plan – Succession Planning
Managing People Decisions properly means having the right people in the right jobs, all the time. Having the right people is like having the correct tires on your automobile. The fastest, most capable automobile gets nowhere without the right tires making contact with the road. Similarly, a great strategy, culture, and business plan gets nowhere without the right people in every job and at every customer interaction. It’s where the “rubber meets the road”.
When we make great People Decisions, and place people in jobs that FIT them, good things begin to happen:
Training needs are reduced and become more strategic. Instead of trying to change people, we help them to be even more of what they already are. We treat them more as competent adults.
Rather than simply struggling to “stay afloat”, people who are a great fit for their job often begin to think more broadly, and bring Innovation to their tasks and processes. This innovative energy is what drives continuous improvement and service excellence.
With the increased confidence of having the right person in the Job, Managers can more comfortably allow people freedom to truly experiment, fail fast, and ultimately succeed.
So how do we make better People Decisions? One key step is to always consider the “Total-Person” when making decisions related to hiring, development, promotion, and succession.
Although it is a good screening start, the Resume only provides us an indication (but never a guarantee) that the person has a certain technical and experiential background. However, it does NOT tell us that the person is a great FIT for the job in our particular culture.
In addition to their work history, we need to know their Total-Person characteristics, meaning that they have the:
Learning Style that is consistent with the Job (more Repetition, Adaptation, or some of both)
Behavior Traits to be comfortable in the daily working environment they must face (imagine a traveling door-to-door salesman in contrast with a payroll clerk working mostly alone)
Occupational Interests that truly interest them in the Job (for example, just because a person has previous sales experience does not guarantee that they truly love prospecting and selling)
We only obtain these valuable additional insights by using scientifically validated People Assessments that measure the strengths of the Total-Person. And research shows we need MORE than a typical personality test to provide the kind of objective data we need to make great People Decisions.
Among the many benefits of using objective data:
We can be much more effective in our Hiring and Promotion Interviews. Instead of asking the same questions to every individual (which many people are trained to answer by memory), we can ask specific questions related to the individual’s unique strengths, and how they compare to the strengths of actual best performers in the Job.
Our Development Conversations become more objective, strengths-based, and action-oriented.
We begin to have a powerful internal Talent Search tool, which goes beyond the standard resume searches. We are able to find “gems” inside our organizations that may be a great fit in the Full-Person areas, but do not yet have all the experience and training needed. We can begin offering those “high-potentials” development opportunities now, and accelerate their readiness for the future.
By making these important People Decisions with the support of objective data, we begin creating a deeper pool of Talent and Talent Data. This Talent is the engine that drives successful implementation of Strategy, which ultimately results in the financial stability and success of the entire organization.
Let’s do our best everyday to make consistently great People Decisions, and give our organizations the best chance at long-term success and sustainability.
Objective assessment data provides us an excellent tool to help do just that.