Adam Smith's Law: All increases in wealth comes from the division of labor-organizing work so that those who are best at a particular task can focus on just that. This article speaks to thinking differently when you hire for your leadership team:
President, JB Homer Associates
Your Leadership DNA and Building Your Team
by Louis Gerzofsky
Director, Technology Recruiting & Executive Coaching
Many executives join organizations with long lists of programs, projects and a host of myriad issues on their agendas. They are expected to make thorough - and rapid - assessments of their leadership teams, frequently needing to quickly find diverse talent sets as they build an organization.
Unfortunately, too many talented people adopt a 'ready, fire, aim' methodology to these critical hiring decisions. They may have identified which core competencies will be required to introduce a game changing technology, turn around a floundering program or redesign an overseas supply chain but we contend, at JB Homer Associates, that before these executives begin the search process - internally and externally - to complete their leadership teams they need to complete one more action by...
...taking a good, long look in the mirror to fully understand their unique abilities.
Probably the core principal that animates our search process is the belief that everyone has a core set of unique abilities that comprise the basis of their professional success. Those unique abilities are a set of characteristics that equal excellence and, almost without exception, point to the activities for which most of us feel the most passion. And it is the energy we derive from our passions that fuels the drive we need to perform at peak levels.
All too often, executives will gravitate towards people who share common interests and values, hiring direct reports with whom they are most comfortable but who are really carbon copies of themselves. And as Peter Drucker once said, "We tend to pick people who remind us of ourselves when we were 20 years younger. First this is pure delusion. Second, you end up with carbon copies, and carbon copies are weak."
More and more of our clients employ psychometric testing during the latter stages of the interview and assessment process. Candidates for the searches we're leading come away with a much better sense of who they are. These tests are a great tool for any organization that wants to increase the probability for hiring success.
Tools, however, are only as good as the use to which we put them. If you are going to hire people who remind you of yourself you may end up constructing a team of people who get along very well but don't complement one another's strengths and weaknesses. A team of pragmatic, consensus driven executives may be successful in a steady state environment but who can they turn to if their organization needs to quickly shift gears and innovate? Conversely, a team of risk taking innovators may drive the company over the nearest ledge if the team doesn't have its share of executives who are passionate about measurement, details and process.
One final caveat: Sometimes an executive realizes that he needs to avoid the 'carbon copy hiring syndrome' and recruits someone who is 180 degrees opposite from the way he thinks. This is a person who is looking for a completely different perspective for his company. Surely an admirable quality. However, unless our intrepid executive also has the patience and willingness to compromise in ways that run counter to his executive DNA, he could end up with the least successful hiring decision of his career.
After thousands of interviews we understand that hiring for your leadership team is not a science. However, there are an increasing number of assessment tools at your disposal to shift the odds of success in your favor. Using those tools in a productive manner requires - in our estimation - that you start with yourself and hire people who offer you and your team capabilities and perspectives that will build your leadership portfolio.
If you would like to share your own insights,
please contact Louis using our Online Contact Form