ASK ALAN: About Having the “Right” People
Good customer relationships are at the heart of business success. However, simply having people to do the work isn’t enough.
Good to Great
Jim Collins, the author of the best-selling book, Good to Great, says that “great companies reject the old saying that people are your most important asset. The right people are!”
Collins spent five years analyzing 28 companies to discover why some companies make the leap to greatness while others don’t. In determining “the right people,” Collins says, “great companies place greater weight on character attributes than on specific educational background, practical skills, specialized knowledge, or work experience…they view these traits as more teachable, whereas character, work ethic, basic intelligence, dedication and values are more ingrained.”
Collins sites two essential reasons for having the right people in your organization. “If you have the right people…the problem of how to motivate and manage people largely goes away. The right people don’t need to be tightly managed or fired up; they will be self-motivated by the inner drive to produce the best results.” Secondly, “If you have the wrong people…it doesn’t matter…you still won’t have a great company. Great vision without great people is irrelevant.”
Morris-Jenkins never hires on technical skills alone!
Consider Morris-Jenkins, the South’s leading home heating, cooling, and plumbing business. Dewey Jenkins, the President, purchased the forty-two-year-old Morris Heating and Cooling Co., in 1990. He says, “we had only two technicians and six installers. I had no knowledge of the heating and cooling industry. I believed, however, that with the right people adhering to our mission and core values, our company could be a leader in the industry.
“Our company never hires based on technical skills alone, but rather hires people who are competent in strong interpersonal relations. We can teach the right person the technical skills to do the job. However, we can’t teach the most highly skilled technician, how to get along with people.”
Morris-Jenkins is one of many businesses consistently raising the bar on their own performance.
So, how do you avoid hiring the “wrong” people?
I asked this question to Michelle Fish, a 24-year veteran recruiter and CEO of Integra Staffing and Executive Search. “One mistake is not thoroughly checking references. Companies feel that background checks, drug testing, and credit checks (when applicable) are enough. However, statistics show that one of every three resumes contain ‘white lies.’”
If you are accountable for your hiring decision, you need to do your own reference checks. “It is always a good practice to talk with others that know the candidate. Be sure to look for consistency in the references and the interview,” Fish says. Another common mistake, “is not having a detailed job description with performance requirements. Often the company’s think they’ll know the right candidate when they meet them.”
Shortcuts during this process almost always result in hiring the wrong person. The process to find the right person for the job requires well-thought-out character attributes and performance-based questions that are asked and answered,” she says. Lastly, Michele said, “I’m a big advocate of “hiring assessment tests. They can help in your search for the ‘right’ people.”
Organizations that hire the right people experience increased profitability through lower employee turnover, improved customer relationships and being easier to do business with.
Do you have the “right people” in your business?
Alan Adler is an Executive Coach, Business Consultant & Speaker. He’s worked for Westinghouse Broadcasting, as a producer/director and with senior management at AT&T, as a corporate spokesperson. Additionally, Alan has been an entrepreneur, creating and growing his own business, Alan Adler & Associates. As a result, he knows management, media and marketing. Alan specializes in helping entrepreneurs through mid-sized businesses, improve profitability. He lives in Huntersville, NC with his wife Mindy. They have two grown children, two adorable grandchildren, and a rescue dog named Bentley.