Top 4 Reasons You’ve Got the Wrong People

by Shaun R Smith on March 8, 2011

Post image for Top 4 Reasons You’ve Got the Wrong People

We’ve been talking for the last few weeks about the Six Key Words to use to identify great team members.  We’ve covered the first three (like, trust, and respect).  Let’s pause this week to look at why businesses have such a hard time getting the right people.

Reason #4: You Don’t Know What You’re Looking for

I had a client once who was lamenting that she couldn’t find the right manager for her business.  I asked her to describe the “right” manager to me.  She’d never thought about it!  She’d never stopped to actually think and write out who the perfect person would be for this position.

We spent some time crafting the picture of who would excel in her company and in this particular role.  Naturally, we covered the standard areas of a job description:

- Past experience

- Skills and expertise required

We also started brainstorming a fully fleshed avatar of who the perfect employee would be.  What would his attitude be, his values, his energy?  What would be important to him?

After we’d finished this exercise, the person appeared within the week.  Getting crystal clear as to what you’re looking for is invaluable.

Reason #3: You Don’t Know What’s Important to Your Employees

When I hear a client complaining that his staff isn’t fulfilling his every wish (often with the expectation that the employee is telepathic), the first question I ask is, “What’s important to your employee?”

A blank stare.

Andrew Carnegie in his classic How to Win Friends and Influence People notes that if you know what makes someone feel important, you know that person’s primary motivation.

You expect your employees to care about your company’s future, but you don’t care about theirs.  This is a huge disconnect.  The best employees will always be those individuals whose personal missions align with the mission of the company for which they’re working.

Reason #2: Can’t Read People Proficiently

Just like the other skills you must develop to be a great business owner, this skill takes time and practice.  When you make a mistake reading or assessing a team member, vendor, customer, or partner, what did you learn from it?  If you can effectively turn these “failures” into learning experiences, you can continue to propel your company forward – even in the face of challenging circumstances.

Especially in today’s litigious society, even if an employer does everything morally and legally correct, he can be exposed to various employment related risks if he hires poorly.  There are “professional plaintiffs” who have standing relationships with attorneys and make a living suing employers.  With all the wage and hour rules, there are now websites (like this one) where attorneys can find disgruntled employees so they can sue business owners.  Speak with a lawyer or HR specialist, know what’s the legally right thing to do, and do it.

But also learn to hire great people who share your values and have an attitude that will bring positive results to your business.

Reason #1:  It takes TIME

Building a great team takes time – more time than ANY small business owner I’ve ever met was putting into it.  You can’t just run an ad online or call a recruiter, spend 15 minutes talking to someone in an interview, and hope it works out.  Building a great team takes focus, clarity, time, and energy.  You might get lucky and find your dream employee after just speaking with a few candidates.  Or you might have to look and look, and then hire someone who doesn’t work out after 6 months, and have to look again.

As Jim Collins describes in this article, Packard’s law still holds:

Growth in revenues cannot exceed growth in people who can execute and sustain that growth.

Building a great team is the number one priority for a growing business.  The fastest way to change your company is to make a people change.

Put in the time to find great people – it will you pay you dividends beyond your wildest dreams.

Photo by: Pat Williams

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: