Growth Strategy: Getting the Right People (Part 1) Dr. Sarah Layton CMC, FIMC

A dear friend and prominent lawyer brought today’s topic series to my attention. He says one of the keys to the success of his firm is getting the right mix of people. Over his career, he has seen many firms implode because the struggle to find and retain the right mix of personalities could not be overcome. Having a great corporate strategy, a written and well thought out strategic plan but the wrong mix of people will not get the best results. With over 20 years in the corporate consulting world, I can certainly attest that having the right mix of people will get better outcomes in almost every parameter you care to use. The corporate strategy, the strategic plan and the right mix of people are important to achieving the very highest outcome. I can’t name a single company that has employees that doesn’t struggle with the mix-of-people issue once in a while.

How do you deal with the challenge of people who may be technically brilliant, but turn off everyone they work with? They can literally suck the energy out of a room and decrease the overall value of the company. How do you deal with someone that everyone loves, the energy proliferator, the people magnet, but is not technically capable? You constantly have to check their work or re-assign it to someone else. That is a recipe for resentment in the ranks.

So, just what goes into having the right mix of people? My expertise is in the business development and growth strategy part of the equation, so I decided to defer to the HR experts to help me bring clarity to the “people problem.” I do know what can happen when the people part of the business equation goes awry. It can create a huge mess financially, operationally, culturally, marketwise and image wise. It can totally derail a good strategy.

I reached out to the professionals who could shine a strong beam of light on this challenge from their diverse angles.

Robert Newland – President & CEO, Newland Associates, an MBE Certified CPI Partner, providing Recruitment & Talent Management Solutions
Kathy Boyd – VP Sales and Marketing, EADs, Global leader in defense and aerospace
Kristie Svetics, SPHR – Central Florida HR Manager, Regions Bank, Personal banking solutions that simplify your life.
Ashley Allen – Principal, Acacia Insights, (will be featured in future blog posts)

In this first blog on Growth Strategies: Getting the Right People, Robert Newland, Kathy Boyd, and Kristie Svetics, SPHR, answer the following question relating to technical competency:

Assuming you have done proper due diligence and checked references and credentials, what do you ask a prospective employee to determine if their technical expertise is a match for your organization?

Robert Newland prefers to use skills testing software like ProveIt!* while Kristie Svetics,  recommends a behavioral based interviewing approach when assessing a candidates suitability for a position with the company. Also, asking for representative prior experiences that require such skills are important…you can do a combination of asking for examples and then validate through references.

Kathy Boyd asks the candidate to describe either a project or specific activity in which they were successful or unsuccessful and their assessment of why. As Kathy also mentions, this gives you a chance to understand how they did the work and provides an opportunity to do a deeper dive on how they accomplished results.

Kristie will go into that deeper dive. She says that the role of a teller in banking requires Teamwork in an effort to deliver exceptional customer service. A behavioral based question surrounding this key competency might be…

1. Describe a specific situation from your past work experience.
2. Describe the behavior you used in approaching the situation.
3. Describe the outcome.

Kristie sums it up pretty well. She asks for specific examples of how they’ve successfully demonstrated the experience she is looking for. She probes into their level of accomplishments for the area of expertise she is seeking and drills down to ensure they were personally responsible for the tasks and responsibilities rather than the work being done by their boss. HR departments screen in for a variety of jobs in the company and may not always have the proficiency to conduct a technical interview, however, the department managers should be well equipped to conduct a technical interview to evaluate job fit.

Post #2 in the Growth Strategy: Getting the Right People Series answers the question: What do you ask a prospective employee to determine if they will be a good fit into your organization’s culture?

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Dr. Sarah Layton CMC, FIMC is CEO/Managing Partner of Corporate Strategy Institute. She has more than 20 years helping clients deciding their growth trajectory and achieve their growth objectives.

*ProveIT – Hundreds of skills and behavioral assessments for clerical, software, technical, call center, industrial, financial, legal, medical, and more!

© 2013 Corporate Strategy Institute, all rights reserved

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Posted by Dr. Sarah Layton in Growth, Organizational Strategy, Strategic Planning and tagged , , , , , , on July 10, 2013.

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