It starts with an Outlook meeting invite and ends with (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones playing in your head after yet another unproductive meeting. Being in a leadership position, whether at an educational institution or in business, has its challenges. These challenges tend to be magnified during times of change and transition. We look for the root of the problem and sometimes that answer is the hardest one to face because it is the most human.
Any organization's success or failure can be traced back to the quality of its employees. Too often, organizations make hiring decisions based solely on credentials; or, maintain employees long after they should have been let go. While it may seem harsh, hiring or maintaining employees for the wrong reasons harms both the organization and the individual.
In higher education, this may be seen with tenured professors resisting change in favor of maintaining the traditional status quo. Within companies, this happens when more is required from a few top-performing employees as others are allowed to only contribute the minimum. In today’s Technology Age, organizations seek employees who are passionate, innovative, and productive. In an increasingly competitive consumer-oriented culture, organizations need to be able to adapt to changing industry needs while planning for future sustainability.
Organizations are under pressure to deliver innovative products, new programs, or services causing panic that results in abrupt and unreasoned thought. The panic gives way to hiring decisions made to fill an immediate need instead of fulfilling a known weakness, and there is a difference. When an organization simply fills an immediate personnel need, they are hiring an individual who can perform specific functions for that job. The individual performs a role that is capable of meeting short term requirements without considering the long-term impact. However, when an organization fills a known weakness, they are looking to hire an individual who possesses the background, knowledge, and skills that do not currently exist, but whose experience can provide support for continued innovation and sustainable growth.
Organizations that fail generally find a source of external blame, but if they were honest, the real issue is an internal one. Hiring the wrong people robs organizations of three vital characteristics needed to be successful.
- Passion: No one wants to spend 40-60 hours a week doing a job they don’t love. When employees are engaged and feel connected to the organization's mission, they develop motivation to perform at their best. Organizations with passionate people may not have all the answers, but they have a team willing to fight through the hard times to produce a solution to whatever challenges they may face.
- Productivity: When the right people are hired, they know how to get the job done. They understand that their talents are valued and their contribution is unique to achieving the mission. They do not need to be micromanaged. They are empowered to make the decisions necessary within their area of responsibility. They understand the shared goals and objectives and find the best way to get tasks accomplished.
- Pioneering: The right people contribute in a meaningful way. They look for innovative ways to expand the organization's reach and develop new opportunities. They work together in teams to realize shared goals. They make a personal investment by demonstrating their commitment to ensuring the organization's success.
It all seems like common sense, but too often organizations struggle, not because of the products, programs, or services they offer, but because they fail to have the right people in place to grow. No matter how big or how small the institution may be, it’s vital to hire and maintain the right people who share the same common goals and purpose. The greatest companies, currently in existence, would not be in that position without great people. The right people are individuals who understand the organization's vision, make it their own, and provide the momentum to be successful.
Great vision without great people is irrelevant. ~ Jim Collins
How do you hire the right people?