Hire Your Own Avengers

Photo Credit: JD Hancock, Creative Commons

Photo Credit: JD Hancock, Creative Commons

We rented the Avengers movie this weekend. I enjoyed it. It’s always nice to see a band of earthlings fight off a massive horde of aliens. Even if the earthlings are all freaks of some sort.
My wife and I were trying to decide who our favorite Avenger is. I have to go with Ironman, with Captain America a close second. I just appreciate Ironman’s unmitigated pride, and his delivery. He is also not chemically altered, pure human. Pure ego, but pure human.
They all have their strengths…and their weaknesses. They all complement one another and at the end of the day, they get the job done that Nick Fury hired them for.
I love looking at people’s strengths (check out my posts on strengths) and trying to maximize their potential.
We are hiring in our office right now and looking for a specific type of person, with specific strengths. Someone that will fill in the gaps in our team and help us get the job done. I will have them in the office for multiple interviews, and personality tests, like the DISC, Values, and possibly Strengths-Based. There’s no reason for me to hire the unknown quantity, I’ve done that before, and had to let them go shortly afterward. But not before they did damage to the existing team. I intend on finding out who this person is before they join our team and culture. One of my most important jobs as leader is to develop and then protect an excellent culture.
Just like the Avengers, right?

Wish me luck.

What is your process for hiring?


3 More Leadership Lessons From A Horse Whisperer

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mnsc/1053024318/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Photo Credit: mnsc Creative Commons

I saw Larry the cowboy again this last week. He attends my church, so I usually see him on Sundays. But seeing him this time reminded me of some more lessons he shared with me on horsemanship, and leadership.

He told me that horses, like people, need a few things to be effective companions and good workers.
They need:
Security
Friendship
A Leader.

Security. A safe place. Somewhere they can be comfortable and not feel harassed or in danger.
Friendship. Someone to talk to and get to know outside of the professional sphere.
A Leader. Not being afraid of confrontation. Knowing where you want to go and sharing that.

He also described one way he uses Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits in leading and rehabilitating his horses. He told me that he never appreciated the Seven Habits until he thought one day about his horses and how he could use it with them.
He said to First Seek to Understand. Before acting on a certain behavior, find out why, or what is causing the behavior. And then you can address the source, and not just the symptom.

Lastly, he said something that showed to me his passion for his profession. He said that a horse and a man are the ultimate team. They were meant to work together. They complement each other’s strengths and buoy up the weaknesses.

In summary, I learned from him that if I can provide security, friendship and be a leader, my team will be happy. If I seek to understand before I intervene, I will more likely help than hurt. And if the right team comes together, they can be…

unstoppable.


Don’t Drop The Ball On Delegation

Photo Credit: Paul-W Creative Commons

Photo Credit: Paul-W Creative Commons

I had an experience that allowed me to learn first hand how Not to receive delegation. I am 100% responsible for not addressing this up front, and I was as disappointed as anyone else with the results.

I dropped the ball for someone this summer. I was asked to organize a fund-raiser luncheon in a couple of months. We had a meeting with four of us and some assignments were made. The person in charge was going to make some contacts and get back to me.

I waited to hear from him. I didn’t move forward when I didn’t hear back. I didn’t get invitations out in time, or make contact with donors in time. I didn’t get the job done. I didn’t take the initiative. Looking back, I can see that I didn’t receive specific enough instructions.

We didn’t communicate very clearly who was going to do what. I thought he was doing something that he thought I was doing. It was like two people trying to go through the doorway at the same time and neither one taking the lead, so both of us just got stuck there in the doorway of opportunity.

Regardless, I learned much from this experience and I won’t let it happen again. I found this list a few weeks later and thought how much I could have used this earlier.

5 steps to effective delegation:
1. Make the assignment
2. Let the person perform
3. Offer assistance
4. Receive report
5. Commend the positive, correct any errors

1. Make the assignment: Be specific in what you want from the person. Give them the vision for the end result you would like. What should we both see and experience when this project is finished.

2. Let the person perform: Let them know how and when you will follow-up. If you intend to check in with them every week, tell them that. That way they don’t think you are micro managing them when you call them every Friday to see how things are going.

3. Offer Assistance: Give them information on who and how to get help. If you are providing help, let them know that they can come to you. I always try to remember to over communicate when in doubt.

4. Receive their report when finished: At a specified, when the project is finished or the vision is completed, sit down together and review the results.

5. Commend the positive results, correct any errors: Use the follow-up meeting as an opportunity to break down problems and successes. Make changes for next time.
What is your best delegation failure story?

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(these are steps from the book Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood part B)


Hiring For The Antarctic, Or: Ask For What You Want

Antarctic Expedition

When I revamped my hiring process this spring, I had to change so many things. First and foremost was my attitude about who I wanted on my team. I then had to decide how I would attract those types of people.
I learned about the attitude I should have in hiring from another book I have referenced before, Start With Why by Simon Sinek.

One of the author’s themes in this book is that you have to appeal to people who believe what you believe.
Simon shares a story that demonstrates the right way to recruit.

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In 1914, an adventurer named Ernest Shackleton set out with a team of 27 men to cross the Antarctic continent, which had never before been done. They didn’t accomplish their mission. After many storms and being trapped in the ice on their boat for 10 months, they traveled hundreds of miles in their life boats to find help.

Eventually they were saved, and all of them survived the ordeal. Simon, in his book, says that this wasn’t luck, but an example of a great hiring process in action.
Before the expedition, Shackleton ran an ad in the London Times for his crew. He didn’t offer benefits. Simon says that he didn’t offer paid time off or amazing pay. This is what Shackleton’s ad said:

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“Men wanted for Hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success.”

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If you advertise for the right type of people, the others will weed themselves out.
Ernest Shackleton got the right men for the job because that’s who he asked for.

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Who do you want on your expedition? Are you asking the right questions?