Archive for June 2013

Assess Candidates Early In The Selection Process

June 24, 2013

Confirmation bias is our tendency to favor information that confirms our beliefs and dismiss information that does not support our views.  We all have confirmation biases that cloud our reasoning. The extent to which we can become aware of our biases and minimize them, will allow us to make better decisions.  As one unaware leader said, “My mind’s already made up, don’t confuse me with the facts.”

Hiring managers deal with confirmation bias frequently when evaluating candidates and rely on assessments to improve their objectivity.  If candidates are going to be assessed, the assessment should be administered early enough in the selection process before an opinion has been developed on a candidate.  Once the hiring manager decides on a candidate, the assessment may do little to change their mind.  In this case, by the time hiring managers administer assessments, the results are used to confirm their bias and dismiss information that does not support their beliefs about a candidate.

We recommend assessing candidates after the first interview, before reference checks and followup or group interviews.  This allows hiring managers to objectively analyze the assessment results and minimize their confirmation bias.

Empower hiring managers to assess candidates early in the process, and you’ll experience successful hires.


Prepare For Your Direct Report’s Graduation

June 17, 2013


This is the time of year we celebrate school graduations.  All students embark on their studies with the expectation that some day they will be moving on to another life experience.  In some way, your direct reports have the same expectation.  How prepared are you for your direct report’s “graduation?”

One of the best practices for preparing for the departure of a direct report is to cross-train other team members on key job functions.  Delegate the identification, documentation, and training of these important activities to your direct reports. Challenge them to implement effective backup procedures and test how well they work when they are on vacation.

Empower your direct reports to cross-train each other and your group will still be successful when a key member “graduates.”


The One Meeting You Shouldn’t Reschedule

June 10, 2013

A recent study by team of scholars from London School of Economics and Harvard Business School analyzed the day-to-day schedules of more than 500 CEOs from around the world and found executives spent roughly 18 hours of a 55-hour workweek in meetings (33%).  The more direct reports a CEO had the more, and longer, internal meetings they had.

Given all the constraints on a leader’s time, it is understandable how some meetings get rescheduled in favor of higher priority, more important time commitments.  However, the one meeting leaders should not reschedule is the performance review or succession planning meeting with their direct report.  Direct reports see their performance review or succession planning meeting as a significant event often fretting over the meeting for weeks.  Many direct reports lose sleep the night before and are distracted and ineffective at work before the meeting, even when it is a meeting they anticipate will be extremely positive. Unfortunately, some leaders see this important/not urgent meeting as movable not realizing the disappointment it causes their direct report.

When planning these crucial meetings leaders should choose times and days of the week they are less likely to have to reschedule.  Monday mornings and Friday afternoons often work best.

Empower your leaders not to reschedule performance review or succession planning meetings, and you’ll have a more successful organization.


A Different Approach To Accelerating Performance

June 3, 2013

Wikipedia defines reverse psychology as “a technique involving the advocacy of a belief or behavior that is opposite to the one desired, with the expectation that this approach will encourage the subject of the persuasion to do what actually is desired: the opposite of what is suggested.”

Parents use reverse psychology on their children as a playful yet effective means to get them to do what they want.  Leaders can apply this approach as well.  According to Humetrics Hiring Hints newsletter, here are ways to guarantee that your best people will quit:

  • Treat everyone equally. This may sound good, but your employees are not equal. Some are worth more because they produce more results. The key is not to treat them equally, it is to treat them all fairly.
  • Tolerate mediocrity. A-players don’t have to or want to play with a bunch of C-players.
  • Have dumb rules. Great employees want to have guidelines and direction, but they don’t want to have rules that get in the way of doing their jobs or that conflict with the values the company says are important.
  • Don’t recognize outstanding performance and contributions. Behavior you want repeated needs to be rewarded immediately.
  • Don’t have any fun at work. Find ways to make work and/or the work environment more relaxed and fun and you will have happy employees who look forward to coming to work each day.
  • Don’t keep your people informed. You’ve got to communicate not only the good, but also the bad and the ugly. If you don’t tell them, the rumor mill will.
  • Micromanage. Tell them what you want done and how you want it done and get out of the way. Ask for their input on how it could be done better.
  • Don’t develop an employee retention strategy. Employee retention deserves your attention every day. Make a list of the people you don’t want to lose and, next to each name, write down what you are doing or will do to ensure that person stays engaged and on board.
  • Don’t give feedback. Employees want and deserve feedback.  On the spot feedback, weekly one-on-ones, and quarterly performance reviews all help employees accelerate performance.

Be creative when empowering your leaders to accelerate the performance of their direct reports, and you’ll experience more success.