Hire, fire and promote like a boss

May 10, 2021
Are your people owners or renters? The most important decision you will make as a leader is who you hire, fire and promote. While high-performing organizations understand that customers are their #1 asset and that 85% of their problems, challenges and opportunities are process related, the people they hire to deliver value to their customers remain their single most important decision. At Sympli Works, we like to say, “hire the soul, train for the role.” Herb Kelleher, co-founder and long-time CEO of Southwest Airlines put it this way: “You don’t hire for skills, you hire for attitude. You can always teach skills.” Watch Video Here
  1. Edwards Deming, a statistician, philosopher and trailblazer in the study of performance excellence stressed the importance of “owners” and the deadly consequences of “renters.”
How do you tell the difference? Owners believe in the organization’s purpose and offer their discretionary energy. Renters require chasers, checkers and correctors to audit their work. It appears to be a simple concept – hire owners, not renters – yet many organizations choose their people for all the wrong reasons. Every interview finishes with an evaluation of three core areas: competency, commitment, and character. Often organizations often place too much weight on competency – it is easier and far less risky to assess paper qualifications. Do they have the required education and training? Do they have the experience in a similar role elsewhere? It is slightly more difficult to assess commitment. But usually their resumes offer an understanding. Have they completed projects from start to finish? Have they been promoted in an organization? Have they volunteered for an extended period of time with the same organization? A resume and a few pointed questions will usually give you a solid grasp of a candidate’s competencies and commitment. You can also train for competency and instil commitment to the team. Character, on the other hand, is virtually impossible to change. Use the five Es: Energy – Do they have personal energy? How do they enter the room? Do they have an enthusiasm for the role? Those that do have energy. Energize – Do they leave you energized? Ask yourself one question: did you leave the interview wanting to have another conversation? Or did you leave the interview hoping you did not have to have another conversation of the like? Those that leave you wanting another conversation energize. Edge – Have they read your website? Do they know what your organization stands for? Did they read about your organization and use it in the interview? The people that do have edge. Execute – Can they get the job done? This is tough to judge from an interview and it is why many organizations are moving to a “try out” model withinduring their hiring process. Ultimately, if people have the first three Es but can’t finish, they have limited value. Execution is at the heart of delivering value to your client. Ethics – Do they use the Es for the right reasons? Do their values align with those of the organization? The world’s most nefarious leaders had many followers who had the first four Es. Without a values alignment, the first four Es do not matter. Simon Sinek, the speaker behind the second most watched Ted Talk and author of Start with Why and Leaders eat Last, sums this up beautifully: “Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them.” Your people will craft the culture of the organization. Hire the smile and train the brain.