How are you contributing?

How are you contributing?

Sitting in an outdoor cafe in Toledo, Spain, following an invigorating three day Annual Conference for members of Cornerstone International Group, makes it easy to put in perspective the choices we make in our lives. One of the highlights of the conference is getting to know more about the individuals who are part of this organization. We know each other as professionals, and as friends. This year we learned about contributions some have made outside of business. In 2008, Gary refocused his life after receiving a serious medical diagnosis. Thankfully, the medical issue has been resolved, but Gary continues with his bucket list. A young man who was his taxi (tut-tut) driver on a trip to Cambodia, where Gary had gone to visit the temple complex of Angkor Wat, impressed Gary. The young man felt he was not prepared to have a future, but he did have a vision of starting his own business. He was contributing a significant amount of his earnings to help children with essentials needed to receive an education. Gary was so inspired by the young man’s passion that he paid for him to complete his business degree, as well as his MBA. He now has a successful business. But it does not stop there. Gary and the young man stayed in contact. A few years ago he introduced Gary to a village with a very deprived school: the building and rooms were there, but no chalk for the boards, no desks, no supplies. Gary bought supplies and paid for uniforms, shoes and books for students in grades 1-6. He also provided one month’s food...
The new 80/20 rule in recruiting

The new 80/20 rule in recruiting

The Pareto Principle, introduced in 1906 by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto and developed further by Joseph Juran, is widely known as the 80/20 rule.  It states that in every event, 80% of the outcomes are contributed by 20% of the causes.  Believe it or not, this has a heck of a lot to do with recruiting top talent!  But perhaps not in the way you imagine. In the old recruiting model, the 80 / 20 rule was used to mean that successfully filling a key position depended 80% on finding the right candidates, and 20% on everything else.  Emphasis was on identifying potential candidates. Like many things that have an impact on organizational performance, however, recruiting is changing, probably more dramatically than most others. Social Media and readily available data have made it much easier to find individuals with the desired background and experience.  And this, in turn, has given us yet another meaning to the 80/20 rule. Emphasis has moved from identifying individuals who have appropriate knowledge and experience to making certain the person who joins the organization fits.  This perspective has flipped the rule.  Today, only 20% of the success in filling a position is based upon identifying potential candidates and 80% of the success is determining their ability to be successful in the future in the specific organization. The recently released book Agile Talent, by Cornerstone International Group member Ralf Knegtmans, points out that successful recruiting projects require understanding a number of things about  candidates, including their: Ability – what the individual knows and what they are capable of Personality Traits – what distinguishes the individual...
Don’t throw the people out yet – technology requires people

Don’t throw the people out yet – technology requires people

The future may be all numbers and codes. But technology requires people – and not just any people!   Ever feel smothered in numbers?  Someone comes up with a new approach, a new insight or a new product and voila!  We have Work 4.0; Wireless 4G; AI; iPhone7.  Another number.  Another thing to learn. Another new piece of technology.   But technology is good, right?  It’s how to win today and how we’ll keep winning tomorrow.  A recent study of CEO’s of large global organizations revealed that 44% of these leaders believe robotics, automation and artificial intelligence will make people largely irrelevant.  Almost two thirds view people as costs, not value generators.  This seems to indicate that technology is taking over the world!   That’s a long way from my perspective.  I’m in the people business.  People are the reasons things happen; they work with machines; they interact with other people.  Technology is indeed critical but people are more so.   Here’s one reason why.  The arrival of a technology is usually for the better.  But there is always change, and handling change is a challenge.  That’s where people come in.   If you are a change agent, will your organization be able to accommodate your approach?  If you are an organization that has a culture of change, will you be able to attract individuals who can thrive in that environment?  If you are an organization that needs to create a culture that encourages change, how will you begin?   With people.  But we’re not talking just any people.  If selecting the right technology is critical, finding and engaging...
Think of Corporate Culture as your Compass

Think of Corporate Culture as your Compass

We have seen references to an organization’s culture recently in the news – and not in a good context. Wells Fargo, the second biggest bank in the U.S. has agreed to pay a fine of $185 million for dishonest sales practices. Employees boosted their paychecks by opening some two million new credit card and bank accounts for current customers without their knowledge. A rogue clique of staff?   The company has fired 5,300 people.  Poor supervision?  It’s been going on for five years.  An ineffective executive?  The executive in charge has been allowed to retire this summer and keep all of $124.6 million in bonus and options.  What’s this got to do with culture?  A whole helluva lot. I learned my favorite definition of corporate culture a long time ago from a consultant I worked with and respected: “Culture is how we do things around here.” The beauty of this definition is not just in its simplicity, but in its inclusivity and its downright integrity.  It’s everything within an organization. Company culture isn’t just motivating phrases on walls, it’s what a company stands for.  It represents what every member of the organization believes and wants the company’s customers to believe. For Wells Fargo staff, this apparently meant ripping off customers to earn commissions.  For Wells Fargo management, it meant pretending all was fine for five years of bad practices.  For the board and CEO of Wells Fargo, it meant what I see as an equally questionable decision to turf the worker bees and allow the executive accountable to leave the scene with $124 million of shareholder’s money. The company is...
The most important step in recruiting

The most important step in recruiting

Every open position creates a certain amount of stress in an organization.  The more senior the position, the greater the stress.  As a result, “just getting the position filled” frequently becomes the priority.  That path of least resistance takes the immediate pressure off, but often results in opportunity costs that greatly impact the long term. It is important to establish what the organization really needs from any key position before starting to recruit.  This is the time that a professional recruiter needs to ask insightful questions of the stakeholders:  how does the role fit the organization’s vision and strategy?  Is it adequate as defined, or should it be modified to make it more relevant?  What additional contributions are possible from having exactly the right person in the role? These answers will help to accurately define the role.  This is the essential part of every sound recruiting process.  It’s the most important step – understanding the impact the role will have in helping the organization to attain its vision. This clarity is required to identify and assess both the experience and the traits of individuals who have the ability to contribute to the organization’s future. The second and third steps in the recruiting process follow naturally:  identifying individuals who fit this profile, then attracting them.  If the first step has been taken, the result should be outstanding candidates.  If not, the end result will be compromised. Comparing the knowledge, skills, experience, and traits of individuals with what is established as ideal gives the only meaningful indication of their potential.  It also opens the door to at least two important possibilities:...
Will you be relevant in 2020?

Will you be relevant in 2020?

A recent report of business confidence* noted that while U.S. business leaders are confident in their ability to succeed in the future, far too frequently they are not aligning investments, incentives, and organizational changes. They are not innovative enough; leadership is not bold. Organizations are not keeping up with the pressure to find, develop and keep the right talent. While technology companies live by innovation, it is just as important for all organizations, including traditional, old line companies, to be imaginative. Whether a multi-billion-dollar, a mid-market, a start-up or a family-owned organization, the challenges are similar. Technology will be the tipping point between growth and decline. Having associates who understand and effectively work with this technology is critical. You must recruit them if they aren’t already part of the organization; if they are, you must encourage them to stay. Technology is something that you can touch and feel. It sometimes comes with instructions. That’s the easy part. Talent is the “magic potion” that makes it happen. The rate of change in technology creates a skills gap within many organizations that few are committing sufficient resources to overcome. Future-thinking organizations have a culture that attracts talented individuals and encourages their development. Most organizations aren’t there yet. Some aren’t even trying. Leadership that can help an organization look for new ways to do things as well as consider new ideas is at a premium. The pressure will continue on finding, attracting, challenging, developing and retaining these talented individuals. There is a lot written about a talent shortage. At the same time, LinkedIn has thousands of individuals who are interested in another...