This month, our leadership blog will work in conjunction with our marketing blog with the same theme: Getting from Here to There. This leadership blog will focus more on the people aspects of it: Who Gets From Here to There, and the marketing blog will focus on the company aspects of it: Getting Your Company From Here to There.
The best leaders have a high level of self-awareness and embrace and understand their strengths and shortcomings. But they also understand the skills and talents of others around them, and are relied upon to accurately and quickly discern who on their team or in their network can help the team/product organization from here to there. Below are some guidelines to help make astute assessments about who can get from here to there.
1. The first filter is always about the ethics and values of the people you’re working with. If someone does not fit within the cultural and moral expectations of a group overall, or doesn’t fit within the overarching direction defined by the group leaders, he or she will never get from here to there, despite the best efforts on everyone’s behalf.
2. Even if the skills and passion are there, sometimes the fit-within-the-team is not. Team dynamics should be in alignment with the leaders expressed goals, and proactively managed to ensure successful execution at a team level, and personal and professional accomplishments at the individual level. And sometimes the best performers may not perform well even in the best teams.
Skills and Abilities
3. A hallmark trait of a good manager is someone who hires and develops people with the skills and abilities to get the job done, and even to grow with the job. Each manager has his or her unique combination of quantitative and qualitative evaluation tools to select for those who can get the job done well the first time, and no effective manager would hire someone without the confidence that she/he is qualified to perform the job.
4. Even if you are certain that the skills are present, hire for someone who is teachable and open to learning new approaches, technologies and processes. This is particularly true as technology changes, business model evolutions, and the way business is done keeps evolving and changing.
5. But what if he or she is hiring someone with adjacent, but not direct experience in a specific role? In these instances, it is important to rely more heavily on qualitative evaluations, and the recommendations of trusted others. Consider also having a probation period or a consulting project prior to hiring someone full time into this role.
6. And what if she or he is hiring for a new role, where there are few people with the background skills and abilities to perform the job well from day one? In these instances, consider prerequisite qualifications in terms of experience and training. Brainstorm with others about what technical, leadership and process skills would be good indicators of success in a newly defined role or area. Clearly define what success looks like.
Drive, Passion and Purpose
7. Successful people have an intrinsic desire and drive to succeed. They approach projects with energy and are persistent and successful in achieving measurable goals. Watch out for those who are only seeking external rewards for specific tasks performed, particularly if you are not sure of the values they stand for.
8. With that said, people express drive and passion in different ways. Just because someone does not appear as energetic as someone else doesn’t mean that the less passionate is less driven. Indeed, the focus should be on the results, not the fanfare and the noise.
9. Beyond the skills and abilities and values, look also at the passion and fit between someone and the role he/she currently has.
10. Providing stretch goals in alignment with her/his passion and purpose is one way to help ensure engagement and success.
It’s no easy task to decide for yourself who can get from here to there. But continually reviewing values, skills and passion will help you, as a leader, to get a high level view of the people who will take the team and organization forward.