Better People, Better Business Results

Steve Jobs once said “My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to make them better.” How would people in your business respond to this statement? Over the past 30 years, I’ve worked with many of the most
influential people on the planet including people who have changed the course of history and business. They all seem to possess a similar feeling on what they expect from their people. It’s not always politically correct to say it so directly but the results are hard to contest.

I wonder if we are doing our employees a disservice by not expecting more of them than they do of themselves. Good managers understand that if you give people the right assistance they can move mountains. But what do they owe to our businesses? My feeling is that it’s my job to provide my team with the best tools and culture available to help them excel. I’m not certain we can provide guaranteed employment but we can guarantee they will be more valuable when they walk out of the business than they were when they
walked in. My teams will tell you I can be a bit challenging as a leader and that I have exceedingly high standards for them. I have even higher standards for myself. I would never ask someone to do what I wouldn’t do myself, as we all do.

I’ve interviewed over 20,000 leaders over the past 25 years and I think I’ve got good at hiring high performing individuals across many disciplines and career paths. My clients, who have invested in their hiring and retention strategies, have grown beyond their wildest dreams. I think the mark of true market leaders is their grasp of the obvious. The quality of their organization is directly impacted by the time that they invest in picking the right people for the right role with performance measurement s in place so
everyone knows when people are succeeding. It’s not fair to people to let them go if you have not clearly defined what success looks like. I don’t mean the job intangibles. I mean results.

I’ll share another secret with you that I learned from my best clients. It comes down to recruiting the best people for your organization. It sound simple but many people believe if you hire the best people you get the best results.  My take on this is that you have to understand what your organization needs. Not every
person is the right fit for every organization. As hiring manager, you must know where your organization is today and hire people who will stretch, but not break, the organization.  There is nothing worse than hiring the wrong person and then struggling to make them fit.

When I was responsible for hiring sales professionals for my clients, I spent a large part of my time understanding what my clients needed in a sales professional, not what they wanted. We entrepreneurs all want to hire the IBM Top Gun Sales Professional. We think that this individual will make us more successful, not realizing how much IBM invests to keep these sales professionals free of the things entrepreneurs expect from their sales teams. Knowing how to interview someone to find out their true strengths is critical to an entrepreneur’s success.  Too many people are good at being interviewed but aren’t the right person for the job. There’s nothing wrong with the person, job or company, it’s just a wrong fit.

After recently spending several days with several Forbes Innovative 100 Companies and several Inc 500 businesses, I’ve come to the conclusion that the greatest benefit I can provide my clients is with hiring
and retention strategies that allow them to keep growing at record paces.  Over the next several months, I’ll share what I’ve learned and why I believe better people means better business results. I’ve
also begun researching additional experts to help you get the results you expect from your investment in your people.

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