While it has been reported that our ancestors have been on earth for approximately six million years, the human form in its modern capacity only evolved about 200,000 years ago. Our more modern day civilization is really only about 6,000 years old, with the 1800s bringing in industrialization. In the scope of things, that’s a relatively short amount of time to really get ourselves sorted out with business productivity, work place relationships, handling dysfunction, etc. all while producing results in a dynamically changing environment.
My thought process in this article is that, whenever I talk to people about their organizations, it seems to all go to fixing s _ _ _ –I mean stuff— with a program, initiative, training or some other panacea. And, when we peel it back, it’s always something about a person or group of people. People are fundamentally the root of all of our joy, success, angst and disappointment.
So, if you believe my assertion that it’s all about the people we hire and how we enter and maintain our relationship with them, then you might find this article refreshingly basic and true to one of our core issues and maybe even beneficial.
Jack Welsh, former CEO of General Electric Corporation, espoused three metrics: Employee Satisfaction, Customer Satisfaction and Cash Flow. One of my early mentors taught me: People, Product and Profit in that order. It seems very much the same concept.
I believe the premise to be: The happy, engaged employees would be loyal and deliver for the company and be a lightning rod for customer satisfaction. If those two occur organically, and with the help of design, you will be profitable in many more cases than not (Unless you have a really unfortunate lease; a different topic).
This brings us to talent (people) selection, hiring, onboarding and then training.
So, how do you begin to build an organization that is dependent on other people? All of whom are freethinking and independent in their value systems and approaches to life as well as their work habits and senses of right and wrong… This short article lists several steps in addition to the skills necessary to do the job you require. My suggested approach is to slow down a bit and really spend the time in hiring the right humans for the culture and job at hand. Spend the time on screening, selection, pre-onboarding, enrollment (hiring) and then onboarding and training. If you look at most successful leaders, you will find some folks who have been on their team for a long time. This isn’t by accident, and it’s not entirely due to relationships. It is because leaders and other leaders, when augmenting each other’s strengths and weaknesses, stay together working with common alignment and purpose.
“Only three things happen naturally in organizations: friction, confusion and under-performance. Everything else requires leadership.” – Peter Drucker
So, how do you build long-term leaders, managers and associates?
Step 1: Know whom you are looking for.
You define who will be successful and win within your organization. You profile (a politically incorrect word) your current best employees in each position and you codify the traits (personality and expertise) that make them successful. You have to have a benchmark to interview against. You have to know what you are looking for in an individual. Additionally, you have to know what type of person you need on a given team based on the other team members to have balance and multiple aptitudes covered. If you don’t do this pre-work, you will hire people you simply like, and you will continue the cycle of churn. Dr. Gerry Faust has taught the PAEI system, which is a quick questionnaire that can be extremely valuable in putting together and understanding team propensities:
- P = Producers;
- A = Administrators;
- E = Entrepreneurs;
- I = Integrators (People Person).
There is more to the training than just the questionnaire, but the point is having a tool and information to know what you are looking for in each position on each team. I’m not suggesting that any questionnaire be the sole factor in a hiring decision, but the more information you have, the more likely you are to make a successful hire.
Step 2: Interview with purpose.
You have to interview with a set of questions in front of you based on the position with some general organizational questions concerning culture and the way it is around here. If you “ad hoc” interviews, you won’t be able to intelligently compare candidates on what is important, and in many cases, you will “fall in love” with a candidate’s personality and miss true organizational and team alignment. Discipline in interviewing is critical. Use science first, then art. The “halo” effect of hiring people you like has caused a significant amount of poor hiring decisions throughout all industries, especially ours… as we tend to be “People Persons.”
Step 3: You are convinced you have the “right” candidate.
If you do, others aligned in your organization will surely agree. Expose the candidate to at least two additional interviews and consider a third group interview with peers and even subordinates. Getting feedback doesn’t prevent the ultimate decision. But, involvement leads to commitment, so the more team involvement to a candidate’s hiring, the more team commitment to the candidate’s success.
Step 4: You enroll the candidate into your organization.
You share your vision, mission, purpose and core values (actually this should be done in an initial interview), but this is when you truly make sure they are enrolled in what you are doing BEFORE you make an offer. If you have firm belief they are enrolled, you extend an offer.
Step 5: You train them.
“The only thing worse than training an employee and having them leave, is to not train them, and have them stay.” – Zig Ziglar
Typically, most club training programs are 10 days initially; 2 weeks. You should schedule every minute. Some areas to make sure you cover are:
- All Department Head One-On-Ones;
- Fitness Assessment and All Class modality participation;
- Skill Set Assessments;
- Shop Competitors;
- Going through an internal sales tour;
- Working a shift in each department.
Step 6: 30-60-90 Day Plan.
Every new employee should be set up on a 30-60-90 day plan that they are held accountable to. This will ensure they are onboarded correctly and allow you to hold them accountable. Without holding employees accountable, you are simply hoping for the best. This is not good for the new employee or for the organization. Typically, 30-60-90 day plans will focus on a few areas. Some of which I like are: People (Staff Development or Service), Product / Programming, Production (Revenue or Profit) and Club Specific “Hot Spots.” You can tailor as you see fit.
We all know the very old adage: “Failure to Plan is Planning to Fail,” so every employee should have a plan to succeed and win.
Step 7: Monthly Meeting.
You should meet with every direct report at least monthly, if not weekly or bi-weekly, to review his 30-60-90 day plan and work with him or her on adjustments and skill enhancement. This is the fine-tuning to keep the business moving forward with discipline and focus, versus just hoping things work out…
I hope this helps remind us of the importance of the human basics. Getting this right has a bigger impact than most things we run around handling. We all talk about Human Resources, Talent and People being our most important asset, but are we really doing all we should to make our beliefs a reality on this front?
Look For: Initiative; Ownership Mentality; Adaptability; Positive Thinking; Results Orientation; Accountability; Broad Thinking (Vision); Honesty, Integrity and Character. Skills can be trained. People First!