Trust Your Gut

Ever had that deep-down feeling that you’re right?

 

We all have different experiences, background, preconceived notions, environments, etc. All of these things come together to make us who we are, help us make decisions, and ultimately gives us our ‘gut’.

How have you used your ‘gut’ successfully (or unsuccessfully) recently?

 

Want to read more about what this ‘gut’ is and how/when to trust it?  Try these:

The Neuroscience of Trusting your Gut

The Art (and Science) of “Trusting your Gut”

How to Know when to Trust your Gut

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High Five

 

Andrew Maxwell-Parish built a high five camera (a GoPro attached to a little microprocessor that turned on the camera for high fives) and filmed all the high fives he gave folks along the San Francisco waterfront – the piers, the Ferry Building, and Fisherman’s Wharf.

I’d say 95% of the folks he high-fived were grinning. I’d say that he probably made 100% of the folks he made contact with happier that day.

What would happen if you celebrated the existence of everyone you manage (either high-fiving or some other way)? How would the mood/energy/environment change or not change?

Managing vs. Leading

What’s the difference between the two? Often used interchangeably, these two words mean very different things. We often hear about great leaders but not great managers. What’s the deal?

Managers, well, manage. Leaders lead.

Clear as mud?

Here are a couple quotes that might help clarify:

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

-Warren Bennis and Peter Drucker

“Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success. Leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.”

-Stephen R. Covey

These are helpful, but here’s my rule of thumb:

Manage things, lead people.

Specifically, manage things like meeting agendas, requirement documents, and calendars.

Lead things that are people-centric like vision, meeting facilitation, decisions, delegation, engagement.

Leaders don’t get stuff done without managers. Execution and good sound management are essential to seeing a vision become reality. Really great things get done by both.

Slow Hires

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The cost of a bad hire is shocking. But anyone that has had the misfortune of making a bad hire knows the pain behind it. Aside from the mental anguish of all involved, calculating the cost as an actual number involves including productivity lost from the individual, from the team, salary costs, costs of training, HR staffing costs, recruiting costs, relocation costs, and loss of goodwill and damage done to the team in the process.

I’m a big believer in slow hiring. I don’t mean dragging your feet here. I mean being intentional and taking the time to hire for the position you need to fill correctly. And then taking additional time to onboard thoughtfully.

Essential parts of the slow hire:

  • Understand your needs – Why do you need to hire anyway? What is the job this person is to fill and why? Consider who and what competencies already exist on the team.
  • Write the job description – Write this description not to fulfill just the baseline needs of the job, but to describe the ideal person for the job. What would they do? As an example, I recently changed part of a job description I was reviewing from “attends meetings” to “is a key contributor and collaborator in meetings”. Use competencies as well as skills and experience to describe the job.
  • Recruit – Not only post the job, but ask around. Your existing team members may know the perfect person. There may be internal candidates. Sometimes, the best hires are not looking for a job but will apply when recruited.
  • Interview – Interview for the job description. It’s easy to fall into the trap of interviewing for chemistry and charm. It’s also easy to talk too much about the job in the interview. Take the time to understand the candidates.
  • Check references – Check references given by your final candidates, and check ‘back door’ references. If you still have questions, ask for more references to confirm the story you’ve heard.
  • Hire – Pay attention to more than the salary. A good hire will match both sides and their desires on the full compensation package, relocation, and start dates.
  • Onboard – This is way more than verifying I-9’s, filling out W-9’s, and other onboarding paperwork. A productive new hire needs an orientation and warm welcome to the company, the culture, and the team. Where is your new hire going to work? Will they have the tools and information they need to succeed? Time should be spent early on setting goals – near term and longer term.