By: Lynda McNutt Foster
Measuring a team member’s maximum contribution potential is one thing every leader’s success depends on. Learning the best questions to ask and tools to use in the hiring process and promotion process can save time and resources. Here’s a common scenario.
Everything was fine until their last supervisor left the team. He was great. He did the job of 2 people. He practically slept there. He got an offer from another company and took it because it would mean advancement and it was closer to home. Their company has been through 2 people since then and neither has worked out well. The last one they hired had a completely different idea of what the job entailed versus what they expected from them. They really liked both of the folks during the interview process, but when the new hires started the leaders quickly learned that neither hire had what it took to get the job done effectively. The leader was aware that the work environment is fast-paced. They complained that the first one couldn’t keep up and the other one moves so fast that mistakes are made constantly. They were frustrated and usually stayed late and worked weekends to complete the tasks themselves. Their family complained that they were never home. They were frustrated.
Hiring right, assigning roles and promoting effectively makes leader’s jobs and the growth of their companies much easier. Determining what the maximum potential contribution of each team member will be, in the new role, in your workplace environment is something that takes some calculation and practice.
Maximum Contribution Potential = Skills + Resources + Behaviors
Here are some quick thoughts to begin the process with:
Skills: Don’t just trust their resume or what they tell you. Have them do something that demonstrates their skills. Do they need strong writing skills? Have them submit a writing sample in a fixed time period to you. Will they be required to submit reports using Excel or some other type of software program? Test to see what their proficiency level is in that software. Will they need to be able to effectively communicate or present important information to groups or other teams? Have them prepare a presentation, on a specific topic, to your team and get feedback from them on how well they did. You can train someone if they have the right experience, motivation, and IQ to do many skills. Accurately measuring what skills someone does or does not have will help you plan appropriately and make an informed decision.
Resources: A question you may ask that could help you understand how someone approaches setbacks or failures might be to ask, “When faced with your last challenging situation or significant obstacle, what resources did you use to overcome it?” This is an open-ended question that would allow you to understand what they think is a major setback and their thought process for approaching a solution for it. It will also let you know how they go about solving problems. Is it through utilizing their resources of people? Do they have long-term relationships, in your industry, whom they trust and that trust them? Ask if you can contact some of their resources (also known as references) to get a first-hand look at what type of relationship that person has with them.
Resources go beyond people and capital. Asking someone what resource have you used within yourself to overcome a major challenge may offer some insight into the type of effort they have made to build their character.
Behaviors: It’s very difficult to determine how someone will behave in your work environment during an interview process. A high level of self-awareness is something that requires a great deal of work, focus, and feedback. For that reason, many people don’t embark on that long journey or sometimes they think they know themselves when they really don’t. So when you ask them if they work well in a fast-paced environment they might say, “Sure!” when in reality the work environments they have been in prior to yours were an “introduction” to fast-paced. One of the best ways to predict a team member’s behaviors and what motivates them is through a validated assessment like DISC/MOT. This type of assessment will help you predict a person’s general pace, how they will approach different types of challenges, what will motivate them to get and maintain engagement with your company or organization, and what may cause them stress and raise anxiety levels.
It is the combination of testing and measuring each of these areas that will reduce your risk in hiring, the changing of roles or the promotion process. Some additional references that may help you develop skills in asking more effective questions can be found here:
LEADERSHIP FOCUS THIS WEEK: On tonight’s WFXR Virginia at Work segment with Becky Freemal we’ll discuss what types of questions you can be asking applicants during an interview. Joining me on Good Day Virginia tomorrow morning at about 7:40am will be Ken Cronin, a consultant with Cortex Leadership Consulting who has over 40 years of experience in hiring, developing, and leading winning teams.
Last week’s segment focused on Stay Interviews with our guest, Russ Ellett. CLICK HERE to see those episodes.