Last week, I wrote about the criteria and steps that I use in hiring. This week, let’s talk about the process – from an operational need and fit. Again, it’s the Jim Collins direction of “the right person in the right seat”.
Just like with one of our automation projects, in hiring we need to clearly define what our overall goal is to help us identify which “seats” are open. While we can recruit like crazy, it is both unproductive and frustrating when working with candidates that don’t offer that strategic fit – for both you and them.
I was thinking about this last night as I watched the replay of the St. Louis Cardinals game. As many of you know from my past posts (like this and this), baseball is something of a passion for me. Since moving to St. Louis in 1981, the Cards have been my team – despite the fact that they have played two of my former city teams, the Brewers and the Royals in the World Series.
I know it’s only April, but 2019 looks to be the Cardinals year! But that’s another post for a different day.
Fielding the Team
What made me think of hiring (while watching our win) was that sports teams are a great example of strategic hiring. The key for a successful team is assembling a group of people whose individual members each bring skills that complement the skills of the others.
We have all seen the “big buys” (this year in baseball, it was Harper and Machado) that teams have made. Often, those investments don’t put that team over the top. The key is the team – as a whole. One or two star players can’t play every position, catch every ball or hit every pitch.
While over the past few years the Cardinals have been competitive, they haven’t been good enough to be on top. During that same period, they looked at what their needs were and slowly worked on filling their “seats with the right people”. Despite influential factors such as retention, developing rookies and selective trades or free agents – they maintained that focus of the core goal of creating a team that wins together.
Having a “team” means individuals supporting each other even when it may not be in your immediate personal best interest. This requires understanding your needs, working to fill those seats first, and then having patience for things to develop.
The Cards have demonstrated this over the past few years. And now they’re in first place with the NL Central Division and best overall record in the National League!
Companies need the same type of approach as the Cardinals or other team ventures. They need to start by identifying where they’re going and define what are the best resources needed to accomplish that goal. With that in mind, they then can identify where the open seats are positioned – which will then identify the right person to fill it. The person still needs to meet the personal criteria that we discussed last week to make sure that they also fit the team culture and formula for success.
As a software solutions provider, we have a broad range of skills required – technical, sales, operations, communications – and are continuously challenged to find the right person. Lucky for us, our employees, customers and friends seem to have a strong supply of candidates when we need them. Coupling those recommended candidate options with our high retention rate has created a strong team attitude – and translated to our success.
I’m excited this year about my Cardinals and where they will go in 2019. Go Cards!
What are some of the strategies that you use when you assemble a team? I love to hear about other groups approaches. Or we could just talk baseball…
Wes Haubein is the President of HL Group, Inc., a premier provider of mobile asset inventory management, RFID and supply chain solutions. He writes regularly about management, solution integration and technology.