By J.T. O'Donnell
“He’s wrong for the role. I know he can technically do the job. But, while I can’t put my finger on it – I just know he isn’t the right person.”
Assessing talent is a complex challenge. If you’ve ever hired or managed people, I’m sure you’ve thought:
Why is defining the right person for the job so tough?
The answer is…
Because Skills & Experience Aren’t Enough
In theory, we should be able to list the skills and experience needed for a job and find the right person. But, that’s not how we actually hire. After years in HR and recruiting, I’ve learned candidates get hired on three factors – AND in this order:
Ever heard someone referred to as, “not a good cultural fit” for the organization? That’s code for a personality and aptitude mismatch.
Solution: Use Personas To Define The Candidate You Need
After studying this for years, I realized the problem lies in the need for a common language when it comes to talent. If we could pinpoint the unique combination of personality and aptitude needed for a particular job, we could help managers, employees, and recruiters get on the same page. As a result, my company created, The Career Decoder – a tool that defines the eight most common workplace personas as follows:
Then, once we know our own personas, we can use this to better understand what personas we need for our teams to succeed.
Example: He Was A Visionary In A Optimizer’s Role
Years ago, a worked with a manager who hired a young man he referred to as a, “whiz kid.” He met him at a networking event and was immediately impressed by his grasp of our industry and customer base. His top persona was, “visionary.” The manager was certain this guy was going to join the team and turn things around. The department was having trouble delivering to customers. The boss assumed this young man’s vision and enthusiasm would fix things. He was wrong. Within two months, it was clear the whiz kid was full of ideas – and could articulate them, but he couldn’t put them into practice. In fact, he was terrible with organization, details, and project management. The job really called for an, “optimizer.” Sadly, he couldn’t have been further from one. He was gone a month later, but not without wreaking havoc on the team and us losing two key employees. If the manager had understood and used the personas above to map out the strengths needed in this job, he could have saved the department a lot of frustration.
HINT: The Best Companies Use All 8 Personas Wisely
In future articles, I will share examples of how leveraging the power of all eight personas help companies perform better. Companies that don’t proactively incorporate these personas across their business model are at risk. The result can be employee disengagement, group-think, bro cultures, and other negative results of unbalanced combination of personas on your team.
By Suzie Doscher
Dopamine, one of the four key neurotransmitters, acts as a chemical messenger helping transmission of signals in the brain. When something good happens, a chain reaction goes off in your brain. Your reward system is activated which increases not only your attention, but also positive feedback. One of the results is motivation.
To stay motivated you can keep the stream of dopamine flowing with positive actions, such as the following:
Dopamine is a powerful chemical that decreases the stress reaction. Stress depletes the levels of dopamine, which can lead to a dopamine deficiency.
Dopamine Deficiency can result in:
The problem with using fear as a motivator
Leaders who believe in motivating using fear will, in fact, get the opposite effect. Fear results in stress, and stress will de-motivate. When the ‘survival’ mode kicks in based on perceived fear, the emotions involved are disruptive to cognitive resources. All in all, not a good situation!
On the other hand, the release of dopamine and the feeling of motivation that results, is of utmost value. Leaders would do well to bear this in mind when they are not able to motivate by ruling with fear-based tactics.
With techniques in place helping you manage the long working hours, lack of sleep and everything else that comes with today’s work environment, you will automatically be releasing some of this ‘Happy Hormone.’ Learning the soft skills that support balancing the ups and downs of life means you are adding strengths - a win-win situation.
“Challenges in life either do or do not have solutions.
If there is a solution somewhere,
Then there is no need to be overwhelmed by the challenge.
If there genuinely is no solution,
Then there is no point being overwhelmed by it”.
by Suzie Doscher
If you genuinely believe there is a solution to every problem there is a greater likelihood that you will find the solution. Personally, I believe the approach “where there is a will, there is a way.” I do not always find the way as soon as I had hoped for – which can sometimes be due to a lack of motivation. I then remind myself that I know nothing stays the same and therefore have nothing to fear. Things will change even if I do nothing. Obviously, I might not get the outcome I had hoped for but then again if I chose not to get myself motivated then that was my choice! When I find myself lacking motivation I either find someone to talk to or brainstorm with me, or I take any time pressure off myself and see what comes up on its own.
Sometimes it is not the right time to deal with an issue, solve a work related problem, make a change or whatever the challenge is you might be facing. This does not mean you have given up on finding the solution. To me this means I am not in the right frame of mind, nor am I in a strong emotional place or have enough time, to focus on resolving whatever requires attention.
Really believing that you can find a solution to every problem gives you an advantage. This advantage is strength and personal power. You are more likely to overcome nearly all, if not all, the problems you are faced with. Sometimes the best solution is to walk away from something.
If an issue overwhelms me I break it down into smaller issues I can cope with. (This comes after I cried!) I remember having to read through a rather large contract one day. The only way I could cope with it was to give myself permission to only have to read five pages in the morning and five pages in the afternoon. So, my solution was to break the reading down into smaller steps.
If you are fully convinced that a solution exists for every problem, then problems no longer feel like problems, instead they become tasks to deal with. Your thinking makes a world of difference to what you achieve.
by Suzie Doscher
An excerpt from BALANCE - A Practical Handbook for Life's Difficult Moments
by Rodica Rosu and Sunita Sehmi
One of the primary talents international leaders need today is the ability to manage and leverage cultural differences. Today’s manager has to work in both international and cross-cultural environments.
Consequently, managers are required to deal with challenges, friction, and misunderstandings stemming from intercultural communication differences. Therefore, successful management in a modern environment demands cross-cultural competency. In order to get the best out of any multicultural team, leading such a team necessitates a very distinct skill set. Being mindful and modifying your leadership style accordingly is the key to success. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
Try and communicate with your team face-to-face as much as you can. Nothing replaces face-to-face communication, as it allows you to read body language, assess levels of understanding, and build relationships.
Be clear about your own cultural profile. Only when you are clear about your cultural profile and how it influences your work, your communication style, feelings and actions, can you direct your team. This authentic approach to your own cultural identity can help improve performance for you and your team.
Less Is More
Cultural differences can create obstacles to effective teamwork, especially with multicultural teams. The challenge in dealing with these teams successfully is to identify the original cultural causes of conflict. Intervene only when necessary, get the team back on track, enable and empower them to deal with future challenges on their own.
A Stitch in Time Saves Nine
Achieving team cohesion and shared vision means encouraging dialogue and communication. This requires time, and it is highly recommended that you invest this time into finding out more about your team members and how their national culture influences their behavior and values.
Trust builds over time and with every action. Make sure you are accountable for your actions and upfront in your dealings with others. Do you do what you say you will do? Non-delivery will destroy trust and credibility every time.
Walk a Mile in Their Shoes
As an effective leader you need to be able to truly understand your team’s perspective. So regularly ‘check in’ with your team members, listen to see what’s happening with them, their assignment and their development.
State the Rules of the Game
Rules and roles have to be set and understood by everyone. The rules of the game have to be negotiated and people need to be comfortable with their own roles. The team leader must act as a secure base so when a member is struggling they know who to turn to.
Developing a team identity is central. To ensure effective team management, the manager must make certain that there is clarity and shared expectations. Make sure that they understand what's going on, so that the team's objectives aren't forgotten or shelved.
From Global to Local
Amass, absorb, and use local knowledge to your team’s advantage. One size does not fit all, so get to know the people you operate with. Ask yourself: “What drives these people and what are their individual objectives?”
Be the Cultural Shock Absorber
It is advisable to invest in a tailor-made coaching program with an experienced cross-cultural coach. Get deeper insight into the respective cultures at hand to ensure that there is clear understanding of the individual and collective values, as this is central when working with a multicultural team.
by Vivian WagnerOwner, V Creative Enterprises, LLC
Encourage Free Thinking
It may seem obvious to promote free thinking, but it’s not always the way that businesses work. We often continue doing what we’ve been doing—and how we’ve been doing it—simply because, on some level, it works. But free thinking helps keep your business contemporary, relevant and profitable. It’s all about leaving behind old, outdated models, and discovering new ones. Create a culture in your business in which employees are encouraged to think freely and express their ideas
Free thinking is central to keeping your business contemporary, relevant and profitable. It’s about thinking of things in new ways, leaving behind old, outdated models, and discovering new ones.
Schedule Brainstorming Sessions
Sometimes the best way to encourage creativity is to schedule it into the day. This might seem counterintuitive, but the more creative thought can be scheduled, often the more likely it is to happen. Set aside time for a weekly brainstorming session that involves all your employees. Encourage employees from marketing to interact with ones from payroll or from tech services. These kinds of cross-workplace discussions can do wonders for your business.
Reward Creative Thought
Show that you value creative thinking by rewarding the employees who engage in it. Set up a system of rewards—such as gift certificates, prime parking spaces or vacation time—for employees who come up with ideas that increase sales or target new customers. Such rewards can be powerful motivators can show that you're serious about creative thinking.
Model Creative Thinking
The best way to encourage employees to be creative is to model it from the top. Show them what it means for the owner of the business to be creative, and they’ll be more likely to replicate this behavior on their own.
Provide Break Times
The best creative thinking comes when the brain has time to relax. Frequent and scheduled breaks can actually boost the creative spirit in the workplace.
Take Field Trips
Get out of the office and take your employees to visit other companies, conferences or even just parks. Field trips can get them—and you—out of their everyday comfort zone and into a space where new thoughts and ideas can take hold.
Support Artistic Expression
Encouraging your employees to engage in artistic endeavor—painting, drawing, writing, cartooning or even pottery-making—can get them to see your business’s challenges and issues in a new light. These activities can occur during work time or after hours.
No matter how creative your employees are, you’ll never know about it if you’re not talking with them about their ideas. Talk openly with them, both formally and informally, about what can be done better, what can be improved, and what their overall ideas are for changing the business.
Bring in a Coach
Coaches can offer workshops and one-on-one consulting sessions to help boost creativity. You might be surprised how much they can bring to your business and what they can offer to both you and your employees.
Evaluate, Measure, Track
When your employees come up with creative ways to improve the business, boost sales or bring about other improvements, make sure to evaluate the changes. The evaluation process is just as important as the implementation stage, since it can give you and your employees a sense of what works, what doesn’t and why. It can also give you the chance to fine-tune new procedures in order to make them work even more effectively.
Creative business practices can seem mysterious and out-of-reach, but in fact, they’re accessible to any business owner who's willing to foster them. Once you make creativity a priority, your business—and your employees—can flourish.
This article was originally published on September 1, 2014.
Self-Help Book / Personal Development