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“If this year’s problems are the same as last year, - you have the wrong people.”

Jack Welch, the legendary past CEO of General Electric was quoted as saying, “when you have the right people, things keep getting better. When you have the wrong people, things keep getting worse.” Every organization has a department, a person, function where things never seem to improve. A department where this year’s problems are the same as last year’s problems. Where the requirements are dumbed down to suit what the department is capable of. Where rationalizing replaces actual results. It’s because the person in charge, is the wrong person. It’s our job to get the right person and change the results. When we get to the root of any business problem, we always find a person. Eight ways to reduce the risk of hiring failure

  • Allow time. The best people aren’t reading career ads and they’re not between jobs on the day you have to hire. Hiring quickly, will increase failure.

  • Spend the money to hire when you don’t have to. Hire before you need that person. Building bench strength is more costly. Collect talent when you find it because it may not present itself when you need it.

  • Get out of your own way. The right person may not look like the right person. The person that looks right, is often so wrong. In-person interviews are ineffective at predicting performance because they allow wrong people to sell themselves to you. It’s called charm control.

  • Clarity on your part. Hire for three primary job outcomes. Do not hire for a job description.

  • Hire for culture fit. Culture means people work together, or not. It’s about pack theory. If your team doesn’t connect, your sled is not moving.

  • Performance reviews, accountability. You must do performance reviews once a year to keep people’s attention and focus. Without it, bullies and nepotism rule, productivity slows, and turnover results.

  • Don’t hire for potential. Hire for skills. Your highest chance of success is hiring someone who has done 80% of exactly what you need done.

  • Hire for potential. When your new hire is surrounded and supported by a larger team. Where you’ve allowed for a development curve. If you have a psychological profile to guide your decision. When a character trait is important. For example, character traits such as problem solving, sales aptitude, follow through, interpersonal skills, leadership, intelligence, EQ, etc., are all qualities that can be more important in a role than the experience or knowledge about the role itself.

If you notice things keep getting better, you have the right people! On the other hand, if you find things keep getting worse, you have the wrong person in the role. You know what you have to do. Let's change that, and we'll change your organization.We build companies, one great person at a time.

Thank you

Wolf Babbel


Things I like,

Great books. Manufacturing people all read ‘The Goal,” but the ideas apply to any role anywhere. The book is “The Goal” A Process of Ongoing Improvement. Jan 1992, by Eliyahu M. Goldratt. He passed away a few years ago. My big take-away was the theory of constraints, TOC. If you’re working on anything but the choke point, you’re not changing anything.

Ideas. “Work life balance is the language of slavery.” You may be in the wrong role. When we’re doing what we’re meant to do, time stands still, we have endless energy, we are in total balance.

Odd questions. “Tell me what gets you up in the morning that has nothing to do with work?” Is it legal in an interview? It’s a useful question though not work related. Or is it?

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