Tag Archives: human resources

The Most Important, Most Overlooked Hiring Question

The Most Important, Most Overlooked Hiring Question
by Ray Silverstein

Good news: it seems like more small business owners are shifting into hiring mode. That’s a good thing for everyone.

Now, the bad news. Many small business owners don’t really know how to hire the best candidate. And making a bad hiring choice is one of the most costly mistakes an entrepreneur can make. Consider the recruitment costs, training costs, and lost opportunity costs incurred when an employee fails.

In my experience, most small business owners dread the hiring process. So they adopt a classic HR-type approach, focusing on background, skills, and experience. They come up with tricky questions to pose to applicants.

Background, skills, and experience are important, to be sure. But they are not the most important thing. So what’s the #1 factor that drives a new hire’s ultimate success or failure?

What are the applicant’s core values…and do they match our company’s?

Think about it. Skills can be sharpened. Knowledge can be acquired. Processes can be learned. But the kind of person you are in your heart isn’t likely to change. If you hire someone who’s competent but doesn’t share your values, you’re almost predestined to part ways down the line.

For example, if your company prides itself on its ethical dealing with customers, you can’t accept an employee who places profits or efficiency over quality service. An employee who takes shortcuts when he can get away with it isn’t the kind of employee you can build your business on.

Or, maybe it’s the other way around. It’s not about right or wrong here. It’s about ensuring a good match. It means recognizing your core values, and asking applicants to share theirs.

Say, you’re hiring an office manager, and work/life balance is one of your priorities. Or, conversely, maybe getting the job done is, at any cost. Either way, wouldn’t it be good to know what a candidate would do if forced to choose between staying to push a key project out the door or attending his/her child’s big recital?

When you’re making your list of interview questions, include some that start with:
What would you do if…
Did you ever have to choose between…
What matters more to you…

…and address the issues that matter most to you.

And consider this. When an employee gives notice, many small business owners view it as a blow, a setback. But it’s also an opportunity to raise the bar. Focusing on the core values that ground your business is one way to ensure that your human assets are in fact…assets.

Interested in raising your HR IQ? Request my Human Assets Worksheet at ray@propresidents.com.

Email me at ray@propresidents.com to find out more about working with PRO Peer Advisory groups to find out more about the numbers and what is behind them.

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A Business Perspective

A Business Perspective

We’re all committed to working smarter these days. We’re busy cutting expenses, trimming the fat and streamlining processes whenever possible. But there’s one wasteful habit we’re loathe to give up. Many of us still want to sell to “everyone.”

These days, most entrepreneurs are thrilled to sell their wares to anyone who wants to buy them, and that’s fine. However, when you try to include “everyone” in your marketing message, you may actually end up reaching no one.

When you broaden your message too much, you risk watering it down to the point where it no longer resonates with your best prospects. That’s symptomatic of a lack of focus—a dangerous flaw to have, especially now.

Furthermore, small businesses simply don’t have the time, resources or staff to chase every demographic. The reality is you can’t sell to everyone. Nor should you want to.

Yet many companies continue to take a scattershot approach to marketing and sales, thinking they’re more likely to score a hit. The truth is, if you want to hit the bull’s-eye, aim with a rifle, never a shotgun.

How do you do this? Start by determining who your best customer is by reviewing your current customer base. Identify your “A” list customers, along with what makes them valuable. Describe them in as much detail as possible. What common attributes do they share? Is it age, gender or annual income?

If you are a B-to-B operation, you can use the same kind of process. Do you value large firms or small ones? Or companies in certain industries or areas? Keep thinking until you arrive with a detailed description of your target B-to-B prospect.

Next question: What draws them to your products or services? What needs do you fill? How do you fill them better than your competition and how can you improve?

By the time you complete this exercise, you should not only know what your target market is, but what message you should be marketing to that market.

The same philosophy applies to customer service. Are you exhausting your staff in an effort to provide exceptional service to all customers? That may be admirable, but it’s not very wise. Resources are limited, especially these days, and frankly, not all customers deserve it.

So figure out who is worthy of your best service. Start by classifying your customers in groups from “A” to “F” based on criteria that matters most to you. Is it a customer’s sales potential, profitability or payment history? Is it the ease of doing business with them?

Once you’ve classified your customers, analyze what level of service you’re providing to each of them. Logically, you should be reserving your very best service to your “A” list customers, but don’t be surprised to find you’re providing best service to your worst customers. Often, the demanding, difficult accounts are the ones you spend the most energy trying to please.

There is both a direct and indirect cost to servicing a customer. Delinquent accounts, demanding accounts and unprofitable accounts all represent lost opportunity. And while no one wants to lose a customer right now, can you really afford to let an “F” list customer put a drain on your organization?

And if you recognize that you’ve been taking some quiet “A” list customers for granted, maybe it’s time to shower them with more attention.

Targeting customers is yet one more way you can cut, trim and streamline your business. It will save you money, time and aggravation, but best of all, it will also position you for future growth.

 

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Why? The biggest question you will ever ask with one word

Why?

Ray and Zen are forward-thinking pragmatists, albeit ‘advisorologists,’ who have a penchant for seeing things differently. The combination of wit and wisdom bodes well for radio. Our guests report an ease of conversation and delivery of their message in a very personable way, the new way of marketing in the new millennium… relationship building. It’s all important in developing sustainable business, let alone growing your market share.

Simon Sinek is a movement maker, a way-shower for building momentum that matters in our world today. He’s insightful and spot on in observations of how we behave and using those observations to create maximum results. This book is about a naturally occurring pattern, a way of thinking, acting and communicating that gives some leaders the ability to inspire those around them.  Start With Why is a guide to focus on and amplify the things that do work to inspire.start_with_why1

Just about every person or organization needs to motivate others to act for one reason or other.  The ability to motivate people is not, in itself difficult.  It is usually tied to some external factor.  Tempting incentives or the threat of punishment will often elicit the behavior we desire.  Great Leaders are able to inspire people to act.  Those who are able to inspire give people a sense of purpose or belonging that has little to do with any external incentive or benefit to be gained.

Those who truly lead are able to create a following of people who act not because they were swayed, but because they were inspired.  For those who are inspired, the motivation to act is deeply personal.  They are less likely to be swayed by incentives.  Those who are inspired are willing to pay a premium or endure inconvenience, even personal suffering.  Those who are able to inspire will create a following of people, supporters, voters, customers, workers–who act for the good of the whole not because they have to, but because they want to.

All the inspiring leaders and companies, regardless of size or industry, think, act and communicate exactly alike.   Great leaders understand the value in the things we cannot see.

You’ll want to grab Ray’s Crib Notes on the book, too. The salient points are described in great style and clarity so you get the best of the book in short order. You can request the Crib Notes simply by using the form below:

Enjoy the Show!

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How do you confront issues and people effectively?

Crucial Conversations

Tools for Resolving Broken Promises, Violated Expectations, and Bad Behavior

by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler

Disappointing Results at Work?

The Guys explore one of the toughest issues – dealing with confrontations in the workplace. No, it isn’t about breaking up fights, but it can result in one if not handled properly in some cases. Most of us avoid conflict at all costs, so confronting employees who aren’t meeting up to standards is certainly not an enjoyable process. Crucial Confrontations – Tools for Resolving

How do good leaders create conversations to address work issues? The first few seconds of the interaction sets the tone for everything that follows.

What do you do when someone disappoints you?  For some people, the response is anger.  They cut people off, overstate arguments, attack ideas, employ harsh debating tactics, and eventually resort to insults and threats.

Surely, there’s a better way.  And there is.  We’ll explore how to step up and master crucial confrontations.  But first, let’s start with a definition.

What does the term crucial confrontation mean?  To confront means to hold someone accountable for disappointing you, face-to-face. 

It doesn’t have to be abrasive.  In fact, when confrontations are handled correctly, both parties talk openly and honestly.  Both are candid and respectful.  As a result, problems are resolved and the relationship benefits. But crucial confrontation skills offer the best chance to succeed, regardless of the topic, person, or circumstance.

The Guys tiptoe through the tulips of tense moments…  pursed and tight.  Well, if you know The Guys, they are a bit fast and loose. In order to loosen things up they cover the essential processes and techniques for having crucial conversations, from the authors’ point of view and from their own experience. Crucial confrontations succeed or fail because of the words people choose, and the way people deliver them.

Before you confront someone, you have to make sure that you are confronting the right problem.

The ability to reduce an infraction to its bare essence takes patience, a sense of proportion, and precision. You’ll have to listen in or download Ray’s Crib notes below in order to get the details of what the process is and how it works.

 

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