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Will Your Next Hire Improve Your Team?


by Larry Sternberg, President at Talent Plus, Inc.

Every time someone leaves you’re presented with the opportunity to select someone who has the potential to improve your team’s capacity to excel. Of course you’re looking for an individual whose credentials, experience and past accomplishments indicate the potential for excellence. But what about the question of fit?

Is this candidate a good fit for your organization’s culture? For your individual leadership style? Is there a fit with the other members of your team? Will this candidate bring strengths that compliment the other team members’ strengths? Does this candidate have the strengths necessary to meet the challenges of your current business situation?

Some leaders are exactly the right fit for turnaround situations, but not for stable situations where the challenge is building a sustainable culture. Some organizations welcome highly entrepreneurial leaders, and some cultures are a better fit for managers who prefer to follow established practices and policies. None of these strengths or styles is inherently more desirable than others. It’s always a question of fit.

I once worked with a highly talented CEO whose motto was, “We are never satisfied.” His drive for continuous improvement was relentless. I assure you, not everyone was a good fit with his style. Some really good people were exhausted by his attitude. But others saw him as a kindred spirit. So when we were selecting direct reports for him, we gave candidates this motto and payed attention to their reaction. Some asked with hope, “Is this really true?” One said, “What a sad way to be.”

We’re told that for certain businesses, the three most important issues are location, location, location. When selecting new people for your team, it’s fit, fit, and fit.

So before you have an opening on your team, think about people who not only perform with excellence, but also thrive in your organization culture under your unique leadership style. Achieve as much clarity as possible about what strengths and character traits make him or her such a great fit.

If you lose someone, inventory the strengths and weaknesses of the remaining team members. What set of strengths would improve your team’s performance? If you want a more intense sense of urgency, hold out for someone who brings that strength. If you want more consistent positivity, hold out for someone who brings that strength.

See if you can complete the following sentence. “If you want better follow up, …”

Thanks for reading. As always, I’d love to hear your comments.

Larry Sternberg

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