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Monday, July 22, 2019

3 Business Lessons I Learned From the Astros

The Houston Astros are not only my favorite baseball team, but they’re also great teachers of business. Here’s what I mean.

I’m a big Astros fan, but their recent World Series title isn’t the only thing they’ve given me to smile about. They’ve also taught me a lot about business, and I think there are three things that all hiring authorities can learn from the Houston Astros:

1. Rebuilding. The Astros literally went from worst to first in less than five years. How did they do it? They recognized the need for a rebuild if they wanted to achieve their ultimate goal. Human capital is the No. 1 predictor of their success, which is true of our organizations as well. The people that we hire and build our organizations around are our top asset.

2. Embrace the new generation. The Astros did this, and it went on to lead them to a World Series. How can you hire the next generation to impact your business positively? The Astros brought on players like George Springer, Alex Bregman, and Carlos Correa to rebuild themselves into a dynasty.

I recommend tunneling your focus into one or two positions.

3. Tunnel focus. A hitter like Jose Altuve has to focus on hitting one ball and making contact. If he has to start focusing on multiple balls at once, he’s not going to hit anything, even though he’s a great hitter. In hiring, we try to do everything all at once and it leads us nowhere. I recommend focusing on one or two positions that can most dramatically impact the organization. Prioritize the most critical needs first and just move down the list. This will give you a much better result.

I hope this has given you some good ideas for your organization. If you have any questions for us in the meantime, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Model Your Hiring After the Chicago Bulls

Michael Jordan taught us how to dream. The Chicago Bulls taught us how to handle the hiring process.

Back in 1983, the Chicago Bulls took Michael Jordan in the first round of the NBA draft, and as you probably know, that pick transformed their organization forevermore.

With Jordan at the helm, the Bulls amassed six out of ten championships throughout the ‘90s, and to this day Michael Jordan is widely considered the greatest player to have ever set foot on a basketball court.

How does the story of the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan tie into our roles as hiring authorities? And what can we learn from that historic 1983 selection when it comes to the way we recruit and hire? 

Much to their detriment, a lot of hiring authorities are overly focused on bullets points in a job description. Even after accounting for such credentials as skills, experience, and education, they tend to place undue emphasis on the specifics of the role they’re hiring for. In other words, the hiring authority wants to know if the applicant has already done what they’ll be directing them to do.

For the sake of argument, let’s say the Chicago Bulls took the same approach. They certainly wouldn’t have gone after a player fresh out of college with no professional experience. Instead, perhaps they would have pursued a power forward with experience in the NBA playoffs or a player with a championship already under their belt.

Seeing the process through this new lens might just fundamentally change the way you do your hiring in 2019.

During the period between the ‘80s and early ‘90s, the Chicago Bulls weren’t a great organization and were easily outmatched against forces like the Lakers and Celtics. But when they drafted Jordan, the Bulls took a chance on an unknown quantity and rightly saw something in his raw skills and experience. 

In addition, they assessed his soft skills—was he a leader at the University of North Carolina? Will he and how can he be a leader at the professional level? They looked at the totality of what Jordan had to offer, and, as they say, the rest is history.

Let this be a lesson to all of us about how we craft our job descriptions and consider the weight that raw skills and experience carry versus prior experience when we do our hiring. Ultimately, our focus should be on an applicant’s probability of success in our organization, rather than if they have direct experience in very specific areas. Seeing the process through this new lens might just fundamentally change the way you do your hiring in 2019.

If you have any questions or would like to have a conversation with me, feel free to reach out. I’d be happy to hear from you!   

Monday, June 17, 2019

Retention and Employee Engagement—Part 2

Welcome back to part two of our series! Today we’ll focus on the importance of employee engagement and how it can impact your company as a whole.

Last time in part one of this series, we discussed strategies for boosting employee retention. Today in part two, we’ll focus on another important aspect of being an employer: employee engagement.

Since 2010, numerous studies have come out that have really enlightened us as to what constitutes employee engagement, how it impacts productivity, and how it impacts employee retention. These studies have suggested that up to 80% of people don’t like their jobs and that dissatisfaction influences their disengagement.

But what do those employees look like? Well, those are the people that might distract themselves with social media throughout the day. Their lightbulbs aren’t on, they just seem unmotivated, and they don’t rally behind their company’s mission.

Why is it that people seem to be disengaged from their jobs? Well, the studies found that there are two key reasons:

1. They feel undervalued
2. They’re dissatisfied with the company’s leadership

This reminds me of a great quote by Simon Sinek: “Leadership isn’t about being in charge; it’s about taking care of those in our charge.” Studies have also shown that employees with lower engagement are four times more likely to leave than those who are highly engaged, so we know this is an important topic.

Leadership isn’t about being in charge; it’s about taking care of those in our charge.

C-suite executives view this issue as one of the top issues that constitute a threat to their business, and it actually ends up costing the U.S. One study said that the issue of employee disengagement costs the country at large over $400 billion a year.

So what can be done to alleviate this problem? Here are a couple of things to think about in your own business:

1. Build trust in leadership. This includes middle-management, not just c-suite management. We have to show our people that we truly care about them personally, not just professionally, and we have to act with integrity. People in our organizations can see how we act behind closed doors as well as how we act with our customers.

2. Demonstrate competence. If mid-management is disengaged, it can trickle down to the people who work in their groups. What’s important isn’t what we do as a job function—it’s about why we do it. The question, then, is how do we capture our mission to change our communities and leave a lasting impact in our one-on-one, daily, and weekly meetings?

Ultimately, the first step to solving these issues is to realize how important it is, and now that we know what we can do, tactically speaking, to help move the needle in the area of employee engagement. Shifting your own perspective, and therefore your employees’, can have a huge spillover effect when it comes to retaining your top talent and increasing your organization’s productivity.

If you have any questions or comments about this topic, feel free to reach out to us. We’d love to have a conversation with you.