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The 8 Things You Must Know About Your New-hire or Contractor and Probably Don’t
In your pursuit of Operational Excellence (OpEx), the ultimate determiner of your organization’s profitability, growth, and innovation capability and sustainability, you must create teams of people who have rich depths of capability. Their resumes, references, certifications, education and work history — staples of every human resource department’s interviewing and hiring process — don’t provide what you really need to know. A resume is to a new-hire or contractor what a table of contents is to a biographical book. An outline of the person’s hard skills, not a read of the true gifts they can bring to your team.
The following eight sections discuss deep enrichments of an individual that make them a:
Often referred to as soft skills or EI/EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient), these highly valued characteristics are what Psychology Today maintains are the foundation of personal and professional integrity and maturity. To onboard the right people, your human resources(HR) department or subject matter experts (SME) staffing provider needs to be weighing EQ more heavily than anything on the timeline of the standard resume. Here’s what we know about the MetaExperts we hire, and what your HR department (or the new-hire) really need to tell you…
MetaExperts, for example, tell us not what they know about planning, deployment, leadership, metrics, roadblocks, and dozens of other keys to OpEx, but how they think about these elements in the process of defining and implementing them. They explain how they question an issue, how they deconstruct it, and ultimately how they develop alignment with its resolution and the processes involved. We interview them to determine the way they think, the dispositions of good critical thinking (Psychology Today), their:
It’s not enough that these MetaExperts have certifications in, and extensive experience implementing business value in areas such as organizational excellence, Lean and Six Sigma, change management, and high-performing team development, they must demonstrate to us their intrinsic ability to:
While it’s very important that we know where MetaExperts have deployed extreme OpEx — their employers and contracted companies — so we can obtain references and recommendations about them, it is even more important that we know the grit of their process. Urbandictionary.com defines street credentials (or street cred) as “Street cred is the points you get for doing something impressive and bold. The more street cred you have, the cooler you are.” We define it as “the degree to which the MetaExpert influenced positive, sustainable OpEx improvement because he or she inspired the client’s people to really want it — in part because of the MetaExpert’s degree of coolness.” For us, street cred is the news from the trenches — how they were and what they delivered — from both the MetaExpert and the people in the trenches with him or her.
The education we all get in the real world has a tremendous influence on who we are. Who we are determines where we best fit in and can make contributions. This education determines much about how MetaExperts are a good fit (or not) in the culture of our clients’ organizations. When we vet MetaExperts, we want to know how they have reacted to certain realizations while on projects and why. For example, how they:
A person can work in a specific industry for decades. If they do, they are likely to deeply understand where it is going, where it came from, what drives it, who its customers are — basically, its functional profile. Yet, there is much more that we require to know of MetaExperts: we want to know their industry savvy. Savvy is more EQ than IQ. More internal, than external. Savvy is “shrewdness and practical knowledge; the ability to make good judgments” (dictionary.com). Savvy is summed up by its synonyms:
Industry savvy MetaExperts are defined by these qualities.
Professional disciplines can be loosely categorized as branches of knowledge or experience: i.e. doctor. For your purposes, you’ll need to drill much deeper into your new-hire or contractor’s specialties — sometimes the almost obscure is exactly what you need. When we determine a MetaExpert’s super-specialized subject matter expertise, we look at their achievements in over 200 hard skills as they relate to their industry experience. In this way, we can categorize their highly specialized disciplines. For example, an individual MetaExpert’s database file might have a verified discipline of: Supply Chain > Supplier Performance Management Specialist > Complex Manufacturing > Packaging > Pharmaceutical Industry. This tells us that they have extreme skill working with companies that have quality track records for custom packaging manufacturing for the pharmaceutical industry and that he or she can readily resolve a challenge a client in that industry has with service or providers of custom packaging.
This one is personal. It’s not a matter of acting these ways, but being these ways:
With these characteristics, your new-hire or contractor will be an asset to you. Without them, they will be a liability.
To determine this, revisit the seven preceding sections. Ultimately, you want the people you put in the positions of great responsibility to be defined in the way we define MetaExperts. We use the precepts in those seven sections to make sure the MetaExperts that we deploy to be team and project leaders have the highest possible combination of good qualities in each category. You should demand no less of your HR department and contract talent providers. To reiterate:
Why Your Company Doesn’t Have the Right Staff at the Right Time, and How to Solve That
You don’t have the right staff at the right time because you can’t afford to find, onboard and maintain full-time personnel who can get and keep you up-to-speed with:
You need to have access to people who can swiftly, effectively and strategically advise you as these influences will impact your business model. These are just the mega-contributors to the firestorm of influences on your business over which you have no control.
All of this is not intended to be depressing (although it intrinsically is). Instead, it’s meant to demonstrate to you, and even reassure you, that your organization is in good company with every other one, because we are all facing the same challenges in business that are completely out of our individual control. As executives, we need to be very fatalistic about the conditions affecting our ability to reach our business goals. Executives need to be profoundly proactive in bringing in the right people temporarily to resolve the impact of these challenges quickly, and then roll them out to make space for the next subject matter expert (SME). That’s the only way any of us will be able to find, onboard and afford the superior, agile strategists and deployment experts required to keep our organizations adaptive to business forces coming at us at the speed of the IoT.
In the early 21st century, we all became very comfortable with contracted staff. Most organizations regularly use freelancers, and we’ve all even brought in an occasional SME. Time to bring in the new era of human resources. It looks something like a giant, digital honeycomb network of contractors who can be sourced almost instantly based on their well-vetted qualifications, including:
In time, the majority of our executive-to-management workforce will be contractors whom we all share. They will be people of integrity who take their Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) extremely seriously, and will likely do great work for you and every one of your competitors at some point in their careers. Much is said about the importance of cooperation in business, among businesses and for the future of business. Contracting subject matter and deployment experts with industry specific skills in combating the business forces we cannot avoid is a powerful groundswell in the cooperation not competition model. It’s a good groundswell, very much in line with the inevitable evolution of how we’ll do business.
Even if all of the uncontrollable forces did not exist, the fundamental capriciousness of consumers makes it impossible for most of us to maintain the right staff to change our product/service, packaging and delivery according to the whims of our consumers. At the end of the day, if you don’t accept the fact that your company doesn’t have the right staff at the right time, and embrace the fact that contracting experts is the only way to have the right people when you need them at a price you can afford and for only the duration of the demand, you’ll have a tough, if not impossible, time competing, let alone cooperating.
Change your Human Resources (HR) department. Get them out of the group-think about permanent hire practices, procedures and policies. Train and empower them to always source a possible contracted alternative. Carve out a team whose expertise is locating providers (contracted talent brokers) of top, thoroughly vetted experts in their fields. Note that these alternative staffing companies specialize in everything from industry to specifics like operational excellence, customer service, retail pricing, ad infinitum. Have your HR department partner with providers who supply the skills and industry expertise best suited to your goals. Then ask your providers to partner with one other―build your own digital honeycomb network of contractors. In this way, you’ll always have the staff you need when you need them.