Staffing for Operational Excellence

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:

  • Force of creativity and positivity,
  • Generous collaborator,
  • Inspired innovator,
  • Fearless leader,
  • Flawless communicator,
  • Standout problem solver,
  • Calm in the storm,
  • Catalyst of adaptability, and
  • Welcome contributor to the very culture of your company.

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…

young businessman and worldwide network

How They Think

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:

  • Attentiveness,
  • Creativity,
  • Inquisitiveness,
  • Intrinsic goal orientation,
  • Open-mindedness,
  • Organization,
  • Perseverance,
  • Reflection,
  • Resourcefulness
  • Self-efficacy,
  • Skepticism, and

Truth-seeking.

Young woman thinking

What Their Real Skills Are

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:

  • Know the way and show people to it,
  • Inspire others to aspire,
  • Be attentive and foster attentiveness,
  • Bring and instill commitment,
  • Make others yearn for the desired outcome, and
  • Grow others.
Multitasking business man busy executive

How They Got Their Street Credentials and What They Are

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.

Sneakers on asphalt road with white star

What's Their Education Beyond the Classroom

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:

  • Handle the fact that people are almost always ‘in it for themselves’,
  • Face negativity and turn it into positivity,
  • Work on self-improvement during their processes,
  • Work for the love of it,
  • Turn enemies to friends,
  • Network, network, network,
  • Deal with things that are out of their control,
  • Embrace and create adaptive capability,
  • React to not having super powers, and
  • Understand and deliver quality over quantity.
Mature student studying from notebook

How Industry Savvy Are They Really

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:

  • Acumen,
  • Acuteness,
  • Astuteness,
  • Canniness,
  • Common sense,
  • Discernment,
  • Insight,
  • Know-how,
  • Perception,
  • Perceptiveness,
  • Sagacity,
  • Sharp-wittedness,
  • Shrewdness,
  • Street smarts,
  • Understanding, and

Industry savvy MetaExperts are defined by these qualities.

Mature proud businessman

What Are Their Highly Specialized Disciplines

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.

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If Their Personality Will be an Asset or Liability to Your Company Culture

This one is personal. It’s not a matter of acting these ways, but being these ways:

  • Strong and determined, but never rude or unpleasant,
  • Kind, compassionate and empathetic, but never a push-over,
  • Bold, confident, even forceful but absolutely not a bully,
  • Humble but not timid or self-denigrating,
  • Deservedly proud without a shred of arrogance,
  • Realistic, realistic, realistic, and
  • Rooted in truth and integrity.

With these characteristics, your new-hire or contractor will be an asset to you. Without them, they will be a liability.

Concept To Think Different

Are They Truly Leadership Material

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:

  • They are the elite of critical thinking,
  • They have the real skills required to create high-performing teams,
  • They have epic street cred,
  • They have education beyond the classroom rivaled by none,
  • They are deeply, deeply savvy about your industry,
  • They are subject matter experts on steroids, and
  • Their personality is a stunning asset to your organization.
Stack of hands. Unity and teamwork concept.

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:

  • Global political unrest;
  • Changes in the balance of which nations have trade dominance;
  • Emerging workforces in previously uncompetitive nations;
  • Maturation of diverse industries, including genetics, robotics, big data, green energy
    and cybersecurity;
  • Climate change/global warming; and
  • Inexorable depletion of essential resources―water, food and clean air
3d render office interior

These are some high-level impacts you can count on grappling with if you aren't already

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.

  • If your organization is multinational, political sanctions might shut down some of your markets and critically disrupt your supply chain.
  • If your company is facing a mass retirement of baby boomers, you will feel the competition from countries that have a limitless supply of young people joining the workforce (e.g., Nigeria).
  • If you’re in the traditional energy business, you’ll likely lose entire access to some critical sources―Venezuela comes to mind.
  • Clones and robots might potentially solve some of your ‘human’ resource issues, but what skills are required to train and monitor them?
  • If green energy is your industry, you’d better be way ahead of the curve on the wind and solar sectors, so you can launch into new technologies. Denmark, for example, is harnessing wave power.
  • Hackers on the Internet of Things (IoT) are putting terrorism as we’ve always known it out of business. Your cybersecurity initiative will face increasing challenges and demands on a daily basis.
  • Whatever the cause might be, the heating of the planet will change the way your company functions―from emissions controls to consumer demand.
  • No matter what you do in business, when we run out of water, we’re done―food and clean air will be a non-issue.

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.

Closeup female eye iris burning

You'll have a global network of contractors on staff — even your executives will be contractors

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:

  • Education
  • Expertise
  • Industry experience
  • History of successes
  • The way they think
  • Hard and soft skills they have amassed
  • Verified credentials
  • Specific disciplines
  • Personality
  • Leadership prowess

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.

Choosing the right person for partnership

Capricious customers will increasingly dictate that you use contractors...

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.

Internet shopping and e-commerce, package delivery concept

Consider this strategy for improving your human resources program

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.

Choosing the right person for partnership
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10X ROI Logistics Solution™ is a proprietary program created by Doug Sartain, MetaExperts Business Solutions Partner.

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