The purpose of this article is to provide the information necessary to bridge the gap between empowered and average managers. “A manager is not a person who can do the work better than his men; he is a person who can get his men to do the work better than he can.” Unknown WHEN IT COMES TO A COMPANY, THE MATH IS SIMPLE: GOOD PEOPLE =GOOD COMPANY GREAT PEOPLE =GREAT COMPANY BAD PEOPLE =… With this in mind, how do managers ensure that they have great people? A manager needs to work to find, choose, develop, retain and, if necessary, let go of people. Finding Great People “All resources are not obvious; great managers find and develop available talent.” Zig Ziglar, author and motivational speaker before manager’s search for excellent new team members, it is imperative that they list the five top strengths or qualities that they need their people to possess. As Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, states, “Begin with the end in mind.”
This is the essential first step. Unless managers know exactly what qualities they seek in team members, they will not know whether or not they have found the right person. A point of caution: managers need to remember that they must determine the necessary qualities—not skills. It is infinitely easier to teach and develop someone’s skills than it is to change their personal qualities. Where can managers find great people? In these times of competitive labour markets, many businesses continually struggle to staff their organizations. The outlook for future labour markets appears at least as aggressive as the current situation. Today, managers spend significant amounts of time and money trying to entice new people to join their organizations. They do so in a context in which baby boomers are retiring, owners are weaning themselves from their businesses, and business leaders are trying to fill senior positions with young leaders who can help companies achieve future success. Four techniques for finding great people to find great people, managers must be willing to go beyond the traditional methods used to find new team members. The following is a list of four innovative techniques used by excellent managers to stay ahead of their competitors in the search for exceptional people:
1. Go out and get them – To find potential new team members, most managers use traditional methods of advertising jobs. These methods include placing advertisements in the business or classified sections of newspapers, posting opportunities online on their own websites or on internet job boards and using employment agencies. Using these techniques, managers may have better odds of winning at a Las Vegas casino than they do of finding great people. Managers must realize that most successful people do not look at want ads. Usually, they already have open offers for employment from other organizations. When managers place advertisements, they rely on many chance events taking place: the right person looking through job postings, stumbling across their organization’s advertisement, being intrigued enough by the posting to take the time to respond, responding with a resume that speaks so clearly of their excellence that the manager selects them for an interview out of the many people who sent in resumes and, finally, that the manager selects them out of all possible candidates to join the organization. Obviously, a lot of chance is involved in using these methods to find great people. A further drawback to these methods—they consume time, money, and emotionally exhaust many managers. And still, they provide only a remote chance of success. To dramatically increase their ability to acquire exceptional people, great managers go out and get them. Stories abound of Bill Gates personally calling top graduate students to offer them positions at Microsoft. A general manager of a very successful audio retailer in Calgary, Alberta is known for going out and getting excellent people. He has been known to walk into other retailers and identify their top consultants by asking about and observing them at work. When he finds someone he likes, he proceeds to offer them a position in his company. These take-charge methods have proven very successful for these companies and thousands like them.
2. Keep their eyes open for opportunities to find great people – Great managers are always conscious of any opportunity to find great people. These managers habitually assess everyone they encounter. We know one manager who went into an employment agency to speak with a representative about finding someone for his company. After talking with her, he realized that she was exactly the type of person he wanted for the position. He hired her on the spot. Unorthodox though this may seem, great managers think outside the box. Top managers can identify excellent people when they see them work. These people usually stand out from their colleagues when working with customers and other team members. They put forth extra effort, listen attentively, smile, maintain eye contact, and show confidence, patience, and professionalism. They can be seen going beyond the call of duty to ensure that everyone is taken care of and satisfied. Great managers consciously alert themselves to the presence of valuable people. They know this method of constant watchfulness works. Wherever they go, they observe people, aware that they may discover a great future team member.
3. Inquire about top performers – Great managers visiting other companies habitually ask who the companies’ best employees are. When five people say, “Susan is an outstanding employee,” the manager makes an appointment to see her. Meeting Susan this way creates a new opportunity that otherwise would not have presented itself: Susan and other impressive people like her are probably not actively seeking new employment opportunities.
4. Network – Great managers network with friends, business contacts, and all their other connections to find top people. They let people know that they constantly seek high-quality team members. By informing enough people, they may not have to look as hard for staff because: their contacts could potentially locate the very people they would like to meet. II. They have so often modelled the art of networking to find great team members that it becomes contagious. These managers may find other managers and team members adopting this excellent habit. By going out and getting great people, keeping their eyes open for opportunities, inquiring about top performers, and networking, exceptional managers give their companies a competitive edge.