The Eight-Point Success Matrix™

By Barry Deutsch

To eliminate interviewers’ ingrained tendency to focus on superficial criteria and miss substantive evidence, we developed a structured tool to help each interviewer evaluate each candidate—objectively, fairly, and comprehensively.

The Eight-Point Success Matrix is the tool or scorecard we have our clients use to rate “fit” based on the examples, illustrations, specifics, results, accomplishments, and patterns of behavior that emerge in candidate interviews.intw blockstyle

It is quick to use, easy to understand, and focused on the job itself. Perhaps most importantly, it calibrates interviewer ratings, keeping everyone on the same page. Built around the five key predictors of success in our SUCCESS FACTOR METHODOLOGY™, the Eight-Point Success Matrix forces interviewers to ask the right questions and probe until they have enough information to complete the form. To use this scorecard in the interviewing process, we are assuming the interviewer is well-versed in our 8-step SUCCESS FACTOR METHODOLOGY, particularly the steps involving defining success for a particular role, the process of how to interview for success by using the 5 core questions, and the approach of uncovering the truth behind candidate responses by applying the magnifying Glass Technique. These 8-steps are explained in more depth on our website or in our book titled, You’re Not the Person I Hired. You can also download the Eight-Point Success Matrix from our site.

Accountability to the interviewing group is vital. When interviewers know they will have to justify the ratings assigned to each candidate to the entire group of interviewers—especially if they’ve designated Candidate A’s Team Leadership ability “1” while everybody else assigned her a “2”—the whole process is taken more seriously.

Because each member of the interviewing team fills out an Eight-Point Success Matrix form after each interview, by end of a long interview cycle a candidate’s file may contain twenty or more. The full file allows the person with final hiring power to evaluate full-spectrum of evaluation on all Success Factors. Skimming the right column helps the hiring executive to rapidly compare the same candidate interview-to-interview, and also to evaluate candidates’ qualifications against each other, on equal footing.

How to Use the Form

The most important consideration in using the matrix is this: Do Not, Under Any Circumstances, Put Off Completing the Form After Each Interview. Human memory fades rapidly four to six hours after an event. Once details are gone from short-term memory, they are lost forever.

biz timeYou absolutely must ensure that your hiring process does not fall victim to procrastination and memory loss (“Er, gee, I think this was the guy with the orange tie who used to work at Enron, yeah? Or was that Exxon? Shoot, I don’t remember…”) The hiring team leader must make sure each interviewer sits down immediately after the interview (or by that same day’s end, at the latest) to complete the sections for which they have gathered enough information.

It is almost certain that no interviewer will be able to fill out an entire matrix after just one interview. That’s fine—they should leave blank any sections that require more information, and make notes regarding what questions to ask in the next interview in the “Comments” area.

We highly recommend that somebody on the interviewing team—preferably the hiring manager him- or herself—be charged with distributing and collecting the Eight-Point Success Matrix forms before and after each round of interviews. When people know they’ll be held accountable at the end of the day, they won’t put off what needs to be done. While there are few rules about using the Matrix, there are several tips to keep in mind:

  1. The form should be explained and discussed fully among the team before interviews begin.
  2. Each interviewer should understand the difference between a score of 0, 1, 2, and 3.
  3. Each interviewer should understand what each of the Factors is intended to measure.
  4. A candidate who rates Zeros in any category is probably not the best choice for the job.
  5. The “sweet spot” on the Eight-Point Success Matrix form is a ranking of “2.” Not too hot or too cold—just right.
  6. Depending on the job, it is possible that a candidate with one or two ratings of “1” might still be up to the job.
  7. A candidate whose Matrix scores are consistently “3” across the board is likely overqualified. At a minimum you might encounter a fair level of difficulty retaining this individual. He or she would probably become bored with the job and is therefore NOT always a good choice.
  8. Your hiring team should discuss their rankings of the final candidates in great detail to make sure no questions or concerns are left un-addressed.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014

Barry Deutsch, MA is a well-known thought leader in hiring and peak performance management. He is a frequent and sought-after speaker for management meetings, trade associations, and CEO forums, such as Vistage International, formerly known as TEC, a worldwide CEO membership organization of more than 15,000 CEOs and senior executives. Many of his clients view him as their virtual Chief Talent Officer. Vistage International named Barry “IMPACT Speaker of the Year”… Barry is also frequently asked to present IMPACT Hiring Solutions award-winning programs on hiring, retention, and motivating top talent and leverages a vast knowledge base of 25 years in the executive search field, with a track record of successful placements in multi-billion dollar Fortune 100 companies, entrepreneurial firms, and middle-market high-growth businesses. He has worked closely with thousands of CEOs and key executives to help improve hiring success, leverage human capital, and raise the bar on talent acquisition. Barry earned his BA and MA from the American University in Washington, D.C. Prior to his executive search career, Barry held positions of responsibility in Finance and General Management with Mattel, Beatrice Foods, and Westinghouse Cable. Barry is a co-author of the book, You’re Not The Person I Hired. You can reach him at barry@impacthiringsolutions.com.

Inspiration and Techniques for Building Championship-Level Performance – Lighthouse clients have one thing in common – all are committed to boosting the performance of their organizations. So, we are pleased to introduce our clients and friends to Boaz Rauchwerger — speaker, trainer, author and consultant. We highly recommend Boaz to you. Ask him to deliver one of his inspirational programs at your next executive retreat or strategic planning session.

One of our favorite Boaz programs is “Playing Like a Championship Team Every Day”. It helps you build on the strengths of everyone’s individual differences. This program helps you discover five steps to get everyone to join the building crew and resign from the wrecking crew. This is a very powerful and inspirational program that receives rave reviews every time.

• Master five techniques to inspire others to perform like champions
• Six recognition techniques including the powerful “good finder” program
• Learn four ways that your team can gain a competitive advantage
• Identify the three prerequisites for maximizing the team’s results
• Learn the two forms of keeping a daily score so everyone wins

Who is Boaz? Over a 30-year span, Boaz, author of The Tiberias Transformation – How To Change Your Life In Less Than 8 Minutes A Day, has conducted thousands of seminars internationally on goal setting and high achievement. He has taught over half a million people how to supercharge their lives, their careers and how to add Power to their goals. His innovative program, for individuals and corporations, is a simple and highly effective process for high achievement. He was voted Speaker of the Year by Vistage, an international organization of CEOs and business owners. How to Contact Boaz – Want more information on Boaz’s Power Program, including “Playing Like a Championship Team Every Day”? Just click here and we’ll be in touch.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code” please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

How Robots Will Change the Future of Small Business

space robotBy Dana Borowka

Are robot employees in your future? Robots for small business have moved from science fiction to science fact.

Science fiction author, Isaac Asimov introduced The Three Laws of Robotics in his 1942 book, I, Robot (the basis for a 2004 film adaptation starring Will Smith.) Asimov’s Three Laws are:

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such actions would interfere with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

For a small business, I would like to add three more laws:

4. A robot must not call in sick.
5. A robot must not request a vacation day.
6. A robot must not ask for a raise.

When most people think robots in business they naturally form a mental picture of manufacturing industries such as automotive, electronics and consumer goods. However, small non-manufacturing businesses with fewer than 100 employees and 10 robots or less represent a growing segment of today’s market for robots.

What Exactly Is a Small Business Robot?

In practical terms, a robot usually refers to a machine which can be electronically programmed to carry out a variety of physical tasks or actions. The word robot can refer to both physical robots and virtual software, but the latter are usually referred to as bots. There is no consensus on which machines qualify as robots but there is general agreement among experts, and the public, that robots tend to do some or all of the following: move around, operate a mechanical limb, sense and manipulate their environment, and exhibit intelligent behavior — especially behavior which mimics humans or other animals.

The International Organization of Standardization (ISO) sets a standard for what constitutes a robot. ISO defines an industrial robot as being an “automatically controlled, reprogrammable, multipurpose manipulator” that is “programmable in three or more axes.”

However, a robot is more than a mere programmable machine like a Mr. Coffee. According to Majid Abai, Chief Sherpa of the IT and robot consulting firm, The Abai Group, to qualify as a robot requires a mechanical component and some level of programmable intelligence.

Abai is the founder and CEO of The Abai Group, Inc. He is a senior executive with a 30-year track record of building, transforming, and leading domestic and international organizations. Majid is focused on innovation, strategy, and execution in tech companies and IT departments. He speaks to technical and non-technical executives on how an effective IT organization and robotics could help increase business efficiency, revenues, and customer loyalty while reducing the costs for the company.

Abai says a true robot includes “the capability to add analysis to its tasks, not just serving as an automatically operated machine that replaces human effort.” Therefore ATM machines are not robots that replace bank tellers, and not because they do not resemble human beings in appearance or perform functions in a humanlike manner. A device that automatically performs complicated and often repetitive tasks is not what Abai would call a robot.

food robotBy Abai’s definition, a Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner, would qualify. A Roomba features a set of basic sensors that help it perform tasks. For instance, the Roomba is able to change direction on encountering obstacles, detect dirty spots on the floor, and detect steep drops to keep it from falling down stairs. It uses two independently operating wheels that allow 360 degree turns. Additionally, it can adapt to perform other more “creative” tasks using an embedded computer.

Forget the cyborg imagery of sci-fi too. A Roomba, for instance, does not have to look like a domestic servant with a vacuum cleaner, like Rosie the robot from the 1960s animated TV show, The Jetsons. While a robot can be a machine that looks like a human being and performs various complex acts (such as walking or talking) of a human being, that is not the true difference.

Future Small Biz Jobs for Robots

Robots are best applied in any fixed, purely repetitive task where the motions involved are predictable and routine. These include the four Ps of picking, placing, packaging and painting, as well as some forms of assembly, ironing and welding. Compared to humans, robots are faster, have almost unlimited endurance, are more predictable or just provide outright superior precision. They are also very useful in jobs that are too dangerous for humans, such as handling containers of molten metal in foundries or radioactive substances at nuclear power plants.

Fast food workers, tax preparers and cashiers will be replaced by robots in the future. Here are just some of the other ways small business will use robots.

Nurses and Healthcare Worker. According to MSN Innovation writer Mark Hattersley, the Japanese are taking auto line production and delivering it straight to the hospital bedside. HStar Technologies is now taking orders for its Robotic Nursing Assistant (RoNA) and Serbot, and researchers from Carnegie Mellon University are putting the final touches on a nursebot called Pearl. According to the sales brochure, RoNA is a “stable, highly mobile, dexterous, autonomous, bi-manual humanoid robotic nursing assistant. Equipped with highly dexterous robotic arms of payload up to 10 lbs.” The Serbot is designed to monitor and transport elderly patients with limited mobility. Pearl even has built-in telepresence functionality, which essentially allows the patient to talk through the robot to a physician or nurse. The nurse or physician can control the robot remotely using a tablet device. When not being controlled remotely the robot performs routine caretaking tasks and checks on the status of patients.

Attorneys and Paralegals. The rise of the machines in the legal world is coming. According to Jordan Weissman of The Atlantic, attorneys have employed manual keyword searches to sort through the gigabytes of information involved in these cases. Now more firms are beginning to use a technology known as “predictive coding,” which essentiallywalking robot automates the process at one-tenth the cost. “Several studies have shown that predictive coding outperforms human reviewers, though by how much is unclear. A widely cited 2011 article in the Richmond Journal of Law and Technology analyzed research on document review and found that humans unearthed an average of about 60 percent of relevant documents, while predictive coding identified an average of 77 percent.”

Truck Drivers and Chauffeurs. An autonomous car, or robot car, is an autonomous vehicle capable of fulfilling the human transportation capabilities of a traditional car. As an autonomous vehicle, it is capable of sensing its environment and navigating without human input. Today robotic cars exist mainly as prototypes and demonstration systems. The Google driverless car is a project by Google that involves developing technology for autonomous cars. The software powering Google’s cars is called Google Chauffeur. The U.S. state of Nevada passed a law in 2011, permitting the operation of autonomous cars in Nevada. Florida became the second state to allow the testing of autonomous cars on public roads and California became the third state to legalize the use of self-driven cars for testing purposes as of September 2012 when Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law at Google HQ in Mountain View. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder followed suit by signing legislation allowing the testing of automated or self-driving vehicles on Michigan’s roads in December 2013, but this legislation requires a human in the driver seat at all times while the vehicle is in use. For now.

Journalists and Copywriters. According to The Guardian, Forbes.com already uses an artificial intelligence platform provided by the technology company Narrative Science to generate automated news from live data sets and content harvested from previous articles. What makes it possible is that business news content tends to be formulaic and data-heavy, listing places, stocks and company names. The Los Angeles Times, meanwhile, uses robots to report on earthquakes: the organization relies on an algorithm that pulls in data on magnitude, place and time from a US Geological Survey site. NPR has reported on the use of robot sportswriters producing coverage of games.

Customer Service and Marketing Reps. Why outsource to India when you can use a robot instead? Another area where businesses use robots is in their marketing to consumers. Technology companies produce robots to demonstrate new devices or inventions and to create a sense of innovation and progress. Robots are part of interactive displays at trade shows where they compete with more traditional marketing tools for attendees’ attention.

Call Center Staffers and Outbound Callers. Every business needs some form of telecommunications infrastructure to communicate with suppliers and customers. Robots can simplify a business’ call center and handle incoming phone or Internet traffic to keep the channels of communication open and running smoothly. Automated calling robots place prerecorded calls, including appointment reminders and customer satisfaction surveys. Likewise, an automated call center uses a programmable interface to greet callers and direct them to the appropriate information or department.

Inventory Takers. Robots also perform inventory tasks for businesses with large warehouses or sorting facilities. Inventory robots are essentially driver-less vehicles that can navigate a warehouse and select specific pieces of merchandise, bringing them to employees who enter product requests into an automated system. Inventory robots save time and also reduce the likelihood of human error that can cause inconsistencies in inventory tracking.

Entertainers and Performers. Another class of robots used in business are those that entertain audiences. Robots and robotic displays appear in storefronts, in theme park attractions and in television and film programs. Some of these robots are skillfully crafted to resemble real people while others represent fantastical creatures or mechanical robots from a fictional world. Robot characters populate science fiction narratives while special effects robots endure hazardous conditions that would be unsafe for human or animal actors.

But Who Takes Care of the Robots?

Typically, many small business leaders today are not interested in using robots for three reasons: expense, lack of expertise, and fear. All of these will be overcome. As the price of robots continue to fall and functionality continues to rise, the robot employees are coming. The jump in productivity will demand it.

windup man robotThe answer to the lack of expertise and fear objections is to hire the right employees to help with your robotics. Without a doubt, a tough challenge for small business managers with robots is consistently hiring quality people to take care of the robots. These devices need to be set-up, programmed, monitored and repaired. No benefit comes without a price.

Hiring the wrong people to handle the robots will create many problems: reduced time to market, a loss of market share, higher turnover rates among productive humans on the payroll, lost management time, lost customers to the competition and the tremendous opportunity cost of unmet sales goals.

To improve any hiring decision, many companies have found they need to crack the personality code by using robust personality testing. Personality tests are a standard recruiting practice for many branches of the government and military, as well as many Fortune 500 companies when assessing potential hires for key or critical positions. This is not guesswork or an untested science.

Therefore, when hiring robot handlers the secret is to cultivate top performers through a three-step process: assess candidates with an in-depth work style and personality assessments, screen candidates for behavioral tendencies, and manage more effectively based on behavioral styles. The goal is to base your hiring and managing decisions on the best data that can be collected about the best personalities to work with the robots. The same you do for any employee.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and his organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. They also have a full service consulting division that provides domestic and international interpersonal coaching, executive onboarding, leadership training, global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training, operational productivity improvement, 360s and employee surveys as well as a variety of workshops. Dana has over 25 years of business consulting experience and is a nationally renowned speaker, radio and TV personality on many topics. He provides workshops on hiring, managing for the future, and techniques to improve interpersonal communications that have a proven ROI. He is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s,  workshops, and executive & employee coaching.  Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

Hiring Sales People & Attracting Top Talent!

By Dana Borowka

In this day and age, making the wrong hiring decision can cost you $50,000 to multiples of millions of dollars!! That’s a high price to pay, and it’s a conservative figure when you factor in the emotional pressures of training, evaluation, termination and then starting the hiring process all over again. By refining your hiring process, you can turn hiring into a profitable and successful venture.targets

Creating an Effective Recruitment Program

There are several steps to creating an effective recruitment program. The first starts with the basics – the job description. Many companies don’t even have job descriptions for their positions and that’s one of many hiring pitfalls. It’s very difficult to describe a position to a candidate, without having it well defined. The next problem with job descriptions is that they are usually not definitive enough. It’s important to detail the expected job performance outcome, and be very specific in what is needed and expected. The job description should have 30-, 60-, 90- and 180-day objectives, so the candidate has a clear understanding what is expected for the job. Be sure to review and update job descriptions regularly, as company needs and expectations for a position are bound to change.

The next step is to define where to recruit candidates or target your recruiting process. Now that you have an idea of what you need and expect for the position, where do you find this treasured person? There are many resources: Referrals, recruiters, ads, college placement centers, .com listings, etc. Of course, referrals are usually one of the best sources for candidates and giving out the job description to business associates and friends may reveal the perfect candidate. When working with recruiters, it is very important to be as specific as possible to avoid your time being wasted with unqualified candidates.
The same is true for ads so that the ad is as definitive as possible. College placement centers are not only good for recruiting college grads, but usually have facilities to list positions that require extensive experience too. They can be especially helpful if they are in close contact with the alumni association.

Resumes, Resumes… Piles of Resumes

Soon in your hiring process, you will be faced with a big pile of resumes. Look for resumes that are specific to your needs and notice the presentation style, which will tell you a great deal about the candidate. It is helpful to decide what the priorities are for the position and look for those first in the resumes. Once you have settled on a few resumes, we suggest the two step approach to interviewing. The first is the telephone interview, which can save you valuable time and effort. Ask the candidate a set of specific questions, such as: Why are you interested in this position? Please describe three key attributes that you have to offer to our company? Give me one significant program that you had an impact on in the last six months? Listen carefully to the candidate to see if the response fits the job description. This process allows the candidate to earn a face-to-face interview.

Interviewing – The Art of Listening

When interviewing in person, it is important to listen and not let emotions take over. The candidate should talk about 80 percent of the interview and the interviewer only 20 percent. The goal for interviewing effectively is to note their thinking patterns, and not get caught up in appearances, impressive schools or companies. During the interview, questions that are more specific are helpful in making successful hiring decisions. Some examples are: What significant impact have they had at three or more companies on their resumes – ask for specifics, percentage of change; Please describe in detail what brought about the change; What was their process, from A to Z? and ask how the magnifycandidate would handle a specific problem that you have seen in the position.

Identifying the Inner Traits of a Candidate & How to Best Manage the Individual

Once a candidate has been selected, then the most difficult part of the hiring process begins – reference checking. Many firms find professional organizations helpful when making background checks. Yet, as the old saying goes, “You never know someone until you work with them, travel with them or live with them”. Through in-depth work style and personality testing, you can reduce the possibility of making a hiring error. An in-depth assessment can identify inner traits of a candidate if the appropriate assessment is selected.

The following are some things to think about when reviewing various work style & personality profiles:

  1. Training or degrees required for interpretation of the data. Weekend training programs can be problematic since testing and human behavior is a very complex subject. When making hiring or internal decisions, organizations need as much information and understanding as possible as the consequences can be very costly.
  2. A copy of the resume should be supplied to the testing company to review when discussing the assessment results. We suggest to make sure that the testing company uses resumes as part of the process when reviewing the assessment on a candidate.
  3. Scale for “Impression Management” to understanding accuracy of results and if someone is trying to ‘fake good’. The questionnaire needs at a minimum of 164 questions to gather enough data for this scale.
  4. Common warning signs: When a representative uses absolute statements when describing human behavior, like ‘People are all the same’ or ‘People don’t change.’ This will convey what their level of understanding of the human personality is. Or when someone claims that their profile is 98 or 99% accurate, which rarely can be clinically supported. If you hear this, ask how the data was collected.
  5. Career Matching: Some organizations claim to know what the perfect “sales person” or “secretary” is from a personality perspective. Ask how many careers and occupations have been studied; is the data base validated by outside organizations or only by “applied in-house studies”. “Ideal” is very difficult to define due to the variance of geography, job history and education. What is most important is if the individual has a similar thought pattern that meets the criteria within the job description.
  6. Number of clinical studies conducted by major universities and there should be multiple studies for validation purposes.
  7. How long has the profile been used – what is the history.
  8. How often is the normative database updated and where is the data coming from. (For example, U.S. Census 1990, 2000)
  9. Cultural bias – is it built into the profile and for which countries.
  10. Does the profile meet U.S. government employment standards? Has it been reviewed for ADA compliance & gender, culture & racial bias?
  11. Reading level required (5th grade English, etc).
  12. Number of profiles administered.
  13. Number of actual primary scales as defined by the “Big 5” testing standards. Many tests will claim to have more scales than they actually have – this can lead to misrepresentation of data.
  14. Does the data provide the depth necessary, to understand how an individual is wired inside?
  15. Validity, reliability and basis.

These are some general questions and if a profile falls short in any one area, we strongly suggest additional research into the accuracy of the data being generated.

Legal Guidelines & Other Important Stuff

A common inquiry from companies and organizations is about the legal guidelines in providing assessments to candidates. Since industries vary, it is always best to check with a trade association or a legal representative. The general rule is that a test or any set of hiring questions needs to be administered to all final candidates in order to assure that discrimination is not taking place. More information may be found at the EEOC website, in the Disability-Related Inquiries and Medical Examinations of Employees section.scale

Another question is how do new hires usually feel about taking an in-depth work style assessment. It shows that a company is serious about who they hire. If the company presents the testing program as a method of assuring both parties that they are making the right decision, the individual usually responds very well. The bottom line is that hopefully turnover is greatly reduced.

An in-depth assessment can be very helpful for personnel development and succession planning. As a hiring tool, they can be used to develop additional questions for interviewing and confirming the interviewer’s intuition that might be overlooked. This process gains more reliable and accurate data in order to effectively manage individuals to make hiring and personnel decisions a win-win for everyone.

If you are a hiring manager and would like to see a sample of an in-depth work style and personality profile or get more information, please contact Dana Borowka at Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC, (310) 453-6556, extension 403 or email at dana@lighthouseconsulting.com.

The key to onboarding is to understand what the individual needs in order to be successful. The information collected from an in-depth work style assessment can be used as a caching and management tool in order to reduce the learning curve and help the individual hit the ground running!

As you have seen, a successful hiring program requires many components that work together to provide the needed information for difficult personnel decisions. Combining a puzzlewell-defined job description, targeted recruiting and focused interviewing with an effective in-depth work style and personality evaluation program, turns hiring into a profitable and rewarding process.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and his organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. They also have a full service consulting division that provides domestic and international interpersonal coaching, executive onboarding, leadership training, global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training, operational productivity improvement, 360s and employee surveys as well as a variety of workshops. Dana has over 25 years of business consulting experience and is a nationally renowned speaker, radio and TV personality on many topics. He provides workshops on hiring, managing for the future, and techniques to improve interpersonal communications that have a proven ROI. He is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

Narrow the Gap in Your Organization Between What We Want and What We Get

By Larry Cassidy – Excerpt from Cracking the Personality Code

[dropcaps type=”circle” color=”” background=””]J[/dropcaps]ack was in his late thirties. He had worked for large companies for fifteen years and finally decided to take what he knew and start his own business. He ran the numbers, talked to friends and advisors, and determined that with hard work he could get by in the first year, and from the second year on, do very well.

music directorIt was the “hard work” that was the problem. Not the actual work: Jack worked 12–14 hour days. The problem was that Jack only had so many hours in a day. He could not get all the work done. So he decided to hire an office assistant to take tasks off his back and free up time to go after the big bucks.

And then Jack hired a few production employees. Then a shop manager. Next a sales person. Then a bookkeeper, and of course, an office manager. As year #2 rolled on, Jack looked up and he had a—a—a company. A real company, with real people. Eight employees, soon ten, not long until twenty or even thirty.

The more employees, the more variety. Of course, Jack wanted different skills to match up with the different challenges faced by the firm. The problem to which Jack awoke at the dawn of year #3 was two-fold: employees who varied from what he wanted in terms of skills and capability; and employees who just didn’t “fit in” (get along with, work well with, or act as team players) with the other employees.

How could Jack have avoided this uneven performance or behavioral mismatch? How do you avoid the same issues? Actually, there is no way to get it right all of the time. These are people we are hiring and with whom we are dealing. However, we can narrow the gap between what we want and what we get, often by a considerable amount. We can do this by a series of thoughtful steps that lead up to the actual hiring:

  1. Define the values and environment that you wish to promote in your firm.bridging the gap
  2. Define the position for which you are hiring, including core skills and related behaviors required for success in the position.
  3. Utilize a capable mechanism to identify and source qualified candidates.
  4. Utilize interview techniques and questions that focus on whether the candidate has performed successfully in the past on comparable challenges.
  5. And—utilize a valid testing instrument to assist in determining appropriate interview questions and to define possible issues to be explored with the candidate.

In the main, this book deals with assessing the candidate and his/her “fit” and, as part of the process, utilizing an evaluative instrument. In other words, Step 5 above. There are several of testing instruments available. Most have value and can provide direction and/or insights you would not experience without such an organized look at the candidate.

book cover design key picThe book will talk about the details related to using a testing instrument in hiring. In creating a lead-in for this discussion, my observations are as follows:

  1. Other than “socializing” reasons (i.e., we tend to like to work with and around other people), we hire others to extend our work footprint. That is code for: we hire others to do work we do not want to do, or do not have time to do, or cannot do as well as the person we hire.
  2. We pay the person we hire “out of our pocket.” In other words, what the business makes is now split between you and whomever you hire. So if you are going to hand over part of the loot, you had better be getting something very good in return.
  3. A good place to start is that the person hired creates more additional loot than you pay the person. The greater the excess, the greater your return on hiring the person (if you buy a machine, you expect a return; why is spending comparable dollars on an employee any different?).
  4. Thus, doing the very best job possible of assessing the candidate is important (even crucial). Can he/she do enough more, or do something better by enough, to create revenue adequate to cover his/her cost plus create an attractive return?

If it were my dollars in play, I would use all types of useful tools in making this assessment. That includes a quality-testing instrument.

I would pick carefully the instrument and, every bit as important, the person administering the instrument and assessing the results. I would discuss with the administrator all aspects of the position and related behaviors.

Finally, I would understand that any instrument is just one input to the hiring process and decision (along with the resume, interviews, discussion among interviewers, references, etc.). The results are to be respected, but not to be held as determinant.

I welcome you to check out this insightful book and to the opportunity to explore using quality testing instruments to improve your hiring results, along with your bottom line.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014

Larry Cassidy is a Senior LCS Consultant and a Chair with Vistage International for the past 27 years. He currently works with some 50 executives every month and has facilitated over 1,300 executive group meetings, and participated in 12,000 face-to-face discussions with chief executives about all aspects of their businesses. He prepared for this journey at Miami University (Ohio) and Northwestern (MBA); as a Marine Corps officer; with public companies (General Mills, Quaker Oats and PepsiCo), private, family and foreign-owned firms; and, in the 1980s as General Manager and CEO of local companies. He does executive coaching and also serves on advisory boards. You can reach Larry at Larry@lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

To order the books, Cracking the Personality Code and Cracking the Business Code, please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

 

Are You Making the Most Out of this Business Time Frame?

By Dana Borowka, MA

[dropcaps type=”circle” color=”” background=””]M[/dropcaps]ost individuals and organizations are very concerned over the short term business outlook. Today is the day to look beyond… to look at the many opportunities and the open horizons that can be in store for you and your organization. This is the time to rally the people that you work with and begin to collaborate and gather ideas in the following areas:

• Improving efficiency
• Marketing and sales
• Opportunities for acquisitions
• Operational processes
• Cost efficient ways to do things differently
• Identify specific traits in people that you’d like to add to your team
• How to better mentor staff members

Those are just a few areas to explore. Looking out into the future you’ll want to take advantage of some of the fresh talent that will be available. However, you’ll need to be very selective as to who you’ll want on your team. Managing down just doesn’t work any longer. Understanding the strengths of an individual will help to promote a positive environment where people will want to share ideas that might not have been considered in the past. This is the time to build a positive reputation so your company is a magnet for attracting top talent.

Thinking Outside of the Boxperson on a box

I was at a restaurant recently and asked to see if an item that I didn’t see on the menu was available or if I had overlooked it on the menu. The restaurant didn’t have the item, but the staff response set me back. The server stated, “Our goal is to think out of the box. To do what we can to please the customer so that positive word of mouth is shared and that will result in more business for us!” Isn’t that what we all want… team members that will think out of the box… positive word of mouth about our business… to increase revenue. What we all need are people like that on our team. So the million dollar question is… how do we get staff members to think along those lines and how can we attract people like that?

What is Driving Your Top People

Learn what is driving your top talent people. If you help them to succeed you’ll create a high level of retention and become a magnet for recruiting. Here are some action items for you to consider:

  1. Use an in-depth work style and personality assessment during the hiring process and for current staff.
  2. Use the data to manage, which in turn will reduce the learning curve for new hires and help to better understand current staff members.
  3. Place individuals in positions that they can succeed in based on their strengths.
  4. Take the time to constantly mentor and create plans to help individuals grow.
  5. Identify traits of individuals that you want in your organization and target those individuals through specific messages in ads, on the web, through networking and association gatherings.

For your A players (your major contributors), play to their strengths and help them grow. Don’t ignore them just because they are doing well. These are the individuals that if they don’t feel engaged in helping the organization to continue to grow and improve, they’ll leave.

For your B players, nurture them through mentoring so they can become A players down the road. For your C players, measure and possibly remove them if they are eating up your time. Never spend 80 percent of your time and energy on the people who are producing 20 percent of your results.

Peel the Onion

But don’t write those C players off too fast. A small hotel chain had reservation reps that were not meeting the volume level that was being required. The manager thought they were just C players and was a very unhappy camper with his team. That person was placed in a different department and a new manager came in who sat down with each individual and then with the group. She discovered that 24 hours before a guest was going to arrive at the hotel property that a high percentage were calling in to verify the reservation and to get directions. This used up valuable call time, so as a team they brainstormed together and came up with a brilliant idea. Since the reps were asking for email addresses why not send an email confirmation 24-48 hours prior with a fun page welcoming the individuals and include links for weather and directions.

Guess what happened? Calls were reduced and the reps were able to take more calls for new reservations with less hold time. All because the manager took the time to ask questions to peel the onion back to identify the underlying issue. When the reps were asked why this topic hadn’t been addressed in the past they simply responded, “No one asked and we never thought of it”.

Set Your Sights on the Future

Make the most out of this business time frame by helping others in your team to be successful, build a positive reputation, ask your team for ideas and contribute to the well being of sunrisethe entire organization, train staff to mentor others and be on the look out for adding fresh talent to your team! Remember, it is important to be precise in what you are looking for and do a thorough job interview by asking probing questions, doing reference and background checks and utilizing an in-depth work style and personality assessment.

This is the time to set your sights on the future, deal with the present by supporting your team and ask for input. Set your organization on a course for long term success by using proactive and collaborative mentoring, management and vision. We’d love to hear about your successes.

 

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014 

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and his organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. They also have a full service consulting division that provides domestic and international interpersonal coaching, executive onboarding, leadership training, global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training, operational productivity improvement, 360s and employee surveys as well as a variety of workshops. Dana has over 25 years of business consulting experience and is a nationally renowned speaker, radio and TV personality on many topics. He provides workshops on hiring, managing for the future, and techniques to improve interpersonal communications that have a proven ROI. He is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

Raising the Hiring, Productivity and Retention Bar by using In-depth Work Style & Personality Assessment Tools

By Dana Borowka, MA

The wrong hiring decision can cost your company well over two to three times the individual’s salary according to Vistage International speaker, Barry Deutsch. This figure may be a conservative estimate because of factors like training, evaluation, termination, re-initiating the hiring process, and lost opportunity costs. There is also an emotional factor involved in a bad hire situation. Not only can it cause stress and anxiety for both management and employees, but it also takes brain on crane to headaway focus from your company’s primary goals. Essentially, a bad hire can have a negative impact on your company’s bottom line and that won’t benefit you or your workforce.

These circumstances can be minimized during the initial hiring process by using several techniques including effective recruitment programs, skilled interviewing and in-depth work style and personality assessment tests. An in-depth assessment is a highly effective tool and an efficient use of company resources at this crucial point of the decision making process.

This article focuses on in-depth assessment tests and how your company can benefit from them during the interview process, before a potential new hire turns into the wrong decision. An in-depth profile, in conjunction with a thorough interview process and good background check, can reduce the possibility of a hiring error. It also can provide your company with quantifiable information on a candidate’s specific strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, an assessment will offer objective, expert guidance on how best to manage and place that individual within your organization.

Personality Assessment Testing – A Standard in Recruiting

In-depth work style and personality assessments are a standard recruiting practice for many branches of the government and military, as well as many Fortune 500 companies when assessing potential hires for key or critical positions. They are used to reduce employee turnover and improve department effectiveness. Correctly interpreted, professionals can help guide your organization on how to best manage, communicate and train new hires and staff members.

As with any business decision, having the right information is critical. Work style and personality assessment testing can provide insight into potential hires, as well as your current workforce, in several ways:

  1. Identify potential red flags: An in-depth work style and personality assessment can discover issues that are sometimes overlooked during the interviewing process and can quantify an intuition or feeling the interviewer may have about a particular candidate. It can be used to identify potential red flags concerning behavioral issues, help understand how to manage individuals for greater work performance and compare interpersonal dynamics of teams, departments and candidates.
  2. Learn how to optimize employees’ work performance: An in-depth assessment can provide extensive information on an individual’s ability to work with their job responsibilities, team dynamics and company culture. Additionally, the assessment can show effective strategies to gain optimal performance from that individual within their particular work environment. It can also be employed to quickly identify the most effective management style for a new employee or predict how team members are likely to interact.
  3. Ensure you have the right people in the right positions: Additionally, personality assessments can be utilized in rehires, or situations which call for employees to re-apply for their current jobs, as in the case of a corporate merger or restructuring. A personality assessment test can also ensure that your company continues to have the right people in the right positions and distribute assets & talents effectively.

Which Assessment Tool Should My Organization Use?

The following are some things to think about when reviewing various work style & personality profiles:woman holding questionmark

  1. Training or degrees of those who are providing the debrief/interpretation of the data.
  2. A copy of the resume and job description should be supplied to the testing company.
  3. Scale for “Impression Management”
  4. What is the history of the profile?
  5. Cultural bias
  6. Does the profile meet U.S. government employment standards? Has it been reviewed for ADA compliance & gender, culture & racial bias?
  7. Reading level required (5th grade English, etc.)
  8. Number of actual scales (minimum of 12+ primary scales – 16 is optimal)
  9. Does the data provide an understanding on how an individual is wired?

These are some general questions and if a profile falls short in any one area, we strongly suggest additional research into the accuracy of the data being generated.

Frequently Asked Questions

A frequent question from companies and organizations concerns the legal guidelines in administering assessments to potential employees. Industry regulations can vary and the best option is to consult with your company’s trade association or legal department. As a general rule, if your company uses an assessment, any test or set of hiring questions must be administered to all of the final candidates in order to assure that discrimination is not present. Additional information can be found online at the EEOC website, in the Disability-Related Inquiries and Medical Examinations of Employees section: http://www.eeoc.gov/docs/guidance-inquiries.html.

An additional question concerns how a new hire may feel about taking an in-depth personality and work style assessment. There is a certain amount of “test anxiety” that can be common. However, the test demonstrates that your company is serious about who they hire. If your company explains that the goal of the assessment is to reduce turnover and is only one of several factors involved in the hiring decision, the individual usually responds very well. In many cases, the candidate may accept a position from the organization they perceive to be more thoughtful during the hiring process.

Conclusion

An in-depth assessment is only one component needed for a successful recruitment and hiring program. It can provide valuable information for critical personnel decisions. Combined with an effective recruitment program and skilled interview techniques, it can benefit your company as a whole, in addition to your individual employees. Armed with accurate and man with magnify glassquantifiable data from an in-depth personality assessment, the interview process becomes much more reliable. Ultimately, this only adds to your organization’s bottom line, allowing more effective management of your existing workforce and limiting the potential for wrong hiring decisions. For more information, please call (310) 453-6556, ext. 403 or email us at dana@lighthouseconsulting.com.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and his organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management. Dana has over 25 years of business consulting experience and is a nationally renowned speaker, radio and TV personality on many topics.  He is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management.

Having Problems Finding Qualified Candidates?

By Dana Borowka, MA

[dropcaps type=”circle” color=”” background=””]W[/dropcaps]elcome to the 21st Century!  We are hearing from many of our clients, both domestically and globally, that it is getting to be more and more difficult to find qualified candidates. A number of years ago while attending the Milken Global Conference, one of the speakers projected this very issue and man watching on boat bowcommented that it would likely get worse. With so much unemployment, that didn’t seem to make sense, but that is what we are starting to see right now.

According to Barry Deutsch of Impact Hiring Solutions a number of factors are causing this situation:

“Fewer top talent candidates are using job boards to respond to job advertisements, which are the primary method by which companies use to attract candidates. Increasing top talent is turned off and disgusted by the traditional approach of a posted job description masquerading as an job ad. Many companies are recognizing the importance and impact of top talent, are doing everything within their power to motivate, empower, engage, and stimulate their best performers. Finding and attracting these “game changers” requires a completely different approach to sourcing and recruiting. If you desire to attract better performers, you’ve got to have a hiring process designed for top talent. Great performers respond to compelling marketing-oriented ad copy, they get excited to learn about the challenges and obstacles in their new job, and they want to know they’ll have a significant impact on the success of your company, department, or team. A process lacking the ability to communicate and discuss these issues in-depth results in hiring average and mediocre candidates.”

A New Perspective

Many companies are realizing that they are going to need to look from within and identify potential talent that they can nurture. Albert Einstein provides some insight as to what an organization needs to do when looking at future talent: “The significant problems we have today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them”. Talent acquisition will need to be reviewed through a new set of eyes and ears. The following is an exercise that you can use to begin this process.

Pick three A, B and C players that are currently in your organization and list out their key characteristics:

[ws_table id=”19″]

Exploring Different Avenues

Take a close look at the characteristics and look for commonalities. In order to attract those individuals, you will need to market, brand, network and reach out to those that reflect what you want. A few questions to ask:

  1. Why are those individuals staying with our organization?man at crossroads
  2. What attracted them in the first place?
  3. Have they grown from within and what helped them to get to the next level?
  4. Why would they leave?

In order to begin to develop a coaching plan, you can consider what would it take to help a C Player to become a C+ Player or a B Player to become a B+ Player, etc. To design a retention and succession plan, you’ll need to know your people by understanding why they are with you, why they stay, where they want to go and then manage to all three areas. It is vital to know the strengths and weaknesses and to help them to fulfill their vision.

Some Tools To Cultivate Your Future Team Players:

  1. Define who you’d like onboard – look at the characteristics that you want in your organization.
  2. Define expectations by creating a 30-60-90-180 day expectation list (3-6 items under each timeline).
  3. Develop a PR and advertising plan around what you want to attract.
  4. Interview to those standards.
  5. Manage to the individual’s vision and help them to succeed based on their strengths and weaknesses.

A Perceptive Tool

In-depth work style and personality assessments can reveal deep insight into new hires and mentoring current team members. Assessments can help in:people holding up symbols

  1. Gaining insights into strengths and weaknesses of candidates and staff.
  2. Providing probing interview questions that might be overlooked.
  3. Identifying potential red flags for human behavioral issues during the hiring process.
  4. Reducing the learning curve for understanding how to manage individuals for greater work performance.
  5. Comparing the dynamics of teams, departments and candidates.

One of the best ways to learn how to use an in-depth work style assessment as part of the hiring, mentoring and managing process is to take a few minutes to listen to our podcast interviews at the following links:

“How to Lose your Most Valuable Resources” – This interview is about keeping employees engaged, respecting them for their talents and allowing them to contribute and participate in the growth of the company. Please click on the link below or copy and paste the link into your internet browser address bar. It will start Media or Quicktime Player and play the interview for you.
http://www.lighthouseconsulting.com/Radio/Vistage-HiringRecruitingandRetention.mp3

“Putting In-depth Work Style & Personality Assessments to Work” – This interview is about utilizing in-depth work style and personality assessments in the hiring process. Please click on the link below or copy and paste the link into your internet browser address bar.
It will start Media or Quicktime Player and play the interview for you.
http://www.lighthouseconsulting.com/Radio/2005-11-07.mp3

If you would like to learn more about in-depth work style assessments, please contact us at dana@lighthouseconsulting.com or (310) 453-6556, ext. 403.

Final Thoughts

Finally, hiring the right people is key to future growth. If you would like additional information on raising the hiring bar, please click here to see an article on this subject.  By using these tools and exploring the characteristics and needs of your top performers, you can then design an effective plan to finding and cultivating qualified candidates.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and his organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. They also have a full service consulting division that provides domestic and international interpersonal coaching, executive onboarding, leadership training, global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training, operational productivity improvement, 360s and employee surveys as well as a variety of workshops. Dana has over 25 years of business consulting experience and is a nationally renowned speaker, radio and TV personality on many topics. He provides workshops on hiring, managing for the future, and techniques to improve interpersonal communications that have a proven ROI. He is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

Things to Consider for Operational Excellence

By Ted Margison – Excerpt from the book, Cracking the Business Code

[dropcaps type=”circle” color=”” background=””]T[/dropcaps]his section was going to be “8 Things to Consider for Operational Excellence”. The good news for you: there are only two things to consider.
bizbuilding1

Better Visibility Provides Better Results

A supplier of protective gear was struggling to meet demands. “We have tried everything over the past couple of years but nothing works. Our turns are less than 1 and we still can’t fill demand. We’ve been selling size 10 and 11 boots the last couple of years and now a customer needs size 13. No matter what we stock, it doesn’t seem to be the right thing; it’s like a guessing game.”

While I was in the General Manager’s office, he received a very angry call from the CEO of a very large customer. Without proper protective gear workers could not work – the downtime on one of their lines cost them about $100,000 per day.

biz in hourglassObviously, the current decision-making processes were not effective; something was missing. We mapped the decision-making processes to find the “blind spots”. These are decision points that are not fully understood or assumptions have been made about them. The blind spots in this case were the decision-making processes of customers. In particular, what drives demand.

We interviewed the top 20 customers and found that demand was driven by two things: replacement of worn-out items and new hires. For replacement we realized that we could predict product life-expectancy based on job position and work environment characteristics. We proposed to the customers that we would gather and consolidate data across customers on job positions and work environment characteristics to predict life-expectancy and then automatically reach out to replace the items. For example, if a product had a life-expectancy of 36 months for workers in a particular department, we would do an inspection at 30 months and replace the item before it wore out. “New hire” demand was primarily “large scale” – new plants being opened, new mining projects. We identified a simple way of inserting ourselves in the hiring process to identify the best-fit product based on job position and work environment characteristics.

The customers were so excited about the recommendations that five of them offered, each, to pay half the cost of any system effort. Some offered the opportunity to bid on business that was going to competitors, while others simply switched their business from a competitor. As one customer said “We no longer have to worry about these decisions – you are making them for us. The cost of these products is far less than the cost of downtime; why would we talk to anyone else.”

Another company was about to make a strategic decision that would have serious operational impact. “We need to move to same-day shipping to get a competitive edge. Our customers buy when something breaks so we have to be able to respond quickly”, said the Sales Manager. The company had recently moved from 5-day turnaround on orders to 2 days and inventory had climbed to the point where turns hovered around 1.2. Moving to same-day shipping was going to be a major challenge.

In order to better understand the buying process for customers we interviewed the top 20 customers. Surprise: All could give at least three months notice on demand; one could give 12 months.

“Why do you give us only 2 days notice”, the CEO asked.

“Because that’s the lead time you gave Purchasing.”

We found some quick and easy ways to get this advance notice and in just a couple of months we were buying ‘to-order’ for these customers. We also approached supplier offering the advance notice. The VP Operations for the largest supplier (a company whose typical customer was 40 times our size) said “If you give us this advance notice you can order anything man jumping bldgyou want up to end of the day on Friday and it will be on the truck Monday morning.”

In less than a year inventory turns reached 7.3. Shortly afterward, the company went on to acquire a larger company.

To get better visibility you need to go beyond your operations to include customers, business partners, suppliers and other external organizations. Start with processes that are key to achieving your business goals. Map your current processes (goes as far upstream and downstream as possible):

• Identify decision points

• Find the ‘blind spots’ for decision-making

  1. Who makes the decisions?
  2. What drives their decision-making? 

— Triggers?
— What are they measured on (what’s a win for them)? 
— Are they ‘driven’ by others in their org (interview those people)?

Accountability

For internal operations this is probably the single biggest problem for companies. Almost every company feels they have a good handle on accountability – unfortunately, they are usually wrong. When things aren’t performing effectively it’s usually because no one is accountable for the performance.

A manufacturing company was looking at getting a new ERP system. The CEO had heard horror stories from various customers and was concerned about implementation.  

“What kinds of things go wrong during an implementation?” asked the CEO.

“Well, a major problem in many companies is that accountability is not well defined.”

“Oh, that’s not a problem here. We’re a very lean organization and everyone understands what they’re accountable for,” replied the CEO. “But, just out of interest, can you give me an example?”

“Well, although it might not apply here, companies that have problems with inventory often find that no one is responsible for inventory accuracy.”

“That’s not an issue for us. Dave, tell him who’s accountable for inventory accuracy.” said the CEO, nodding to his COO.

“No one,” replied the COO. “Maybe that’s why we have a $14 million inventory discrepancy.”

Effective accountability covers ownership, span of control, performance measurements and your reward/ recognition system.

 

Ted Margison is a Senior LCS Consultant and has over 30 years experience in operations management and process improvement. Ted worked for Ernst & Young in their manufacturing & distribution practice and then headed up one of PriceWaterhouse’s manufacturing & distribution practices on the west coast. You can contact Ted at ted@lighthouseconsulting.com or call him at 310-453-6556, ext. 422.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014
If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.
To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code” please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Identifying Sales and Marketing People Who Flourish in Today’s Environment

By Dana Borowka, MA

[dropcaps type=”circle” color=”” background=””]N[/dropcaps]ot all sales and marketing people are created equal. In a challenging economy, you want to hire people who are creative, image001innovative and can get results despite the roadblocks. After all, today is a new day with new opportunities for those that are open to them. To improve hiring decisions, many companies have found out how to crack the personality code by using robust in-depth work style personality testing. Work style assessments are a standard recruiting practice for many branches of the government and military, as well as many Fortune 500 companies when assessing potential hires for key or critical positions.

Our research for our book, Cracking the Personality Code, reveals that this is not guesswork or an untested science. Here are eight proven ways to use in-depth work style personality testing to hire the right sales and marketing people who are willing to fight for market share.

1. Compare Their Resume Against Your Job Description

Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Surprising how easy it is to blow right past this step in the hiring process. Past experience alone is not what you are looking for when you review the resume. You are looking at how well they performed, what were their successes, and how adaptable they might be to the job that needs to be done for your organization. Experience is nice, but it is results that really count.

2. Assess Their Problem-Solving Resources

Is this person a problem solver? If so, what kind of problem solver? Each of us has unique problem-solving resources on which we rely. You will want to determine what the person’s strengths are when it comes to problem solving. What are the usual approaches this person will use to resolve these problems?

3. Determine Their Patterns For Coping With Stress

Stress is a force that tends to distort the body, a factor that induces bodily or mental tension, or an automatic physical reaction to a danger or demand in the environment. As one physician stated, “Stress is any demand, either internal, external or both, that causes us to mentally and physically readjust in order to maintain a sense of balance within our life.”

Without a doubt, stress is a fact of life in today’s work world. So determining a candidate’s or employee’s ability to cope with stress is critical for a manager.

4. Examine Their Interpersonal Interaction Styles

Breakdowns in communication are never good for an organization. So take a good look at the individual’s style for relating and communicating with others. How do they usually react in dealing with others? What is their comfort level in interacting and personal connection with others? Personality assessments can tell you the person’s major sources of gratification and satisfaction when building relationships with each other.

This is the time to identify potential red flags. A personality assessment can discover issues that are sometimes overlooked during the traditional interviewing process and can quantifybizman opening door a hunch or feeling the interviewer may have about a particular candidate. Knowing interpersonal interaction styles can also help understand how to manage individuals for greater work performance. A comparison of the interpersonal dynamics of teams, departments, employees and candidates is well worth the effort.

5. Analyze Career Activity Interests

Certain personality tests help you gain information which may either support the person’s present career choices or assist them to explore, consider and plan for another career direction. This is not to say you will be recommending another career choice to someone you are considering hiring or currently managing. Rather, you are using this information to determine fit. All organizations want to ensure that they have the right people in the right positions and effectively distribute these human assets and talents.

6. Assess How They Respond To Tests

You should also use tests with scales for what is known as “impression management.” This is necessary in order to understand the accuracy of results and whether someone is trying to “fake good” or misrepresent themselves. A critical element in predicting a potential candidate’s success is measuring real personality and style in an interview. An in-depth work style and personality assessment presents a fairly accurate picture of a candidate’s personality, work style and fit within a company’s culture.

If a profile does not have an impression management scale, then it is difficult to tell how accurate the data is. A profile needs to have at least 165 questions in order to gather enough data for this scale.

7. Chronicle Strengths & Weakness Ledger

Benjamin Franklin reportedly had a decision-making process when he was faced with important challenges. Franklin divided a sheet of paper into two columns, and on the left side listed the reasons for doing something and on the right side the reasons against. Much like a bank ledger with credits and debits, this simple tool greatly aided the analysis of information. Often a quick scan of the two lists gave him the information he needed to make the right choice.

We recommend you do the same for the personality of a job candidate or an employee under your supervision. Like a bank ledger, every credit should have a corresponding debit. That is because for every strength a person possesses there is a corresponding weakness. Being assertive is a strength; however, that personality can be too assertive and off putting for some people they deal with.

8. Create Personality Probing Interview Questions

So, what have you learned about the job candidate so far through personality assessments? What remains to learn? To find out, developinterview questions that probe facets of the personality you need more details on

pen on bookForget those old standby questions like, ‘Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses’. Instead, let’s say you wanted to determine how they cope with stress. You might ask the candidate to give an example of when they made a terrible mistake and how they handled it. Ask them how they think others perceive them when they are under stress. For making a mistake, did they blame others or take responsibility for the outcome? Listen for their process. Do they ask for help? Watch body language and tone of voice to see how much insecurity the candidate expresses at the idea of making a mistake or having stress..

As consultants trained in psychology, this is something we help our clients create for new candidates. To help you create questions, here are some preliminary interview questions for a candidate. Naturally, these are not meant to be questions to ask all candidates, but are indicative of the types of questions you might ask:

What process do you think helps you to learn? Give an example of how you learn a very complex system or skill and what your process was?

How would you handle a situation that brought up many different changes? How do you like to see change take place? Give an example when change was implemented and it just didn’t work out.

Have you ever worked with individuals who are abstract thinkers? How did you deal with that kind of thought process?

Give an example of when you have had to make an exception to the guidelines or rules. How have you handled that?

What was the most challenging sales situation you have ever faced and won? Give an example of when you lost a sale and what you could have done differently.

Whew, seems like a lot to worry about. As with any business decision, having and organizing the right information is critical. Work style and personality assessment testing can key in door lockprovide insight into potential hires, as well as the current workforce. The trick is to gather the information and then look at it in an organized fashion.

 

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If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”, please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.