The Worst Hire You’ll Ever Make!

A crazy thing happens almost every day in professional sports, and it’s the one thing that separates great teams from the pack. Talent selection will make or break a team’s success and in professional sports, it’s about getting the right talent for the right price.

The problem with most professional sports teams, regardless of the sport, is they continually try to improve their roster incrementally. “Oh, let’s pick up Pitcher A because he’s a little better than Pitcher B”.

Great Pitcher A is better than Pitcher B, but did Pitcher A truly solve the issue you have?

That’s the real issue!

The worst hire you can ever make is one that doesn’t solve your problem but just make it a little better. “We suck at sales, let’s hire Tim, he’s not great, but he’s better than Bob.” Wonderful, now you only slightly suck less at sales!

Never make a hire that doesn’t solve your problem completely that you are having in that specific position. Upgrading doesn’t always fix problems, and many times it actually continues your main problem longer instead of fixing it completely.

We have this belief that all we need to do is continue to get a little better each day, each week, each month until we eventually have fixed it. The problem is that this isn’t how most problems are actually solved, by getting a little bit better over time. Most problems are fixed by implementing one solution that solves the problem.

It’s basically this crappy failure paradox we continue to get sold by seemingly everyone with a platform. “Just keep failing and eventually you’ll find success!” Which is complete and utter bullshit, but we LOVE hearing this!

In hiring, you can’t keep failing and find success. You will actually find failure even faster and be out of business. In hiring, it’s critical you find success and hire the right people who will solve your problem the first time, not just make you a little better.

Another great example of this is in the NFL. It’s critical in the NFL that you have a great quarterback, but they’re extremely hard to find. So, if you don’t have an elite quarterback, most teams will continue to try and upgrade with average quarterbacks.

The better advice is to work with what you have and make it the best you can until you get the opportunity to hire, or draft, that one great quarterback that can truly change your franchise. Constant change and churn, just to get a little better, is slowly killing your organization.

Make great hires. Organizational change hires. Individuals who have the ability to make things right. Too often, and we’ve all been there, we make hires that feel safe, knowing they won’t hurt us, but they probably won’t help us much either. Those are the worst hires you can make.

The Weekly Dose: @VaultPlatform – Workplace Misconduct Reporting Tech

Today on the Weekly Dose I take a look at a timely technology in a world of #MeToo #BLM #Covid-19! Vault Platform helps organizations resolve workplace misconduct including that related to Me Too, Black Lives Matter, COVID-19, and all other workplace issues with a safe speak-up app for reporting incidents.

Let’s be clear to start, this isn’t your parent’s workplace 1-800 hotline, where you called some third-party company that would listen to your story, filter it, and then pass it along to HR, who then call you in. Vault is a technology, mobile-first, platform that allows employees to report any type of workplace harassment, fraud, corruption, racism, etc., and document their experience. Then, when they feel the time is right, they can actually send this forward to be responded to.

Each time an employee reports it is dated and time-stamped and the employee has access to their actual record the entire time. Once an employee decides to move forward it gets sent to the appropriate parties within the organization to resolve the issue.

What I like about Vault:

– “Go Together” – when talking about things like sexual harassment and racism, many times an employee does not feel comfortable reporting on their own, but they also don’t trust others when they say they’ll also report. Vault’s “Go Together” allows an employee to report, but only move it forward once another employee reports the same or similar behavior, so they are not making these accusations on their own. It’s really a brilliant idea!

– Vault dashboard works as a case management dashboard so HR, legal, D&I, etc. can check and track that reports are being resolved and how they are being resolved. It allows executives to instant insight access to the real problems that are going on in their organization, unfiltered, right from their employees.

– It allows employees to communicate in a way that is most comfortable to them, mobile messaging, not a phone call talking to a stranger.

– Employees can record for as long as they want without reporting and always have access to their own words, an organization can not delete or edit the employee’s own records. Many times something happens to an employee but they aren’t sure if it’s actually harassment, but as they see a pattern of behavior begin to happen, it becomes clear. Keeping these records makes it easy for the employee to give proof of how long and how much this is happening.

Right now every single organization on the planet is concerned with the experiences their employees are having. Me Too, BLM, COVID, etc. have shown us that our employees are having very drastic differences in their experiences, and we need to give our employees access and the ability to share these with us quickly and easily if we want to truly make changes and improve their experiences.

I first saw Vault at the HR Technology Conference right after Me Too and I liked it. With the additional social and health issues today, it’s even a more relevant technology. Vault Platform happens to be the perfect workplace technology at the perfect time. I highly recommend you take a look and a demo.

Are You Struggling to Find Happiness at Work?

In 1942 Viktor Frankl, a prominent Jewish psychiatrist, was taken to a Nazi concentration camp with his wife and parents.  Three years later, when his camp was liberated, his pregnant wife and parents had already been killed by the Nazis. He survived and in 1946 went on to write the book, “Man’s Search For Meaning“.  In this great book, Frankl writes:

“It is the very pursuit of happiness that thwarts happiness.”

What Frankl knew was that you can’t make happiness out of something outside yourself.  Riding the Waverunner doesn’t make you happy. You decide to be happy while doing that activity, but you could as easily decide to be angry or sad while doing this activity (although Daniel Tosh would disagree!).  Frankl also wrote in Man’s Search for Meaning, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing, the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

I get asked frequently by HR Pros about how they can make their employees or workplace happier.  I want to tell them about Frankl’s research and what he learned in the concentration camps.  I want to tell them that you can’t make your employees happy.  They have to decide they want to be happy, first. But, I don’t, people don’t want to hear the truth.

Coming up with ‘things’ isn’t going to make your employees happy. You might provide free lunch, which some will really like, but it also might make someone struggling with their weight, very depressed.  You might give extra time off and most of your employees will love it, but those who define themselves by their work will find this a burden.

Ultimately, I think people tend to swing a certain way on the emotional scale.  Some are usually happier than others.  Some relish in being angry or depressed, it’s their comfort zone.  They don’t know how to be any other way.  Instead of working to ‘make’ people happy, spend your time selecting happy people to come work for you.

In the middle of a concentration camp, the most horrific experiences imaginable, Frankl witnessed people who made the decision to be happy. Maybe they were happy to have one more day on earth. Maybe they were happy because, like Frankl, they discovered that the Nazis could take everything from them except their mind.

Provide the best work environment that you can.  Continue to try and make it better with the resources you have.  Give meaning to the work and the things you do.  Every organization has this, no matter what you do at your company.  Don’t pursue happiness, it’s a fleeting emotion that is impossible to maintain.  Pursue being the best organization you can be.  It doesn’t mean you have to be someone you’re not.  Just be ‘you’, and find others that like ‘you.’

Random Rules of Leadership

Leadershipping is hard. You try as you might to do and say the right thing, to the right person, at the right time, and sometimes it works, and sometimes it fails miserably. That’s life. Mostly we try to be the best version of ourselves, and not f*ck up to bad!

We love rules. Rules are safe. If you follow them, mostly things work out. If you break them, mostly things don’t work out as well, but every so often, you’ll be just fine. I think the trick to breaking a rule and having things work out is if you still follow your moral compass when determining which rules you’ll break and which ones you won’t.

As a leader, we are both rule-maker and rule-follower. In my time as a leader here are some rules of leadership that I try to follow:

– Never expect an employee to care as much about the department/function/company and the job as you do, but if they do, show that respect.

– Starting a new project is awesome and the feeling is great, but surround yourself with finishers because that’s what really matters.

– No one wants to hear what’s wrong, they want to hear what’s your plan to fix it. Any idiot can tell you what’s wrong.

– Always be prepared for your largest customer to kick you to the curb. It likely won’t happen, but when it does you won’t panic and your team needs that more than anything at that moment.

– You’ll never fully get the full truth from someone who relies on you to get their check. It will be washed and wrapped, and that feedback will be as kind as possible. Unless they already have one foot out the door.

– Keep your expenses low. I don’t need a fourth kind of Kabucha in the office, but I do need that extra salesperson.

– You never have to talk every person in the room into your idea, just the person with the most influence. Before you open your mouth, understand who that person is.

– If “average” is the ceiling of someone working for you, you can live without them on your team.

– Don’t be concerned with overpaying for expert advice that you trust and count on.

– Ship it. You will never really perfect an idea or a project. Put it out in the wild and see what happens, then adjust. Too often we hold stuff until it’s too late because we don’t think it’s ready.

– It’s not your job to make someone who works for you happy. It is your job to help them make a happiness decision. Either they are mostly happy working in the job they have, or they need to go find out where they can be happy.

– Your job isn’t to be the best at whatever function to lead, it’s to put the best team together that will be the best at that function. Great leaders do two things exceptionally well. They recruit great talent onto their teams, and they knock down roadblocks to great performance.

Okay, share your favorite leadership rule in the comments below!

 

You’re not fired, you’re uninvited!

I’m not terminating anyone ever again.

I can’t terminate anyone, because I don’t hire anyone.  I do invite people to join me.  Join me on this journey, on this path. It’s going to be a great trip.  I invite them to be a part of my family.  Not my ‘work’ family, but my actual family.  I spend more time with my co-workers than I do with my wife and children (in terms of waking hours).  So, when I invite someone to join us, it is not something I take lightly.

That’s why, from now on, I’m not terminating anyone.  From now on, I’m just uninviting them to continue being a part of what we have going on.  Just like a party.  You were invited to attend, but you end up drinking too much and making a fool out of yourself, so now you’re uninvited. You can’t attend the next party.  I don’t know about you, but when I throw a party, I never (and I mean never) invite someone I can’t stand.  Sometimes a couple has issues with this, where one spouse wants to invite his or her friend, but their spouse is a complete tool and it causes issues.

Not in my family, we only invite those people we want to be around, life is too short.

Here’s the deal.  When you invited someone into your family, you usually end up falling in love with them.  It’s that way in business. It’s the main reason we have such a hard time firing on bad performers.  We fall in love with those people we hire.  “Oh, Mary, she’s such a nice person!”  But, Mary, can’t tie her shoes and chew gum at the same time.  So, we give Mary chances, too many chances, and pretty soon Mary is part of the family.  It’s really hard terminating part of the family.

I would rather just not invite Mary to attend work any longer.  “Hey, Mary, we love you, but look, we aren’t going to invite you to work.  We’ll still see you at 5 pm over at the bar for drinks.”  Sounds so much easier, right!?  It happens all the time.  I use to get invited to stuff, but somewhere down the road, the group stopped inviting me.  I might have been a little upset over it, but it didn’t last and I’m still friends with everyone.  Termination is so permanent, it’s like death.

Being uninvited sends the same message, but there’s a part of being uninvited that says “you know what, maybe it was you, maybe it was us, but let’s just face it, together it doesn’t work.”

You’re Uninvited.

Did Your Organization Buy Its Way Out of the #BLM Conversation?

In the wake of the George Floyd killing many of the world’s largest technology companies in the world responded, with their checkbooks. Only one came out, Reddit, and said we will be replacing a white dude on our board, their co-founder, with a person of color.

The amounts of money are impressive, and don’t get me wrong it will definitely take money and resources to change the racial culture that has built over hundreds of years, but the cynic in me believes most of these organizations wrote checks so we wouldn’t take a closer look at their own hiring issues!

  • AIRBNB – $500,000 to NAACP and Black Lives Matter Foundation
  • Google – $12 million to organizations fighting racial inequalities
  • YouTube – $1 million to Center for Policy Equity
  • Amazon – $10 million to ACLU, NAACP, UNCF, etc.
  • Apple – Matching employee contributions to organizations fighting racial injustice
  • Cisco – $5 million to Equal Justice Initiative, Black Lives Matter, and “our own fund for Fighting Racism and Discrimination.”
  • Comcast – $100 million over ten years to fight racial injustice, 1/4 of that in free media
  • Facebook – $10 million to groups working on racial justice
  • Microsoft – $1.5 million to Black Lives Matters Foundation, NAACP, etc.
  • Netflix – $1 million to the Center for Policing Equity
  • Reddit – Co-Founder resigned from the companies board and requested he be replaced with a person of color on the board.
  • Twitter – $3 million to Know Your Rights Foundation
  • Uber – $1 million to Center for Policy Equity

Technology companies aren’t the only organizations buying their way out of this conversation, or even taking advantage of the climate. Nike within days of the Floyd killing released a powerful commercial titled “Just Don’t Do It” it was watched tens of millions of times and shared all over social media as an example of how corporations should respond.

Nike has 8% of people of color in leadership roles. This coming from an organization that makes billions of dollars a year off the backs of black athletes. Thanks for the commercial, how about a public statement of how many POC you’ll hire in leadership positions before the end of 2020?

Here’s the reality.

The money tech companies are giving is nothing. NOTHING! They blow more than this on their annual spending of Kombucha on their plush campuses. These donations are hush money. “Hey, how much do you need not to talk about how crappy we are at actually attracting and hiring POC?”

Here’s what I know. If technology companies, or any major Fortune 100 company, truly wanted to solve this problem over the past decade it would have been done. Let’s say Google decided we want 1/3 of our software developers, or IT team in general to be POC.

Ten years ago they go out to every junior high and middle school in the U.S. They identify black children who have a propensity for being interested in STEM. They send these children to the best STEM high schools, hell, maybe they even make their own high schools in certain cities!

As these kids graduate high school, Google then pays for these kids to go to the best colleges and study stem. They give them annual summer internships at Google, and then once they graduate they hire them. The problem of “we can’t find POC to hire that have the skills we need” is now solved.

What would that cost? $1 billion? $10 billion? What about Amazon? Jeff Bezos and Amazon made $150 billion during the last 3 months of the pandemic! Bill Gates is spending most of his fortune, multi-billions, to end malaria, doesn’t Microsoft need better representation within their organization?

If organizations wanted to solve this issue, it would have been solved. If the government wanted to solve this issue it would have been solved. There is a simple economic solution to ensuring our organizations have proper representation at all levels.

I’m not saying that the donations supporting equity justice initiatives are not important. They are very important, but that can’t be all that is done.

Ugh! Being an Inclusive Employer is a Lot of Work!

It seems like being an ‘inclusive’ employer would be super easy! You just accept everyone! Can’t we all just get along!?

The reality is, being an inclusive employer is hard, because being inclusive isn’t about accepting everyone. What!? Oh, great, Tim has finally lost his mind, buckle-up!

I wrote a post about Jeff Bezos’s annual letter and how he lays out a great framework for how organizations and leaders should management performance. Many people liked the post, but there was also a strong reaction from a lot of people who hate Amazon’s culture.

They hear and read media accounts of Amazon being a bad place to work. About Amazon’s hard-charging, work a ton of hours, you don’t have a great work-life balance, etc. Some people go to work for Amazon and tell themselves during the interview process that “yeah, I’ve heard the stories, but I’m different, I want this, I want to be a part of a giant brand like Amazon, I can handle it because it’s a great step in my career.”

That’s when they find out they actually lack self-insight and they should never listen to their inner voice because it lies to them!

So, what does this have to do with ‘inclusion’?

If you truly believe in inclusion, you then believe that Amazon is a great place to work, for those who desire that type of culture. It might not be a culture you would ever choose to work. Amazon actually likes the people that self-select out! It makes their job easier because they don’t want you anyway!

If you stand up and shout Amazon is an awful employer, you don’t understand inclusion. No one forces you to got to work at Amazon, and Amazon does not hide who they are. In fact, Amazon might actually be the best company on the planet to show exactly who they are as an employer and what you’re signing up for if you decide to go to work there.

Amazon is giant and the vast majority of its employees love working for them. Those employees thrive in that environment. It’s what they were looking for. It’s how they are wired. If you put them into another what you might consider, ’employee-friendly’ environment, they would hate it and fail.

Inclusion is hard because it forces you to think in a way that theoretically every environment is potentially a good fit for the right person. We struggle because in our minds something that is opposite of what we want must be bad. Because it’s so hard for us to even consider someone else might actually love an environment we hate.

Being an ‘inclusive’ employer is about accepting all types of people (race, gender, religion, etc.), but it’s also about only accepting all of those people who actually fit the culture you have established. That’s the hard part! Amazon accepts everyone, but you better be ready to go a thousand miles an hour and never stop.

Being an inclusive employer is hard because if it’s done right, it’s not just about being an accepting employer of all, it’s about being accepting and then only picking those candidates who actually fit your culture. The outcome can be awesome. The work to get there can be overwhelming. And if done incorrectly you go from being inclusive to exclusive.

Is Love Greater Than Fear?

The most famous quote from Machiavelli’s book “The Prince” is:

“Better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.”

Uh, oh, Tim is quoting Machiavelli, this blog has jumped the shark!

I heard this quote recently in a virtual HR event. HR speakers seem to come in two types:

1. Love is greater than fear. This is popular and most fall into this camp. It’s a feel-good play. The first rule of HR speaking, it’s always better to make the audience feel good, than to give them something they actually need.

2. Machiavelli’s assessment, It’s better to be feared. Less popular take, but I do hear it in the form of stuff like, “I’m not here to be your friend, I’m here to get results!”

I also have smart friends who pull Machiavelli’s name out anytime they want me to feel like I’m on the wrong side of something, “How ‘Machiavellian’ of you, Tim!” Okay, I get it, you’re smarter than me, how ‘Machiavellian’ for you!

The normal breakdown of leadership goes like this. You would rather be a beloved leader than a feared leader. Those leaders who are loved will be more successful than those who are feared. You have to be one or the other. Or do you?

I think all leaders deep down in places we don’t talk about at parties (A Few Good Men reference!) want to be loved, or at the very least, well-liked. It’s human nature. No one really wants to be hated. It’s stressful, people don’t want to be around you, it makes for uncomfortable hugs, etc.

On the love side, love can make you do some crazy things, but so can fear. I would drive all night to help my wife or kids with something if I thought they really needed me, even if they or I could probably find another alternative. I would also probably work all night if I thought I might lose my job and I need to pay my mortgage. Love and fear are powerful in getting us to act.

I think fear is bigger when it comes to crunch time scenarios. I might ‘love’ my boss a ton, but when the project is on the line and the company might lose a major project and cost us hundreds of jobs, fear is driving the truck, not love. Love won’t bring those jobs back, fear might just win those jobs back.

As leaders, this our dilemma. I want my team to love me, but I also need a touch of fear on the edge. It’s an imperfect balance.

What I know is love isn’t the only answer, no matter how many memes you make or posters you put it on. I don’t know if Love is bigger, it’s definitely more popular, for obvious reasons, but great leaders have used both. I want you to love me, I need you to fear me a bit, in the end, I’ll probably use both to get the job done.

If You Don’t Stretch, You’ll Never Know Where The Edges Are…

Did you know the N95 mask that is critical PPE for healthcare workers right now was invented by a woman at 3M in the late 1950s?

The title of the post is a quote from Sara Little Turnball, she was a designer who started consulting for 3M in 1958. She was super sharp and made a name for herself prior to 3M, and then 3M came calling. They didn’t know what to do with her (it was 1958 women aren’t supposed to know more than men, right!?! ;), so they started her in the gift wrapping section, because you know she’s a woman!

She decided she needed to do something and created a famous product presentation called “Why?” where she presented one hundred ideas to 3M executives for various products that actual people would use. She told them there were so many uses for this moldable, woven textile they had created.

So, they hired her to make a molded bra cup. Of course, they did! But, she persisted and let them know she was also using the design and material to make a better type of surgical mask. Her first attempt failed, but eventually what she started turned into basically the N95 mask that 3M started producing in mass in 1961.

“If you don’t stretch, you’ll never know where the edges are.” 

You guys know I’m not a “failure porn” person. Just fail more. Fail faster. Etc. Sara Little Turnball was a designer and inventor and it her world you needed to fail. She estimated about 90% of her work was failure.

The world takes both types. Creatives will fail way more than they succeed to reach their genius. Producers can’t fail as often, and shouldn’t. We need all types in this crazy gumball factory we live in.

We need people willing to stretch themselves to find the edges. Today, as we take off for a long holiday weekend, I’m grateful for this lady who was willing to find the edges and I’m betting so are millions of healthcare workers who are fighting for our lives.

 

#CoronaDiaries – The Travesty of Hero Pay!

I’m back in the office and I’m feisty as ever about all this “Hero” pay going on across the world! I love Heros, I mean who doesn’t love Heros, but…

Can I be real a second?
For just a millisecond?
Let down my guard and tell the people how I feel a second?

Also, beyond excited that Disney+ is releasing the Original cast of Hamilton on July 3rd! In the comments give me your over/under number of the amount of times I’ll watch Hamilton on Disney+? (I’ll tell you what my wife’s number on me was after a bit!)