I’ve been doing a lot of performance work for some client companies lately. As you might expect, I’m trying to push the companies to get out of the mindset that the performance review transaction is the reason for the process.
Repeat after me: The reason you do any type of coaching or performance management is to migrate employees.
If you’re going to do it, you want a system that allows you to support migrating new employees to good performers, and good performers to great employees.
You don’t get there by focusing on the rating scale.
That doesn’t migrate anyone. You get there by using performance management as a means to have a different type of conversation. One that gets an employee thinking and perhaps excited about taking care of the busy work that’s a part of any job, then having time to come up with some different ideas.
Which is code for this – Innovation doesn’t mean you created the next Twitter or Instagram. Sometimes it just means you aren’t scared to say the way that we’ve always done it is bull####, and offer up a new path– no matter how small. Whether it gets implemented or not is just details. Offer up enough ideas, and you’re bound to have some of them make it through the machine.
What does great performance look like?
I think it means that you encourage employees to challenge the status quo. Of course, if you’re going to encourage that, you better be comfortable telling people that their idea sucks and they need to go back to the drawing board.
It’s hard to create a culture where people actually want to give you ideas. Do you have that type of culture?
Here’s a test: Would your managers be comfortable putting the text from the original sixty-second “Think Different” ads from Apple (narrated by Richard Dreyfuss back in the day) in their cube?
Read this and think about it:
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
I know. It’s far-reaching BS. Keep doing what you’re doing, it’s working well…
Or, you can start having conversations with your best people about what’s possible. It’s funny how those types of conversations and the exploration that results are actually the best retention tool for your top talent. It’s also funny how your average performers stop bitching about getting a bigger raise when you tell them that ideas are the top currency to getting the $$.
But your managers have to have the conversation to make that happen.
They’ve got to encourage people to think differently, and to accept all the work/draining conversations that comes with the process.
And that’s why the crazy ones don’t work at your company.
Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., HR’s largest membership organization’s CEO has been catching a lot of flack lately. In fact, a band of HR innovators and outliers have pushed the #fixitSHRM hashtag for a while in their displeasure with the CEO’s actions on behalf of the society. It’s even getting some press and blog play in the HR and talent space with a broader audience. Some of those speaking out are my friends and I hope they are still my friends after this article.
Before I get into the discussion, I need to make a full disclosure, as some may question my own agenda in writing this. I have presented at several SHRM conferences over the years, been awarded a couple of significant honors, and done some writing for them too. So, clearly I have benefited personally from my relationship, and at least up until now, I am a member in good standing. Now that we have that out of the way, I call it as I see it and rarely shy away from controversy or speaking my mind.
There are a few issues at play.
Let’s start with the POTUS photo ops which have not been well received by many. Whether it be Johnny’s agenda for minority colleges (remember where Johnny worked right before the new role) and his former financial donor relationships, or his latest push for change in regards to giving individuals with criminal backgrounds a second chance, he has been thrown into the spotlight with the President on the Hill. It’s hard to tell whether these are SHRM’s agenda items or Johnny’s. This has become intertwined in a broader lobbying and legislative agenda of the Society in the halls of Congress. SHRM’s latest agenda has many stakeholders and lobbyists including the Koch brothers, which some have viewed as SHRM selling out to conservative billionaires. This is the society that has always billed itself as Bi-Partisan, or should I say Non-Partisan and politically neutral. If you watched the State of the Union this year, you saw that SHRM was a sponsor of CNN’s broadcast, with lots of commercials before and after the speech. The large spend on ads has many questioning where all their revenue is being spent as well as why it was spent during the State of the Union.
The presence of Johnny as a keynote presenter at HR conferences including this year’s SHRM conference in Vegas (CEOs previously acted more as emcee and less as a “guest keynote presenter”) is the last straw for many. With this as a backdrop, many of the vocal leaders in the HR and talent community have weighed in with their disappointment regarding ongoing tweets and articles. A few are even boycotting future events and dropping their membership. There are other issues that have created divisiveness within the HR community and SHRM. I would need a lot more than 1,000 words to delve into them. Needless to say, there is a spectrum of beliefs and activism in the HR world, no different than the world at large. And in the immortal words of Nelly, “it’s getting hot in here.”
Well, I see both sides of the issues. One might give Johnny a lot of credit for ramping up SHRM’s visibility and building a recognizable brand. Can you name any other business function society with as much visibility?
Accounting firms for years have sponsored golf tournaments and done major TV and radio ad buys, but it’s the companies doing so. I don’t see AICPA running ads and doing press conferences regularly on cable television.
Additionally, there is a comprehensive agenda that SHRM is working to accomplish and agendas cost money – more than the revenue produced by their conferences and training. Sometimes we don’t always agree with the political views of the folks contributing to the cause or even all of the agenda items. So, if you’re on the left side of the political spectrum, cozying up with conservative billionaire philanthropists may not be your cup of tea. During my tenure heading HR at Success Academy Charter Schools, we received millions of dollars in donations from hedge fund CEOs and philanthropists that sometimes had different political ideologies, but we needed the money, and it can make for strange and unusual bedfellows. Our agenda was realized in part with their financial support– sound familiar?
Johnny is a force who runs the organization more like a large business than a non-profit. His letting go of some tenured SHRM staff at the beginning of his term didn’t sit well with the old timers in the HR space (oops that wasn’t supposed to be disclosed). And his cozying up to the President and influential business leaders is not playing out favorably now. But are we not mimicking the behavior expected of the function as a business partner in the real world? Sorry, HR leaders are not the subservient order-takers of two decades ago. So, if you want respect, you have to know the rules of engagement and play accordingly. Johnny clearly knows the rules of engagement, and he is actively fulfilling an agenda. You may not agree with this tactic, and if you are a member of SHRM, then you have the right to let them know what you think, but remember the age-old adage about catching bees with honey… well, there is more than one way to disagree. I still believe that SHRM is a tremendous force in educating HR folks and bringing light to many challenging issues.
With all that said, I do feel conflicted over the whole situation.
I believe you try to fix things from the inside, using your board of directors as advocates for all. Unfortunately, we are not well represented with everyday HR folks as board members, and maybe that should be the point of change for the organization. We could use a couple more Steve Browns on the board. Trying to sway the mothership of any organization is difficult especially from the outside. A few years ago, there was an HR transparency group that rose up and tried to make changes to have a couple of folks added to the board. It had some traction but fell woefully short of its agenda. Not exactly a blueprint for success, but it was an attempt, and maybe it’s time to take a time out and revisit some of the issues and call outs in a more palatable way.
SHRM could throttle back some of its advocacy activities and respond to some of their member concerns before proceeding further. I hope my SHRM friends who work on the Hill will not be mad at me for suggesting this either. Or maybe Johnny should do a few town halls with everyday HR folks to get a better feel for what the everyday practitioner needs and wants from their organization, instead of talking…maybe listening.
In the end, SHRM is a member organization, so it’s up to everyone that is a member to weigh-in. I am a dreamer and yes, an optimist, and still believe the Society does many important things, including training and keeping us informed on legislative changes. And some great folks are working there too. Johnny could be the first SHRM CEO in a long time to really get things done if we make a few adjustments. So, let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water….just yet.
Yep – that’s me! The low-hanging fruit on the LinkedIn tree.
What’s it like being low-hanging fruit and working in Talent Acquisition? Well, you’re popular with a variety of people. And come to find out, a lot of people don’t read your LinkedIn profile. Or if they do, they don’t pick up what you’re putting down. No clue as to what you do, where you are, or the industry you’re in. So you get a lot of pings, a lot of calls, and a lot of requests.
And this internet thing, it breeds familiarity. You feel like you know me. Maybe you’ve done a little stalking, a little googling, found my Facebook, read my blogs and tweets. The thing I’ve learned in all this time online? As much as you think you know me, if we don’t have some kind of acquaintanceship in real life, I probably won’t know who you are when you call. I talk to a lot of people on a daily basis. And I remember almost all of them. But if we’ve never met, never had a chat, rethink your expectation.
First in my queue are vendors.
Bless your hearts, I know you’re doing your job and working the system. I got you – you found me and think I’m an inroad to a sale. I’m not. Let me be clear, I am not an inroad to a sale. I may put things on a wish list but I’m not the decision maker. And I know you want me to forward you on, but I can’t, especially if we’re not looking for whatever you’re selling.
Then there are the people that just want a favor.
Just a favor. Unless you’re on Impractical Jokers, how many times do you randomly ask someone on the street for a favor? We haven’t met, no chat, and I have no clue as to who you are. But you would like me to do something for you. Read something, write something, pitch something, give you names of five of my associates. Yeah…not happening. All of my energy goes to my job and my family. At this time there isn’t room for extra.
Now I like hearing from jobseekers.
I’m happy to help you with your search, and I’ll tell you when I can’t. I’ll peek at your resume but you’ll get the 5-minute free assessment. I’ll tell you what I don’t do – for example, I don’t hire software engineers. I do source executives and temps. I know, I know…2 diverse worlds. But they’re my worlds. So if you want to tell me what you’re looking for, I’ll let you know if I can help. A win for both of us.
I also like hearing from recruiters.
You are trying to fill a job, I get that. Sometimes you think you’ve got the perfect opportunity, that’s cool. I encourage everyone to take a call, no harm in that. And if I’m not looking, I’ll tell you. But, I’m not going to do your job for you, sourcing isn’t just asking your entire network “who do you know?”. What about shifting the ask, and requesting an intro to someone I know because you already found them and need an in? That’d be good. You want to help me with my jobs? That’s kind, but I’ll call you when I need it, and I’m owning that eventually I may need it, but I won’t call until I know I really need the assist.
So is it okay to ping that low-hanging fruit? Maybe, but think about your ask. And always think about what is in it for the person at the end of the request…is there a better way to make your inquiry? An overture to make before the ask? And understand, before you act in haste or anger, that the internet is a bridge. You can build it up with reasonable and respective requests and burn it down with entitled expectations.
Note: The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Marriott International.
Grace is a word not often used in a business context. It should probably be used more.
And even less so, grace is not something we typically associate with firing someone, taking away someone’s source of financial security, involuntarily.
But we should. Because when it comes to firing someone, grace on the part of the employer is what’s needed most.
As a career HR pro, I’ve had to terminate many people. Admittedly, most had it coming. Stealing from the company, harassing another employee, or gross misconduct of all shapes and sizes. These terminations are easy.
Other terminations were because they weren’t doing their job, or were doing it poorly. These terminations are more complicated.
But regardless of the reasons for an employee’s firing, grace is always in order. Because as the person representing the employer you can’t resort to terminating someone in an ugly fashion. Lowering your standards to fit the situation, that’s just not cool, and it will come back to haunt you.
It’s a small world out there, and treating people with dignity at all points in the employee life cycle is critically important. Important to your company’s employment brand, your company’s reputation, and to your reputation as an HR pro. So when you’re tempted to get nasty, resist. Seek higher ground.
The termination process is already bad enough. You’re removing the employee of all control. You’re in complete command of the situation. They’ve lost their job and now have to find a way to recover. Don’t make matters worse. Do what you can to help.
Here are some tips that will help ensure you make the best of a bad situation for the employee when terminating a person’s employment. Dare I say ways to show grace:
Candor regarding the reasons for their termination – the only way the employee can learn from their mistakes and reasonably move to what’s next for them is to receive the real reason or reasons as to why they are being terminated. Don’t BS them, be straight. Straight may seem harsh but in reality, being less than honest is actually worse.
Kind words of appreciation for what they did contribute – just because you’re terminating them doesn’t mean they didn’t deliver anything worthwhile when employed. If they did do some good things, anything good, acknowledge them and thank them for what they did deliver.
Wish them the best in their new endeavors – authentically showing that you care about them can take the edge off. I fully acknowledge this is a fine line as some will attempt to spin your empathy (not sympathy) with “then why are you terminating me?” but they’ll appreciate the gesture later even if they don’t take you up on it.
Guidance or counsel on resources they can turn to – there are lots of free resources for people who are looking for work and are out of a job. Networking, job search groups, volunteer groups, etc. The terminated employee will want to know how they can continue their insurance, apply for unemployment, and what you’ll say/not say when unemployment or their next prospective employer calls to discuss their termination. Be honest with them about what information will and won’t be shared, and with whom, so they can plan accordingly.
But above all, be respectful. Even if it’s not returned. I’ve had many terminations where the employee got emotional, lost control, and said a bunch of nasty things about me or the company I was working for. While I didn’t appreciate it, I understood. They were losing their job. I was just doing mine.
Show grace when terminating employees. Doing so will strengthen your employer brand and show all employees (current, former and future) that you genuinely care about your people – past, present and future. That people in your business are not just an inconsequential cog in the big wheel referred to as “labor cost”.
As HR/talent pros we are the ones that own the termination process. Make certain it’s one that keeps people’s dignity intact – theirs and yours.
Pointing out all the famous people who once were “involuntarily terminated” is something that helps to boost the spirits of people who just lost their job, but take it from me when I tell you that no matter how much you try to sugar coat it … getting fired really, really sucks
I’ve had a lot of jobs, and the more jobs you have the greater the odds are that your number will come up and the workplace reaper will get you, too.
It’s happened to me before, and at the end of 2018, it happened to me again. As you might imagine, it didn’t make for a very Happy New Year. Yes, it really sucked.
Should you fess up to failure?
When I was younger, I would have had an emotional reaction to this event and gone through the 5 stages — anger, denial, depression, bargaining, acceptance — but now that I’m older, I just consider it another hurdle to get past.
But that’s easier said than done. And that’s why I was interested in the concept of the “failure résumé” that Tim Herrera recently wrote about in The New York Times.
Here’s the idea as he explained it:
“Whereas your normal résumé organizes your successes, accomplishments and your overall progress, your failure résumé tracks the times you didn’t quite hit the mark, along with what lessons you learned.“
And why would we want to track our failures? As Herrera puts it:
“Because you learn much more from failure than success, and honestly analyzing one’s failures can lead to the type of introspection that helps us grow — as well as show that the path to success isn’t a straight line.”
“People need to “fail” if they are to truly grow, and the greatest and most meaningful learning experiences usually come from those times when things don’t go very well. … Want to build better employees who will take smart risks? Letting them fail on occasion, and having them learn from their failure, is a good way to get there.”
In my book, there’s no greater personal failure than getting fired — even if it’s not your fault and there was nothing you could have done to stop it. I know that people like Liz Ryan make the case that you should just go out and find another job, but that’s easier said than done.
It also doesn’t account for the fact that most people put a chunk of their self-worth into their work. If they need to leave their job, they want to leave it with their pride and self-worth intact — on their own terms and on their own schedule.
However, the reality is that when you get fired, you usually get very little of that, if you get any at all.
If you dig into this New York Times piece on the “failure résumé,” you’ll notice that this trend seems to be popular among academics, particularly people with a Ph.D, and that they encourage people to publish their “failure résumé” the way you would one that was accomplishment based.
I like the notion of tracking the hows and whys of personal failure, but I would never, ever want to broadcast it to the world … and the unforgiving and judgmental eyeballs of every idiot who can type just well enough to use social media.
My version of a “failure résumé” is a comprehensive list I keep of jobs I’ve applied for — when, where, and what happened. This is just as humbling as publishing a résumé of my failures, if not quite so public. It also gives me great insight into my personal recruiting and hiring process.
Guess what I’ve found from this? When I did it around 10 years ago, I was able to see that my direct mail marketing success rate was about 10 percent. That is, I got a solid response or interview from one out of 10 of the 120 plus companies I reached out to.
That wasn’t too bad, I thought, but today it’s a whole different story.
I’ve been looking for a full-time job for two years and have reached out to somewhere in the neighborhood of 175 companies … and my direct mail success rate is down in the 1-2 percent range. The odd part of this is that today I’m even more experienced than I was 10 years ago, and have a lot more perspective and insight. Plus, I know that my skills have improved as well.
Getting better all the time
Some people, like fine wine, get better with age.
What has changed, however, is that today I’m thought to be “overqualified” — aka, too old, too experienced, too expensive — and I can’t get the time of day from recruiters and talent managers for a great many jobs I’m clearly qualified to at least interview for.
There’s a part of me that feels that publishing a “failure résumé” would be incredibly liberating. But that’s the optimistic side of me coming out. My pragmatic side sees the “failure résumé” as just another thing for jaded and overwhelmed TA pros to use against candidates who are already fighting against a system they feel is stacked against them.
As more than one friend of mine has told me, “Wow, I thought everybody was fighting to find good candidates today. What does it say if someone like you can’t get hired with all the skills and great experience you bring to the table?”
I can’t disagree with that assessment, but I do know one thing: Yes, lot of good people get fired, and a “failure résumé” may help keep you focused on how to improve yourself, but publicly sharing that information is suicidal in today’s recruiting and hiring environment.
I wish it wasn’t so, because a very public failure résumé” DOES have its merits. Unfortunately, none of them have anything to do with getting hired somewhere.
Hi, my name is Tim Sackett, and I love recruiting. Yes, it is considered an illness by many (hi, SHRM ladies!). Yes, I’m probably addicted. So, for this Valentine’s Day Eve, I wanted to give you guys all the reasons I love recruiting. The business my mother taught me when I was a child, sitting on her bed watching TV on silent as she called a pile of resumes, trying to find candidates for openings she was working on. She made every position seem like an opportunity the person could not live without. I didn’t know I’d fall in love with recruiting. I went to school to be a teacher. I fell into recruiting because my wife was attending graduate school and I needed a job to help pay the bills. Recruiting was the vehicle that not only allowed me to pay for her school, but it allowed us to have her stay home and raise our three sons.
Recruiting has given me a lot.
Here are 7 reasons why I love recruiting:
1. Recruiting allows me to be strategic. I like being in the action in the organizations I work for. HR can do that, and recruiting must do that.
2. Recruiting allows me to make decisions. Not having the ability to make decisions is one of the most disengaging issues employees have with any position. Recruiting allows me to make decisions. Every. Single. Day.
3. Recruiting helps me keep an eye on the future. I don’t want to know where my organization has gone, I want to know where it’s going. Recruiting gives me those clues.
4. Recruiting lets me love my organization. I’m a company guy. I’d put the corporate logo on my a$$ if I were asked to. I want to love the companies I work for. Recruiting lets me love my company every single day, and lets me share that with the world.
5. Recruiting lets me hunt. I get bored just farming and gathering. I’m a hunter by nature. Recruiting lets me hunt for the best and brightest. It lets me capture them and make them one of our own.
6. Recruiting lets me be me. I like to get involved, ask questions, etc. I’m loud. I move my hands around a lot when I talk. I like to laugh at stuff that’s funny. I like to make people laugh. I like to hug. I like to speak my mind. No one questions a recruiter that does all that.
7. Recruiting gives me a reason to talk to everyone, about everything. In recruiting there really aren’t any bad questions. There might be some that are illegal. But I have a license to ask pretty much anything I feel is important for our organization to know about a candidate. This leads to some very interesting conversations. I like interesting conversations.
I know many people don’t love recruiting and recruiters. I’m alright with that, recruiting isn’t for everyone. If it was, I probably wouldn’t love it like I do.
Recently, I was lucky enough to go to a private screening of a new documentary, “Pursuing Happiness.” The director, Adam Shell, shared wonderful stories of the people he interviewed in his attempt to find the happiest people in America.
“Who is the happiest person you know?” was the question he and his production partner posed.
My friend who hosted the screening submitted her blue egg producing chickens as the happiest…because come on, who is happier than a hen who can lay blue eggs?!? Adam had to come see her chickens, and while the chickens didn’t make the cut, what a freak’n awesome story she now has to tell!
The second part of the film asks the question, “What are we doing wrong?” and explores the relationship between money and happiness.
Most of us are coming off year-end compensation planning and communicating new salaries and/or new programs and dealing with happy, neutral, or dismayed employees. While research and experience tells us there is a relationship between money and happiness, no one really knows exactly what the relationship is.
Are wealthy individuals happier?
Does a “cost-of-living vs. merit” increase make a difference?
Does paying for high-performance create a culture more focused on individualism?
As organizations continue to struggle to solve for attraction, retention, engagement and performance motivators, it’s important to remember that compensation strategy is just an element of the solution. Those organizations who take a holistic view of their talent strategy are more likely to end up with engaged employees who understand a total rewards picture.
Some questions to explore with your leadership teams:~
Outside of what we pay employees, what are the biggest drivers of performance or innovation?
How do we maintain/increase the “excitement” about an offer to join our company past 12-months of employment?
How does our compensation structure impact innovation? Agility? Culture?
As HR folks, we can also be too close to the compensation subject and should not try to “control” it for an organization. I’ve found working with a financial planner is better for our family as it gives us an unbiased and data-driven view of what we have/what we need to do. Similarly, creating a portfolio of internal and external resources – comp specialists, your CFO, organizational effectiveness consultants, change management leaders, etc. is a way HR can be accountable, but also help drive an unbiased conversation across many resources to get to the right solution(s).
Does money buy happier employees? It’s a great question to dive into for your organization – and yourself.
There’s been a lot written recently on “ghosting” from both the employer side and the candidate side. I’ve heard a bunch of noise that sounds like this, “Well it’s the employer’s fault! They started it! If they hadn’t started ghosting candidates from the start, candidates wouldn’t be ghosting them now!”
Ugh. The blame game! We love blaming other people for our awful behaviors. Can we put all of this to rest!? Employers who ghost candiates are awful and candidates should stop applying to them. Candidates who ghost employers are awful and we should have a national database to track this bad behavior!
The reality is employers are currently facing an epidemic when it comes to two things surrounding ghosting:
Candidates ghosting interviews
New hires ghosting companys on their first day of employment
I’ve spoken to three different TA leaders recently who have almost eliminated their ghosting problem! And their problem was really bad. They had both candidates and new hires ghosting them weekly, sometimes in the double digits each week!
All three did one simple thing that changed their recruiting life. What was it? They added daily, automated SMS into their candidate and new employee communication loop, and it has almost completely eliminated their ghosting problems.
It’s just one more reason why I think SMS automation, like what Canvas offers, is the most underutilized, high ROI recruiting technologies on the planet!
So, what did these three do to solve ghosting? Pretty easy, really, but also ingenious:
For candidates – it’s a combination of keeping them active in the process on a daily basis. So, move fast, using technology to do some screening, but then over-communicate via text messaging on what’s next. Don’t let 24 hours go by without a message, and about every third message, require some sort of response.
For new hires – it’s more of the same. Daily text messages on what’s next in the process. Don’t miss one day all the way up until the start date, with reminders the night before and welcomes the morning of! Over communication to the n’th level!
One other major thing! Frequently allow the candidates and new hires to “opt out” of your process during these communications with something like, “Hey, we can’t wait to meet you (or we are so excited to have you join the team) BUT, at any point you feel this is no longer for you, just reply back to this text and let us know. No hard feelings, we still want to be friends!”
This type of “Opt Out” actually gives those who are most likely to ghost the ability to get out of your process without actually ghosting and allows you to plan better/give time back to those candidates and new hires who are all in!
Now you could actually do all of this manually, but it’s almost impossible to keep up with, especially in high volume hiring! SMS automation and scheduling is the key. The daily messaging is easy, because you develop it once and use the same stuff for everyone!
FOT Note: We here at FOT like to think we get talent and HR at a different level. At the very least, we are probably going to have a different take than the norm. So it made perfect sense to ask Canvas to be an annual sponsor at FOT, where they’ll sponsor posts like this one, allowing FOT contributors to write, without restriction, on all things related to using new and innovative ideas in recruiting, like using text messaging to interview candidates. If you find yourself thinking, “Hey, I should really look into Canvas!” then go do it, I think you’ll love the technology!
More often than not, work takes longer than we think…
In recruiting, “time to fill” is the number of days between when a job posting is approved, and the day the offer is accepted by the candidate.
I’ve seen average time to fill rates range anywhere from 41 days to 62 days. Sometimes waaay longer.
The problem with focusing too much on time to fill is that it feeds right into a common bias we all have with our work, The Planning Fallacy. You can Google that term but essentially “The Planning Fallacy” is a situation in which we underestimate the time needed to complete a project. This happens regardless of our past knowledge of the task, and we naturally tend to bite off more than we can chew.
It happens with massive construction projects (for instance, the Boston Big Dig project or Denver Airport construction project – they were delayed for years and ended up going billions of dollars over budget).
Don’t get me started on software implementations inside of companies – these planning fallacies run rampant when implementing software inside of a company… but that’s not the point.
The main point to emphasize with The Planning Fallacy and recruiting is that you should expect it.
I’ve seen it happen far too many times before and the best thing I can do to prevent it is to be honest and upfront with a client. I have learned this the hard way. Work will take longer and cost more if you ignore this detail. Get clear on the work and how long it will take.
Budgets get slashed, reorgs happen, hiring managers get fired, candidates go dark – this scenario happens frequently, but you should focus on what you can control. Control the scope of the work, meet with the hiring team and set expectations on what they want.
Sometimes, I’m too honest about how long it will take.
Why? Because It’s important to take the time upfront as it will speed things up later in the process. Your relationships will be more peaceful that way.
Use your time to fill the job, not time to fail at recruiting for the job. Plan, plan, and do, then do some more. Execute the plan – that is your plan, every day.
There’s a dirty little secret about great companies. Some of them are so great, the experience you pick up actually doesn’t transfer easily to other opportunities.
Here’s how this phenomenon plays out:
1– You join a great company early in your career.
2–You are fortunate to work for a master, think the Obi-Wan Kenobi or Bill Belichick of your industry.
3–The master sees your potential. He/She brings you into the secret society of how the sausage gets made.
4–You are incredibly successful, receiving 2-3 promotions in the span of a decade while the master also experiences great success.
5–The master absolutely owns the organization you work for. People are scared of him/her, so the way you want to do things is the way that they are done. The success creates a bubble of zero interference and you and the master are welcome to become as dysfunctional as you want, and you never have to deal with political realities that other people in your industry do. Just as importantly, you become great at what you do – both individually, and as a system.
6–You look up and a decade has gone by. Then, the day comes. Korn Ferry sources you on LinkedIn (you thought they had secret tools, but no) and puts you up at age 37 for your next big step. The tricky part is you have to leave the fold of Obi-Wan. You take the job, Obi is proud.
7–You go to that big leadership position at another company. It’s hard. You last 18 months before you talk to Obi-Wan about coming back to the mother ship.
Congratulations. You didn’t know it, but you got INSTITUTIONALIZED in your decade with Obi Wan.
What does becoming INSTITUTIONALIZED mean and how does it happen? Being corporately institutionalized means you worked for a master. The master had so much success, he developed a Jedi-like process for how the sausage got made at your company. You and he were like chemists for your industry, and as your success grew, your potion for success grew more customized and borderline manic.
People want what that company has. So they recruited you.
But the problem is this. You worked for the master (Obi-Wan) and he had created an environment that could only exist at your company based on his knowledge and the lack of interference that existed based on the past and continued success.
You thought you could replicate that success. Turns out, you had been INSTITUTIONALIZED. You bristled at the politics of your new organization – you didn’t realize this is normal for the rest of the world. It was hard – so hard, after 18 months you reached back out to the master and asked him to keep an eye open for a spot to bring you back to the ranch.
Now you’re back doing very specific things for the master – things you’re convinced the rest of the world doesn’t understand.
Things are peaceful for now. You and the other inmates wonder how long the master will stay at it. You hope a long time.
It’s ****ing scary out there, away from the mothership. Life with Obi-Wan is better for you.