Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Mistake of “Hire and Forget”

 

This is part two of Hiring with a Purpose. You can read part one here.

When I was a manager, unfilled positions were one of my biggest headaches. They required me, or members of the team, to cover for the vacancies. Heaven forbid if it was a specialist slot that could not be easily covered. I once had a therapist sit in with a temporary doctor to type notes because patients had to be seen.

Obviously, I am not alone in these experiences. When I became a CEO, I heard them from my directors and from their managers. Everyone was focused on getting those slots filled as fast as they could.

In the military, there is a type of missile called “Fire and Forget”. It does not require further guidance after launch and can hit its target without you being within line-of-sight.

What I have seen in business is the mistake I call “Hire and Forget”. After multiple resumes, a number of interviews and an affirmative response from a candidate, the manager finally has someone to fill the opening. The candidate is sent to Human Resources, and the manager, breathing a sigh of relief, can move on to the next crisis.

Perhaps the new employee will receive some one-on-one time post orientation, but usually by 30 days later, it is business as usual. The employee is hired and HR becomes the guidance system to get the new employee to target.

Meanwhile, the manager is frequently focused on tasks other than being a manager. This is often because they earned their promotions because of their output. Being down a position regularly means the output is reduced, but that should not be an excuse to ignore the new hire.

Lack of feedback and support from managers is among the top reasons people report leaving jobs. Find the time to have one-on-one talks about the challenges of the job and about how to meet expectations. If your employee knows you are engaged with her, then she is more likely to remain a long-term employee.

Hiring someone is not sending a missile to blow something up, it is adding, maintaining, and often building an asset for your organization. The number one way to have engaged employees is to have engaged managers.

Not all positions, however, are going to be filled long-term. Lower-level positions tend to have high turnover.

In a previous role, we had positions with an extremely high turnover rate due to low pay and high stress. The quality of employees we were attracting was commonly less than what the program director was seeking. So we decided to stop fighting the turnover trend and embrace it. Instead of seeking long-term employees, we looked to new graduates with college degrees in psychology who were working towards their masters.

We knew we would only have them for two to three years at the most, but by adjusting our expectations we found good employees who could work flexible hours.

The art of hiring and maintaining excellent employees, of building an asset for your organization, is not about hiring and forgetting, it is about having managers who find the time to engage their workers individually and as members of the team.

Hire and Inspire should be your weapon of choice.

This article was originally published at TalkForward as part of my monthly series of thought leadership articles.

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There are 39 comments.

  1. Mark Camp Member

    Bryan,

    Wow! That was one hell of a profound and well-written piece of management instruction, and I’ve read a lot of it.

    • #1
    • August 13, 2019, at 6:59 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  2. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens Post author

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Bryan,

    Wow! That was one hell of a profound and well-written piece of management instruction, and I’ve read a lot of it.

    Thank you. It is part two of what will be a 4-5 part series on Hiring with a Purpose. My next article will be a pause in the series, though.

     

    • #2
    • August 13, 2019, at 7:03 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  3. Vance Richards Member

    Good point. Companies put a lot of time and effort into finding the right person, but then you have to put them in a position to succeed. 

    • #3
    • August 13, 2019, at 8:22 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  4. Vance Richards Member

    I just read your part one. I am currently searching for a new job and was really shocked when a couple places I interviewed with never got back to me. Never replied to my emails or voicemails. Rejection I can handle, but just not replying at all? That can sour you to a company and if they later advertise another position, one you are more qualified for, it is doubtful that you will apply.

     

    • #4
    • August 13, 2019, at 8:29 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  5. Mark Camp Member

    One thing that struck me as a new idea is not the routine lack of adequate attention to early development. That is certainly a big deal, but is also a problem that gets at least some attention from the community of expert advisors.

    This note was about a particular case of Managing the New Worker: the case where the hire followed an intense period of want for that place being filled. The new person starts in an environment where management may tend to be marginally ineffective, rather than just baseline ineffective, in attending to the needs of the new employee. They’re tired of thinking about that unfilled position, which appears to be but isn’t actually filled yet from an operational point of view, and the other areas that have gone hungry are chirping for management attention.

    The other interesting thing to me was to see a case study in the economic dynamism of markets. As an economist, I first respond mentally to the problem “too much turnover because of low pay” with the first-order solution of the armchair theoretician: “raise the pay until the profit is once again maximized.”

    But the case study demonstrates a more subtle adaptation, the kind that economists who lack business experience never seem to have the time or perhaps the imagination to consider: they instinctively think of money prices (including wage rates) as being the only equilibrating factor in the case of a production disequilibrium.

    The managers in this case instead re-thought the whole subsystem, adapting it (the process of hiring, developing, and losing workers for a certain position) to the supply market, which was standing ready with an ample supply of profitable labor supply, a supply which had been That which is Not Seen!

    That is the beauty of economics to me, and it’s what the interventionists never see.

    [EDIT: sub/and its what/and it’s what/. Note: I am embarrassed. If you thought you were protecting me by politely ignoring this grammatical error, next time just please don’t. You don’t need to use Private Message, just give the correction and make your disappointment clear in a Comment.]

    • #5
    • August 13, 2019, at 9:08 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  6. JoelB Member

    In a previous role we had positions with an extremely high turnover rate due to low pay and high stress.

    It seems like some companies are into a Use-them-up-then-kick-them-out philosophy toward employees in customer service and production. Work their tails off and fire them for minor infractions (usually leave-related) before the promised raises start kicking in.

    • #6
    • August 13, 2019, at 10:08 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  7. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens Post author

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    I just read your part one. I am currently searching for a new job and was really shocked when a couple places I interviewed with never got back to me. Never replied to my emails or voicemails. Rejection I can handle, but just not replying at all? That can sour you to a company and if they later advertise another position, one you are more qualified for, it is doubtful that you will apply.

     

    I have heard so many of these stories, I needed to write that one. Had to tone myself down on edit. That is just no way to treat someone. And if they do that, what are they doing to people who work there?

    • #7
    • August 13, 2019, at 10:14 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  8. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens Post author

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    One thing that struck me as a new idea is not the routine lack of adequate attention to early development. That is certainly a big deal, but is also a problem that gets at least some attention from the community of expert advisors.

    This note was about a particular case of Managing the New Worker: the case where the hire followed an intense period of want for that place being filled. The new person starts in an environment where management may tend to be marginally ineffective, rather than just baseline ineffective, in attending to the needs of the new employee. They’re tired of thinking about that unfilled position, which appears to be but isn’t actually filled yet from an operational point of view, and the other areas that have gone hungry are chirping for management attention.

    The other interesting thing to me was to see a case study in the economic dynamism of markets. As an economist, I first respond mentally to the problem “too much turnover because of low pay” with the first-order solution of the armchair theoretician: “raise the pay until the profit is once again maximized.”

    But the case study demonstrates a more subtle adaptation, the kind that economists who lack business experience never seem to have the time or perhaps the imagination to consider: they instinctively think of money prices (including wage rates) as being the only equilibrating factor in the case of a production disequilibrium.

    The managers in this case instead re-thought the whole subsystem, adapting it (the process of hiring, developing, and losing workers for a certain position) to the supply market, which was standing ready with an ample supply of profitable labor supply, a supply which had been That which is Not Seen!

    That is the beauty of economics to me, and its what the interventionists never see.

     

    The reality is that pay is not the number one motivator. In fact, it is not in the top 5. Work is 1/3 of our lives. Having a great team, a great manager, good people to work with all make a bigger difference than money. Oh, money can offset some of that, but if the environment is bad, people will turn over. 

    Good for them for retooling. 

    • #8
    • August 13, 2019, at 10:17 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  9. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens Post author

    JoelB (View Comment):

    In a previous role we had positions with an extremely high turnover rate due to low pay and high stress.

    It seems like some companies are into a Use-them-up-then-kick-them-out philosophy toward employees in customer service and production. Work their tails off and fire them for minor infractions (usually leave-related) before the promised raises start kicking in.

    What a horrible way to treat people! That is not they way to get good results. People talk. Eventually, you can become an employer of the last resort. In a good economy, it is going to be hard to retain anyone. 

    It is very hard to have engaged customers if you have disengaged employees. And anything less than an engaged customer will walk on price in a heartbeat.

    • #9
    • August 13, 2019, at 10:19 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  10. JoelB Member

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    JoelB (View Comment):

    In a previous role we had positions with an extremely high turnover rate due to low pay and high stress.

    It seems like some companies are into a Use-them-up-then-kick-them-out philosophy toward employees in customer service and production. Work their tails off and fire them for minor infractions (usually leave-related) before the promised raises start kicking in.

    What a horrible way to treat people! That is not they way to get good results. People talk. Eventually, you can become an employer of the last resort. In a good economy, it is going to be hard to retain anyone.

    It is very hard to have engaged customers if you have disengaged employees. And anything less than an engaged customer will walk on price in a heartbeat.

    On the flip side of this, I recall a construction contractor that was working for us. On the final inspection of the project, the superintendent discussed issues in a very respectful manner with his much younger foremen who seemed to reciprocate the respect and confidence of the superintendent. I could not help but think that this would be a really good company to work for.

    • #10
    • August 13, 2019, at 10:33 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  11. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens Post author

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    JoelB (View Comment):

    In a previous role we had positions with an extremely high turnover rate due to low pay and high stress.

    It seems like some companies are into a Use-them-up-then-kick-them-out philosophy toward employees in customer service and production. Work their tails off and fire them for minor infractions (usually leave-related) before the promised raises start kicking in.

    What a horrible way to treat people! That is not they way to get good results. People talk. Eventually, you can become an employer of the last resort. In a good economy, it is going to be hard to retain anyone.

    It is very hard to have engaged customers if you have disengaged employees. And anything less than an engaged customer will walk on price in a heartbeat.

    On the flip side of this, I recall a construction contractor that was working for us. On the final inspection of the project, the superintendent discussed issues in a very respectful manner with his much younger foremen who seemed to reciprocate the respect and confidence of the superintendent. I could not help but think that this would be a really good company to work for.

    They do exist!

    • #11
    • August 13, 2019, at 11:06 AM PST
    • 1 like
  12. SkipSul Moderator

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    I just read your part one. I am currently searching for a new job and was really shocked when a couple places I interviewed with never got back to me. Never replied to my emails or voicemails. Rejection I can handle, but just not replying at all? That can sour you to a company and if they later advertise another position, one you are more qualified for, it is doubtful that you will apply.

     

    There’s a flipside. We’ve been trying to fill an engineering position here for 6 months, and I’ve been ghosted time and again by applicants. They come in for a first interview, all goes well, I tell them we’d like a 2nd interview but only after some additional screening, and…. crickets. Not so much as a “sorry, not interested”.

    Except for one guy who threatened to sue us when we asked for his references. I think we dodged a bullet there, and am glad he didn’t respond even more.

    • #12
    • August 13, 2019, at 11:24 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  13. SkipSul Moderator

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    The reality is that pay is not the number one motivator. In fact, it is not in the top 5. Work is 1/3 of our lives. Having a great team, a great manager, good people to work with all make a bigger difference than money. Oh, money can offset some of that, but if the environment is bad, people will turn over. 

    Good for them for retooling. 

    We’ve been using (with 3rd party help) DISC assessments and a related one that looks at core motivators on 6 axes (Utilitarian, Theoretical, Social, Aesthetic, Individualistic, and Traditional). These have been aids both in screening (someone with a sky-high Social motivator is the not someone you want anywhere near HR roles as they’ll constantly be taking sides and meddling), and in working with existing employees to better steer them into work they both enjoy and are good at doing. You don’t want someone with a low Aesthetic motivator trying to do consumer-facing design work, they just won’t care. Very fascinating process all around.

    • #13
    • August 13, 2019, at 11:30 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  14. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens Post author

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    I just read your part one. I am currently searching for a new job and was really shocked when a couple places I interviewed with never got back to me. Never replied to my emails or voicemails. Rejection I can handle, but just not replying at all? That can sour you to a company and if they later advertise another position, one you are more qualified for, it is doubtful that you will apply.

     

    There’s a flipside. We’ve been trying to fill an engineering position here for 6 months, and I’ve been ghosted time and again by applicants. They come in for a first interview, all goes well, I tell them we’d like a 2nd interview but only after some additional screening, and…. crickets. Not so much as a “sorry, not interested”.

    Except for one guy who threatened to sue us when we asked for his references. I think we dodged a bullet there, and am glad he didn’t respond even more.

    Not a good way to be as a candidate for sure, and not what I would do. 

    But, the person who is doing the hiring is in the power position. It is up to that person to behave the right way. If a candidate ghosts you, thank goodness you did not hire them, just as much as the guy who threatened to sue!

    • #14
    • August 13, 2019, at 12:09 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  15. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens Post author

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    The reality is that pay is not the number one motivator. In fact, it is not in the top 5. Work is 1/3 of our lives. Having a great team, a great manager, good people to work with all make a bigger difference than money. Oh, money can offset some of that, but if the environment is bad, people will turn over.

    Good for them for retooling.

    We’ve been using (with 3rd party help) DISC assessments and a related one that looks at core motivators on 6 axes (Utilitarian, Theoretical, Social, Aesthetic, Individualistic, and Traditional). These have been aids both in screening (someone with a sky-high Social motivator is the not someone you want anywhere near HR roles as they’ll constantly be taking sides and meddling), and in working with existing employees to better steer them into work they both enjoy and are good at doing. You don’t want someone with a low Aesthetic motivator trying to do consumer-facing design work, they just won’t care. Very fascinating process all around.

    Yes those sorts of tools can be helpful. 

    Though, I think it hurt me in looking for a job. I scored very high on the big picture, strategic areas and was looking at a director slot. It was clear they thought I would be unhappy more hands on. That ignores the fact that on my way to CEO I did exactly those sorts of jobs, and high performance in them was why I became CEO in the first place. I might prefer to run the show, but I have already been in the trenches. 

    • #15
    • August 13, 2019, at 12:11 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  16. Mark Camp Member

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    But, the person who is doing the hiring is in the power position.

    The person who is applying to be an employee is also in the power position, just like the person who is seeking to be an employer.

    A person seeking an employee has one best opportunity, a candidate who will only accept his offer if it beats that of every one of his own best opportunities.

    A person seeking an employer has one best opportunity, a candidate who will only accept his offer if it beats that of every one of his own best opportunities.

    There are no classes in markets. Marx was wrong.

     

    • #16
    • August 13, 2019, at 4:47 PM PST
    • 1 like
  17. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens Post author

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    But, the person who is doing the hiring is in the power position.

    The person who is applying to be an employee is also in the power position, just like the person who is seeking to be an employer.

    A person seeking an employee has one best opportunity, a candidate who will only accept his offer if it beats that of every one of his own best opportunities.

    A person seeking an employer has one best opportunity, a candidate who will only accept his offer if it beats that of every one of his own best opportunities.

    There are no classes in markets. Marx was wrong.

     

    That theory does not match practice. If I have a job to fill, I have it. A job seeker only has power with more than one offer.

    • #17
    • August 13, 2019, at 6:31 PM PST
    • 1 like
  18. Gary McVey Contributor

    This is a fascinating discussion. Even the disagreements are intelligent and worth pondering. I wonder if some of you guys might consider a “Being the Boss” podcast. 

    I managed people for roughly 30 years, but I could get away with being unscientific about it. It was showbiz, if a fairly esoteric branch of it, and management style was adapted from Fort Benning’s “Follow Me” motto. Unlike, say, SkipSul’s work, no one expected my “products” to stand all weather use for the next twenty years without fail. 

    • #18
    • August 13, 2019, at 6:57 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  19. Mark Camp Member

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    That theory does not match practice. If I have a job to fill, I have it. A job seeker only has power with more than one offer.

    That’s incorrect. In fact, this theory completely determines practice. A person has power whenever all of these are true

    • he owns a thing
    • one or more others
      • want that thing
      • own something they are willing to trade for it

     

    • #19
    • August 13, 2019, at 8:24 PM PST
    • Like
  20. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens Post author

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    That theory does not match practice. If I have a job to fill, I have it. A job seeker only has power with more than one offer.

    That’s incorrect. In fact, this theory completely determines practice. A person has power whenever all of these are true

    • he owns a thing
    • one or more others
      • want that thing
      • own something they are willing to trade for it

     

    Mark,

    Therein lies the Rub: When you are job seeking, no one want your thing, they want thing. You have to sell your thing. 

    The reality that the person doing the hiring has more power in the interview process than the person being considered. For most people who have spent months looking for a job, they do not experience a sensation of power.

    • #20
    • August 14, 2019, at 6:18 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  21. SkipSul Moderator

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    This is a fascinating discussion. Even the disagreements are intelligent and worth pondering. I wonder if some of you guys might consider a “Being the Boss” podcast.

    I managed people for roughly 30 years, but I could get away with being unscientific about it. It was showbiz, if a fairly esoteric branch of it, and management style was adapted from Fort Benning’s “Follow Me” motto. Unlike, say, SkipSul’s work, no one expected my “products” to stand all weather use for the next twenty years without fail.

    Not a podcast I would feel comfortable giving. Small businesses with a bunch of eccentrics have limited lessons for other businesses. And truth be told, I actually don’t like “being a boss” because I don’t like managing people. I do it anyway because I have a responsibility to the people I employ, but I really do not enjoy it.

    • #21
    • August 14, 2019, at 6:23 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  22. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens Post author

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    This is a fascinating discussion. Even the disagreements are intelligent and worth pondering. I wonder if some of you guys might consider a “Being the Boss” podcast.

    I managed people for roughly 30 years, but I could get away with being unscientific about it. It was showbiz, if a fairly esoteric branch of it, and management style was adapted from Fort Benning’s “Follow Me” motto. Unlike, say, SkipSul’s work, no one expected my “products” to stand all weather use for the next twenty years without fail.

    Not a podcast I would feel comfortable giving. Small businesses with a bunch of eccentrics have limited lessons for other businesses. And truth be told, I actually don’t like “being a boss” because I don’t like managing people. I do it anyway because I have a responsibility to the people I employ, but I really do not enjoy it.

    Gallup has shown that only 1 in 10 people are natural managers, and about 1 in 8 can be taught. That is why most management is only so-so, because we have too many people not great it it doing it.

    But, Skip, I think you would have something to contribute. .

    I am looking at a leadership podcast of sorts, but don’t have the ground work laid yet.

    • #22
    • August 14, 2019, at 6:33 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  23. Mark Camp Member

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    That theory does not match practice. If I have a job to fill, I have it. A job seeker only has power with more than one offer.

    That’s incorrect. In fact, this theory completely determines practice. A person has power whenever all of these are true

    • he owns a thing
    • one or more others
      • want that thing
      • own something they are willing to trade for it

     

    Mark,

    Therein lies the Rub: When you are job seeking, no one want your thing, they want a thing. You have to sell your thing.

    The reality that the person doing the hiring has more power in the interview process than the person being considered. For most people who have spent months looking for a job, they do not experience a sensation of power.

    Concerning our respective understandings of the basics of economics, we have so little in common that we can’t have an intelligent discussion. But any understanding economics is irrelevant to business management, which is what your great post is about.

    • #23
    • August 14, 2019, at 5:50 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  24. Vance Richards Member

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    Gallup has shown that only 1 in 10 people are natural managers, and about 1 in 8 can be taught. That is why most management is only so-so, because we have too many people not great it it doing it.

    That leads to another question. I have seen some great employees get promoted to management positions that they are not well suited for. So, you take someone away from what they are good at and put them into a position where they are likely to fail, all in an effort to reward them for their good work.

    How do you recognize, promote, reward your star achievers if they are not naturally management material (and you numbers suggest many are not)?

    • #24
    • August 15, 2019, at 6:48 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  25. SkipSul Moderator

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    Gallup has shown that only 1 in 10 people are natural managers, and about 1 in 8 can be taught. That is why most management is only so-so, because we have too many people not great it it doing it.

    That leads to another question. I have seen some great employees get promoted to management positions that they are not well suited for. So, you take someone away from what they are good at and put them into a position where they are likely to fail, all in an effort to reward them for their good work.

    How do you recognize, promote, reward your star achievers if they are not naturally management material (and you numbers suggest many are not)?

    Ever read The Peter Principle? It was re-issued a few years back, and is entirely about this subject. As I recall (it’s been maybe 8 years since I last read it), it did not have too many answers other than “don’t promote people who should not be promoted, because then you can never easily demote them.” Was more identifying the signs and avoiding traps. 

    From what I’ve seen, some people you have to groom to be management, others are naturals, many are never going to be in management at all. The thing is, there are many who don’t want to be management and will tell you if they feel it safe to say so. Others you can reward with pay and perks, or non-management types of promotions (giving them some seniority and authority). Others will chafe, though, and maybe you can make them do some classes first, and then use their performance in those classes to deny the promotion – you gave them an honest chance, and maybe they’ll realize they weren’t cut out for the promotion. I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules, though, as so much depends on personality.

    • #25
    • August 15, 2019, at 7:03 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  26. EODmom Coolidge

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    I just read your part one. I am currently searching for a new job and was really shocked when a couple places I interviewed with never got back to me. Never replied to my emails or voicemails. Rejection I can handle, but just not replying at all? That can sour you to a company and if they later advertise another position, one you are more qualified for, it is doubtful that you will apply.

     

    I think this is the norm now, so try to accept that it’s not your resume or qualifications that are the problem. Corporate behaviour by lower level screening managers is the human equivalent to the computer screener, with no civility involved. I think it’s one of the factors you can reasonably use to decide whether a company would be a good match, regardless of the position.

     Job search is an agonizing and potentially debilitating activity and is usually more of a marathon than a sprint. I know it’s easy for me to say, when I’m not the one doing it, but 6 weeks after you’re in your new job you won’t think about it. The right job will find you. Don’t forget to breathe. 

    • #26
    • August 15, 2019, at 8:05 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  27. EODmom Coolidge

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    Gallup has shown that only 1 in 10 people are natural managers, and about 1 in 8 can be taught. That is why most management is only so-so, because we have too many people not great it it doing it.

    That leads to another question. I have seen some great employees get promoted to management positions that they are not well suited for. So, you take someone away from what they are good at and put them into a position where they are likely to fail, all in an effort to reward them for their good work.

    How do you recognize, promote, reward your star achievers if they are not naturally management material (and you numbers suggest many are not)?

    So much depends on what I’ll call the achievement track for a given field or profession: how do the motivated, self directed achievers with the right skill set (and often also just at the right time) rise and be rewarded in an organization. Sometimes what’s really needed by the organization is the “do-ers” (engineers, sales people, oil finding geologists, closing pitchers…) and not manager/supervisors. That’s a real challenge when there’s a big mismatch. Not all superior courtroom lawyers make good partners but the firm needs to win cases. Not all organizations (I’ll bet very few) have that much self awareness to find a way to keep the Star self directed, happy and performing. Most can’t just throw money at the performer – and as pointed out, money’s not necessarily the prime motivator. I never minded having more thrown my way but..

    • #27
    • August 15, 2019, at 8:18 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  28. Vance Richards Member

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    Gallup has shown that only 1 in 10 people are natural managers, and about 1 in 8 can be taught. That is why most management is only so-so, because we have too many people not great it it doing it.

    That leads to another question. I have seen some great employees get promoted to management positions that they are not well suited for. So, you take someone away from what they are good at and put them into a position where they are likely to fail, all in an effort to reward them for their good work.

    How do you recognize, promote, reward your star achievers if they are not naturally management material (and you numbers suggest many are not)?

    Ever read The Peter Principle? It was re-issued a few years back, and is entirely about this subject. As I recall (it’s been maybe 8 years since I last read it), it did not have too many answers other than “don’t promote people who should not be promoted, because then you can never easily demote them.” Was more identifying the signs and avoiding traps.

    From what I’ve seen, some people you have to groom to be management, others are naturals, many are never going to be in management at all. The thing is, there are many who don’t want to be management and will tell you if they feel it safe to say so. Others you can reward with pay and perks, or non-management types of promotions (giving them some seniority and authority). Others will chafe, though, and maybe you can make them do some classes first, and then use their performance in those classes to deny the promotion – you gave them an honest chance, and maybe they’ll realize they weren’t cut out for the promotion. I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules, though, as so much depends on personality.

    Dealing with technical folks it is not unusual to find an IT genius with just so-so people skills (and in a lot of cases “so-so” is a bit too generous). Then, because some people insist on looking at everything hierarchically, you have some mid-level managers upset because they make less than some of the folks they manage. I look at it like baseball. Aaron Boone manages the Yankees but most of his players make more than he does (although he does make more than Aaron Judge . . . but that will change).

    • #28
    • August 15, 2019, at 8:27 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  29. Mark Camp Member

    (Sorry for the crap formatting. It’s this damned software.)


    SkipSul (View Comment)
    :
    Others you can reward with pay and perks, or non-management types of promotions (giving them some seniority and authority).

    1. The management adviser needs to teach the manager how to avoid the error of failing to provide the optimal non-management career/compensation path. That’s the part you bring up.

    No easy task to figure out what that is, which is why we pay management advisers the big bucks.A person who doesn’t understand business might think that there IS an easy answer. Just recognize that technical skill is under-rated and management skill is over-rated. Top technical people are as valuable as or perhaps more valuable than top management people.

    Unfortunately, that’s not true. There is no general law that tells you generically which of those skills has higher marginal value at a point in time for any one enterprise. It could well be marginally profitable to raise the pay for a management position by $10,000 per year in order to retain a so-so manager, performing at the 55th percentile, and avoid settling for another slightly lower performing manager at 50th. And yet it would be marginally unprofitable to raise the pay of top technical performers, performing at the 90th percentile, by the same $10,000, in order to avoid settling for 50th percentile workers!

    2. He must also teach the manager to recognize the best possible decision in cases where the manager is inclined to believe that every decision leads to a bad outcome (because the manager doesn’t understand marginal value, which many folks don’t).There will be the case of a worker who

    • is not a good candidate for management
    • is a top technical performer
    • believes he is a good candidate for management
    • wants to be a manager
    • will leave the enterprise if he doesn’t get the management job

    who should be allowed to leave, rather than being paid or otherwise rewarded enough to keep him.

    • #29
    • August 15, 2019, at 9:14 AM PST
    • 1 like
  30. SkipSul Moderator

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    There will be the case of a worker who

    • is not a good candidate for management
    • is a top technical performer
    • believes he is a good candidate for management
    • wants to be a manager
    • will leave the enterprise if he doesn’t get the management job

    who should be allowed to leave, rather than being paid or otherwise rewarded enough to keep him.

    I had a horror story with a situation like this. My business is a family business, with my father as one of the partners and the CEO. Over my strenuous objections, he promoted someone like this to management, and they were a complete disaster. No people skills, absolute contempt for anyone they deemed less “brilliant” than themselves, thought they knew better how to run every other department too, and couldn’t keep anyone working for them. Didn’t help they had an especial contempt for me personally and were routinely grossly insubordinate to me, even to the point of sabotaging my own work. My father adamantly believed their departure would cost us dearly, technically, and refused to discipline or fire this creep for 2 years. Thankfully they kept demanding more and more power to the point where even my father had to refuse, and they stormed out. Worst 2 years of my working life.

    • #30
    • August 15, 2019, at 9:36 AM PST
    • 3 likes