I am going to focus on this so critical but so less debated topic.
People are the most important part of the transformation process. In times of change, strong senior leadership is crucial to steer an organisation through the inevitable upheavals it will encounter. Organisations cannot be changed without the support of key leaders.
The impact that leadership has on business outcomes as well as on organisational culture makes it almost a must to ensure a successful hiring and induction. Such recruitment is meant to deliver transformation while maintaining business continuity. Leaders need to have the ability to make employees see value in carrying out the alterations that must take place.
Often a key question is – should the hiring fix the here and now issues or should it lead to creation of a lasting value over the mid to long term. There are no obvious easy answers here and the complexities of business demand that both the imperatives be addressed in a balanced manner.
People come with great resumes and tremendous work history/experience base. Tough to argue with the document. But we all have seen too many instances of perfect resumes not being effective. So the need is to really understand them as individuals. What needs exploring are the intangibles of leadership, communication style and change agility.
The HOW of this assessment is the difficult part. The discussion has to shift from profession and work to the individual. More open ended topics like their impression of a situation, what they enjoyed about a book they read, how do they relate to people. A lot of what we become is ingrained during the initial formative years. Hence an understanding of the family background, where they grew up, the school they went to, what the parents do – are all significant. It gives a really good perspective about who they were as people. In a way it is an attempt to go beyond the obvious and explore the education, experience and the human factor.
So much time is spent with colleagues in the office that you need to make sure of the cultural fit. Look for people with a strong set of values, good work ethic and great communication skills. Leaders who can be a part of the team and motivate people, who are adaptable to change and have emotional intelligence. A critical requirement is the ability to be a talent magnet – amazing how a capable leader proliferates capable people all through the organisation.
At the recently concluded ET Awards for Corporate Excellence last Sunday, the most sought after management guru Ram Charan was asked on the traits to look for while selecting CEO’s. He responded so crisply :
– a person who has continually increased his or her sphere of work and bandwidth. Can the person handle complexity and sort/sift out and select properly the key issues
– does the person know how to make money – P&L understanding/management
– can they build internal and external relationships
– can they select the right people
Leadership can inspire and motivate an organisation to move in the targeted direction. Strong leaders who understand this necessity can engender a culture of empowering employees to move forward and keep the needed change on track.
2 possible actions to ponder :
– what qualities are dear to you when you seek to recruit and how do you assess people on those
– if your career objective is to become a CEO, determine the course you should chart to satisfy the Ram Charan criteria