The Discipline of Making Smarter People Decisions

Red shoes standing next start with arrow painted on ground

If you expect to make a key hire this year, follow the three steps below to begin the process for making smarter people decisions:

Focus on priorities
Begin by identifying the 3 to 5 most important outcomes that must be achieved in the next 12-18 months. What must be accomplished to move the business forward? What has not been accomplished in the recent past and cannot wait any longer? What organizational initiatives require exceptional attention, focus, and drive to deliver the desired outcomes? Of course, there are many duties and responsibilities that an individual in a vital role must perform throughout the year, but many of these simply distract the decision maker from focusing on the vital few that will make the biggest difference in realizing critical business outcomes. A long list of responsibilities becomes at best a job description. A short list of critical priorities with accompanying detailed metrics becomes the basis for developing a scorecard for sourcing and evaluating people.

Identify competencies
With the priorities and metrics clear, a leader should next specify the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to realize the desired outcomes. Equally important are the behaviors necessary to act on the targeted priorities. Specify those behaviors which are important to realizing the desired outcomes in a manner consistent with organizational norms and values. Without clarity on the behaviors important to realizing a successful outcome in the context of the organization’s values and expectations, the people decision fails to consider the issue of fit. Many a poor hiring decision boils down to not adequately weighting this factor.

Create a position scorecard
Key priorities with metrics, experience and skills, and the right behaviors to realize results and support cultural values form the basis of a scorecard. You now have a guide for effectively evaluating people, which will enable you to make a smarter hiring decision. With the scorecard developed, you also have a clear and pragmatic guide for effectively on-boarding, coaching, and delivering performance feedback—all helping you to support the success of the individual selected to the position. As every effective leader knows, selecting the right person for the right job at the right time is but one of many opportunities to make smart people decisions. That said; none may be more important.