“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.” - Albert Einstein
If the Annie E. Casey Foundation gave your organization a check for $30,000 tomorrow to spend on leadership development, how would you maximize that investment? Take 10 minutes to think about it and jot it down.
Now review the list.
Hopefully you will notice that all, if not most, of the items on your list require those involved to make a commitment of time and effort, in addition to the dollars to realize the value of it. For example, if “send the COO to Stanford’s Center of Social Innovation Executive Program” was one of the items on the list, in addition to the fee of $7k to 10k, the COO would have to: 1) dedicate two and a half weeks of time away from the office, 2) make a mental commitment to learning something new during the session, and 3) put the new awareness into action upon return to see the value of that program.
While having a funder “come to the rescue” might sound like the ideal solution, access to more money for capacity building by itself will not convert a low-performing organization into a high-performing one. The greater commitment is in getting people to think and behave in new ways to advance the organization’s goals.
Since you don’t have the luxury of waiting for the funders to “get hip” – the lives of the people you serve are on the line - my process focuses on “what action can we take now to maximize our impact using the resources we have available to us?” By taking steps now to break the cycle of inefficient and ineffective people practices, you not only maximize the impact your organization can have, but you also position your organization to attract collaborative partners.
What small action can you take right now to get the right people in the right jobs?
Pressed for ideas? Here are some:
- Sign up for the “Right People, Right Jobs” weekly email of targeted strategies you can use to put you one step closer to that goal.
- Write down the top 3 leadership and/or management skills needed for an existing or upcoming opening. Then, develop open-ended interview questions to assess a candidate’s proficiency in those skills. For example, if “conflict resolution” was one of the top skills, a good interview question could be “what are some of the techniques you have used in the past to resolve conflicts?” Remember to follow-up the candidate’s answer with probing questions to really understand her/his proficiency. (e.g. “how did that technique work out?”, “how would you use that technique in _______ situation?”)
- Write a 5-step action plan to address a “wrong fit” in your organization within the next 3 months. (e.g. Step 1 – Compile insight/documentation by 3/31, Step 2 – Place individual on Performance Improvement Plan by 4/15, etc, Step 3 – Check in and develop next steps by 5/15)
- Book a “Small Changes, Big Impact” session with me. Clients walk away from the session with a 6-week action plan (specific to their mission scope and capacity) to boost their talent assessment and retention competency by 30% or more.