If I were running a company today, I would have one priority above all others: to acquire as many of the best people as I could. I’d put off everything else to fill my bus. Because things are going to come back. My flywheel is going to start to turn. And the single biggest constraint on the success of my organization is the ability to get and to hang on to enough of the right people. - Jim Collins
A couple of years ago I was asked to give a speech to a large audience of HR executives. Not being an HR executive and knowing next to nothing about the technical issues of HR (Pensions, Health Care Plans, Performance Management Systems, etc.) I was at a loss for a subject. ”What would HR executives want to hear?” I asked myself. Then I turned the question around: “What do HR executives need to hear?” Now I really had a topic.
So I called up a few of my CEO clients and asked them to give me their feelings and experiences with HR. I listened intently, after all nearly every company promotes the line that “people are our most important asset”. Here’s a few direct quotes:
“HR considers itself separate from the business…they talk about the business as a client and wanting to do Needs Assessments and a Gap Analysis…….NO! That’s not what I want. I want their butt on the line, like the rest of us. Get in the fray of the operations and help make something positive happen!”
“To be honest, I tune out after a while when the HR exec starts talking….I get too much process, and not enough real
solutions to business problems.”
“What would I really like from HR? Just find me great people…not great resumes, but people who can make things happen in the business. Find me one Michael Jordan…..on second thought, find me a dozen. Then HR would be adding real value to the business.”
So, I prepared my speech: Would your HR department hire Michael Jordan?
- NBA Superstar, played on 6 Championship teams
- 1,072 games and 32,292 points, avg. of 31 its/game
- 5 time NBA MVP
- $35M salary and $80M from Nike for endorsements
- 1999 – voted the greatest athlete of the 20th Century
- There wasn’t an open position.
- He hadn’t finished college and his grades were bad.
- He wore an earring to the interview.
- If he was impressive in the interview, HR would still want to bring in two other candidates for comparison purposes.
- It would take 90 days to make a hiring decision. If he asked how long it would take, HR would probably say: “We’re not certain. Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”
I can’t help but wonder how many potential superstars have been turned away by process-driven, rule bound HR departments who look for certain stereotypes that will “fit the mould” for the business.
Every CEO I meet and speak with is crying out for great talent. For people who will take accountability, make decisions, improve the business with creative thinking, push themselves and others to get better.
How do you find superstars for your business? If you found one, would she want to join your company?
Tight Lines . . .
John R Childress