Sunday, September 7, 2008

Right People On The Right Jobs

The well known saying “People are our most important asset” is very true, if you concentrate on getting the right people for the right jobs. This is something that I have read lately in several books and witnessed in real life during organizational restructuring.

Charan and Bossidy, in their book Execution, state, “given the many things that businesses can’t control, from the uncertain state of the economy to the unpredictable actions of competitors,

You’d think companies would pay careful attention
to the one thing they can control –
the quality of their people,
especially those in the leadership pool.

Jim Collins, in his book Good to Great, says this is exactly what has been done in the great companies who outperformed the market. They have concentrated on “getting the right people on the bus, the right people on the right seats, and the wrong people off the bus” and only after that where to “drive the bus – how to take it to someplace great.” First who – then what.

Charan and Bossidy continue by saying that “the foundation of a great company is the way it develops people – providing the right experinces, such as learning in different jobs, learning from other people, giving candid feedback, and providing coaching education and training. If you spend the same amount of time and energy developing people as you do on budgeting, strategic planning, and financial monitoring, the payoff will come in sustainable competitive advantage.”

If you pay enough attention to the selection of people and development of people, you can honestly say that people are your most important asset.

The right people, or smart people, challenge you to think and work on a different level than you really thought possible, and the types of perspectives and interesting intellectual arguments they make really give you a whole new way of thinking about things, states Marissa Meyer from Google

Steve Jobs, in a Fortune Magazine interview, compares recruiting to finding needles in the haystack. He has participated in thousands of hirings and takes it very seriously.

Peter Ducker, in the Definitive Drucker, comments on the topic “The only thing that requires even more time (and even more work) than putting the right people into a job is unmaking a wrong people decision.”

Charan and Bossidy also say “When people are not in the right jobs, the problem is visible and transparent. But an alarming number of leaders don’t do anything to fix the problem.”

Redirecting or letting go of the people who are not right for their current job is though – I know, I have had to do that. But “the only way to deliver to people who are achieving in not to burden them with people who are not achieving”, Jim Collins quotes one of his case companies executives.

Every leader should remember these things about selection and development of people before they really can say “People are our most important asset”.

At the end some questions from another book by Ram Charan, Profitable Growth:

Do you have the right people with the right skills for what you are trying to do?

Are they in the right place?

Are you systematically developing the people and their skills?