Finding the Best Fit

If you don't know what you're looking for, how will you know if you've found it?

The goal of an interview is to determine whether a given candidate matches the position available. If our hiring process doesn’t provide a clear answer to this fundamental question, we will make inappropriate hires and our business will suffer.
 
To fill a position, we need clarity – a lot of it. We’re looking for 4 things to be clear any time we’re ready to hire someone:

1. Is the position clear? That is, has the organization carefully evaluated its needs, evaluated the functions required and designed a position that fits? And does the candidate understand the position that’s available?

2. Is the vision clear for what the new hire will bring?  (HINT: If the position is clear, this vision is also usually clear.) At ThistleSea, we view this through the lens of the “3Cs” – competence, commitment, and chemistry. When we’ve got a vision for the new hire, we should be able to say things like:

Not ideal on the "commitment" scale.

Not ideal on the "commitment" scale.

  • Competence: The new hire needs to: have advanced typing skills and knowledge of MS Office, have supervisory experience of at least 3 people in the past, and be exceptionally good at written and phone communication.

  • Commitment: The new hire needs to: be self-motivated and self-directed, handle stress well and calmly, and have an attitude that views errors as experience. Is the candidate willing to do what it takes to perform at a high level?

  • Chemistry: The new hire needs to: be collaborative and supportive of the team, and be comfortable with goals and goal-setting for her/himself and others. Will the candidate fit well in the current company culture?

3. Is the vision clear for what this candidate can bring? When a real person is sitting in front of us, we need to know if they demonstrate the 3Cs we’re seeking! The interview questions we ask should elicit responses that reveal the competencies, level of commitment and chemistry that would make the candidate a good cultural fit.

4. Does our vision match what the candidate can bring? If they match, this candidate might be a good hire. If they don’t match, we need to be honest about whether our organization can accommodate the mismatches. Following the interview, we should be able to explain clearly the matches and mismatches. If we can’t do this, we may need to change our interview questions.


Too often, we ask supervisors or HR staff members with only cursory knowledge of a position to interview candidates. It’s a bad idea.
 
You’ll only recognize the right person when you know the 3Cs needed to be successful in that role – and you see that the candidate has got them.

If you're looking to upgrade your talent, we can help.

Leading yourself first

relationship with yourself.jpg

It's not an accident that "leadership" is our Abundance newsletter topic more often than any other. But we don't often discuss that "leading yourself first" can make the difference between a life of abundance... and not. In fact, we estimate that 95% of our clients list personal goals - ways they'd like to lead themselves better - when they're considering the futures of their businesses.

From eating more healthily to spending quality time with loved ones, it seems that leading yourself first isn't part of business school curricula or a requirement of funding pitches. It's multi-faceted, and some things are likely to come more easily to you than others. We divide it into a few arenas, and for the sake of brevity, we'll list just a few items under each:

Oh, man. Go to sleep.

Oh, man. Go to sleep.

Your bedrock tools

  1. Define your values
  2. Recognize and reduce your negative self-talk
  3. Prepare a personal mission statement

Your physical self

  1. Get plenty of rest
  2. Exercise regularly
  3. Get regular check-ups

Your personal finances

  1. Put insurance policies in place
  2. Complete estate planning
  3. Create plan for retirement (financial and otherwise)

Your mind

  1. Prioritize your activities to maximize your time
  2. Spend quality time with loved ones
  3. Spend time on a hobby

As with any changes, it's best not to do too much at once. If you've been working hard to lead yourself and you're not gaining traction, try to do a little less. And contact us for assistance.

The Cure for a Business Filled with Assumptions

One of the most important concepts I discovered as a business coaching client was just two words long: “Never assume.” What kinds of things did I assume as a business owner?

  • Every stakeholder knows and shares my vision for success.
  • Employees will follow the company’s policies and procedures. (In retrospect, "HAHAHAHAHA!")
  • Staff members will share their discontent with me if it occurs.
  • Employees will share my values.
  • Vendor relationships are adversarial in nature.
Turns out there's a reason EVERYBODY knows this saying.

Turns out there's a reason EVERYBODY knows this saying.

Were my assumptions wrong? Well, yes and no.
 
Some stakeholders knew my vision for success. Some employees followed company policies and procedures. Some staff shared discontent with me when it occurred. Some shared my values. Some vendors tried to take advantage of the company. The problem was not that my assumptions were all wrong; it was that by assuming, I could never be sure.

Business coaching helped me to understand the dangers of assuming, and then to make changes in my behavior to stop doing it.

BEFORE (Assumptions) AFTER THISTLESEA COACHING
Every stakeholder knows and shares my vision for
success.
I need to know the vision. I need to communicate it often. We
need to discuss it, ask questions about it, and lead people to
share and adopt it.
Employees will follow the company’s policies and
procedures.
"These are our company’s policies and procedures. Here’s
where they’re written down, and these are the people who can answer questions.
You’re expected to understand and follow them. If you choose not to do so, here
are the consequences you can expect."
Staff will share their discontent with me if it
occurs.
"We’ll check in as a group daily and with each other
periodically. Your supervisor will meet with you individually on a regular
schedule, and you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions, speak openly,
receive performance feedback, etc. If you’d like to speak directly or you’re
experiencing a problem that isn’t being resolved, here’s the best way to
schedule time together."
Employees will share my values. "The values that drive our company are _____, ____, and
_____. We honor our values among ourselves, with our customers, vendors and
competitors. On Wednesday, Amanda demonstrated our value of ______ when she
________."
Vendor relationships are
adversarial in nature.
"Here’s what we need and expect now, as outlined in our
written agreement. Let’s schedule a 6-month review so we can correct any
issues, learn about new services, etc. If we have immediate needs, what’s the
best way to get a fast response?"

Assumptions can be hard to identify, particularly if you’re assuming things correctly.
 
Communicating clearly elevates the importance of top performance in your company. It gives all parties the opportunity to decide, “Now that I understand this, am I on board? Or not?” It leaves no room for drama, ambiguity, excuses or blame.
 
The next time you’re surprised at something that happens in your business, ask yourself why. It’s likely that you assumed incorrectly… just like I did. Let us know if we can help. Reviewing your assumptions may be your key to success.

ThistleSea Announces Two New Leadership Coaching programs

For those desiring to be more powerful, effective leaders

Executive Leadership Coaching Program

This advanced program is designed to strengthen the competencies of business owners and executives, set a baseline for both individuals and organizational current leadership, review benchmarks for the current state and help establish goals and priorities for future leadership development and coaching. 

This program will help you self-discover, reflect upon and identify the strength of your leadership competencies and skills in ten core areas. These core areas are a unique compilation of knowledge and insights gleaned from top leaders, executives, educators and mentors from around the world. 

The 10 core areas include: 

  1. Self-Awareness
  2. Communication Skills and Conflict Management
  3. Self-Discipline, Focus and Decision Making
  4. Relationship-Building and Social Intelligence
  5. Executing for Results
  6. Persuasion and Influence
  7. Teamwork and Innovation
  8. Shaping Culture and Organizational Change
  9. Thinking Strategically and at a Higher Level
  10. Positive Psychology


Emerging Leadership Coaching Program

Some employees who are great at their technical work may be emerging as potential leaders for the future. As the company grows and retirement of the baby boomer generation accelerates, what are you doing to avoid the high cost of turnover? Are you training your high potential employees to successfully take on new roles in supervision and leadership positions? 

The Emerging Leadership Coaching Program is designed for the high potential employees who are part of a company’s transition plans to move into supervision, management and executive leadership roles in the future and for those leaders who want to refresh their own leadership skills. 

This program focuses on strengthening leadership through application of best practices in the following 15 areas:

  1. Business Systems
  2. Choice Management
  3. Coaching
  4. Communications
  5. Customer Experience
  6. Financial Management
  7. Gross Profit
  8. Human Resources
  9. Leadership
  10. Management
  11. Marketing
  12. Motivation
  13. Personal Effectiveness
  14. Sales
  15. Strategic Planning

Both programs are designed to provide you with the tools for a leadership journey that will inspire and excite, strengthen the business, and apply leadership best practices. Organizations can use these programs in a group, one-on-one, or customized for their specific needs. 
 

To learn more, contact one of our ThistleSea business coaches at 724-935-1930 or info@thistlesea.com
 

"I've heard I should be networking."

"But what does it mean, and why should I bother?"

Let's start with "why." Networking:

  • Creates a vehicle for you to help others
  • Puts opportunities in front of you
  • Allows you to make choices about who, when, where, why and how you meet others

What does networking look like?

  • Regularly scheduled meetings
  • Social events
  • Non-profit or charity events
  • Educational seminars or classes
  • Award presentations
  • One-on-one meetings

You'll notice that one item missing from "Why" is "To get more business." Yes, it's absolutely possible that building your network will add revenue to your company. However, if you begin networking with the sole question, "What's in it for me?" you're going to be discouraged. Instead of focusing on your own dollars, concentrate instead on connecting people to each other and helping them meet their goals.

If you haven't put effort into building your network before, that's okay. But start now! An easy way to make networking a habit is to join a group that holds regular events (many are low-cost or no-cost) and then (THIS IS IMPORTANT) put the scheduled events on your calendar.

It's okay not to have perfect attendance, but remember, people can only know, like and trust you if you show up. 

John, Wendy, Jayne and I believe so strongly in the importance of building networks that we happily invite you to attend a networking event as our guest. Check out our Events page for some ideas or email us.

It's a little scary to do something new, especially when everyone else seems so practiced. Just remember the words of "Eat That Frog" author Brian Tracy, "You can only grow if you're willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new."

A Path to Growth or Destruction?

Using peer review as a strategic competitive advantage

By John D. Laslavic, LPBC

Many company leaders are strong-willed individuals. While this can be a strength, it can also reveal itself as a dangerous strand of stubbornness that can negatively impact a business. Some may struggle with obtaining and integrating advice from peer groups.  

Common feelings CEOs and presidents express about having peer review (i.e. board of directors, advisory board, outside committees, a business or executive coach, etc.) include:

  • “What if people find out I don’t have a strong vision and action plan for my company?”
  • “I’m not that comfortable communicating internally… or externally.”
  • “Will I lose authority by involving others in my thinking?”
  • “Will a board (committee, coach, etc.) interfere with my decision making?”
  • “It costs too much and takes too long.”
  • “I know what I’m doing, and people should focus on my getting it done.”
  • “What happens if I try something (based on peer review) and it fails?”
  • “I don’t really understand what the board (committee, etc.) was trying to say.”
  • “It’s a pain.”

Just because a company uses peer review of some kind doesn’t mean it’s effective, however. Organizations already using peer review may be on the wrong path if they see the following happening:

  • Peer review group agendas not focused on vision, future direction, policy, strategy, KPIs and financial results.
  • SMART goals not established.
  • Peer review participants unwilling to voice their opinions. 
  • Company making adjustments for individual people’s needs without consideration for the company’s mission.
  • Minimal communication from the owner, president or CEO.
  • Decline or stagnation in company growth.
  • Key employees leaving the company.

If you observe these situations in your organization (or you’re observing these situations as a trusted advisor), you might consider recommending or improving the process by inviting people to serve in a peer advisory capacity who:

  • Are financially independent from the company.
  • Are not afraid to voice their opinions.
  • Know things you don’t.
  • Agree with the company’s mission, vision and values.
  • Agree to be open to suggestions, listen to and work closely with peers who desire to bring new life to the company.

If used properly, peer review is an excellent way to provide your organization perspective to improve governance, business operations and product/service growth. 

Our ThistleSea team advises that 2017 business planning and budgeting should begin now. Evaluate your current peer review efforts to gain additional expertise and ideas. Adding an advisor, business coach or a peer review group to assist you might give you the advice and guidance you need to excel. Just be open enough to take their good advice and put it into action.

Contact a ThistleSea team member if we can help you and your company create a peer review process. Doing so should help your company grow revenue, expand operations and help you to personally prosper.