Strategic Business and Market Trends with RD Watkins
When assessing new hires, a manager committed to the tenants of Sustainability should be asking this question, “Does this person have a synergistic Highest and Best Use within my organization in addition to functional utility?” In actuality, a manager’s thoughts are more often centered solely on the current candidate’s functional competencies and capacity. Many businesses simply try to fill open slots or positions within their organization with skilled personnel and the capacity to fill a functional need within particular areas of production. However, a shift in focus to other aspects of your soon to be hired human assets and resources may be the additional propellant that launches your company into a sustainable orbit. Your next hire may mean the difference between simply building a viable company and empowering a sustainable thriving enterprise.
Let me explain. In my mind a sustainable enterprise is fueled not only by strategies, technologies and the science available but, additionally by the synergistic and ever-renewing enthusiasm that many recognize in entrepreneurship. In that light, new hires and your existing employees might be considered “contributing entrepreneurs” and thereby builders of the sustainability your firm seeks. Sustainability must consider these human resources of production who will power the growth trajectory of the organization. Ignoring this element during the hiring processes potentially installs a virus within the ranks of your team and jeopardizes a manager’s goals and objectives. So, when soliciting and interviewing candidates for your next opening at your firm consider the following as the necessary new communication and perceptive capabilities that you, as the hiring manager and interviewer, should acquire, deploy and hone.
Be open in your job descriptions not only to the functional skills required but, begin to craft verbiage and questions that draw out the emotions, enthusiasm and purpose correlated career directions that may lurk within the respondents. Asking why a person is applying for the position may be as important as do they have the requisite skills and experience. Through a carefully crafted position description or requirement, you can telegraph the strengths you seek as to character, motivation and tenacity that need to be a part of your sustainable team. They may be a relative journeyman technician but, have an uncanny skill for resolving inter-cultural conflicts or generating innovative and cost effective solutions to business problems. Probing these past experiences and noting their ability to interact with others as well as spontaneously recognize and resolve problems can help you select a great new hire rather than someone you must manage to extract their value.
Building a sustainable team also entails a manager who can perceive the personality attributes that would fill remaining gaps in communication, be a basis of collaboration or become the catalyst for team breakthroughs. Select individuals who incorporate these propensities along with a functional skills portfolio needed within the team.
I envision a company as an engine driving toward the mission and vision statement, via the strategic plan, and supplying value to all the stakeholders. With that, the human resources are the fluids an engine needs to sustain its life and continue to produce power and forward movement toward those goals. Individuals are needed who are the lubricants; their skills are those of communication, facilitation and conflict resolution. Their default setting attracts them to issues within the team which they easily resolve and gain great satisfaction from. Then there are the coolants; the planners and moderators of enthusiasm who regulate and contribute direction to the team - often directing and pulling the reins when burnout is imminent. Of course there must be the fuel, these are the innovators; with their endless ideas and energy and ability to engage others to support their dreams they carry much of the visible production and relish in achievement of the team as a whole.
Without any of these human attributes and traits, the engine of your business may fail. Worse still, if you do not find and install these people as contributing components of your engine, you will be left trying to play all these roles and fulfill all these needs to sustain your business. This spells inevitable failure and burnout; the opposite of sustainability despite having a great product, service or innovation that contributes value to society.
Personnel sustainability is not an easy or a static state of production to achieve. We are talking about selecting, developing and coordinating living and dynamic beings with their own pursuits, weaknesses and strengths. Your employees are each individuals, with varying levels of self knowledge and with cycles of peak performance and lower states of energy and alignment to the team objectives. If it is your goal to build a sustainable business, become emotionally aware beyond the functional skills of your team and any potential new hire. During the hiring process, apply the due diligence needed to find the best and highest use for each individual. Orchestrate the functional skills with the default drivers of your teams psyche. Then watch and listen for the harmony that sustainability promises as one of its greatest benefits.
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