Before you find yourself in an SOS situation, check out Richard Warnerâ€™s All Hands on Deck. He explains how to get out of HR Hell and hire the right person for the job!
It happens all too often. You meet with a great candidate for that job opening, he nails the interview, and you hire him on the spot, thrilled to have found your man. (Or woman.) But the honeymoon ends abruptly. In a matter of days you realize you have hired someone totally unsuited for the job. Hoping to cut your losses, you allow him (or her) to stay on, vowing not to repeat your mistake. But as months and years go by, you slowly come to realize that your team is sprinkled with vaguely disappointing new hiresâ€”and theyâ€™re taking a toll on productivity and morale.
If you can relate to this scenario, donâ€™t despair. Richard Warner has some sage advice for anyone baffled by the art of proper â€œpeople placement.â€ In his new book, All Hands on Deck: Choosing the Right People for the Right Jobs (The Armarium Press, September 2006, ISBN: 978-09707825-40, $14.00), Warner explains how inadvertently hiring the wrong people for the wrong positions can sink your corporate shipâ€”and what you can do to get back on a profitable course.
â€œThe difference between running a company and running a great company often lies in whether or not you can fill the jobs you have available with the right types of people,â€ asserts Warner. â€œIt may sound overly simple, but really, thatâ€™s all there is to it. Learn how to see through the various disguises job candidates and employees wear, often inadvertently, and you can start helping them fly under their true colors.â€
With sword-sharp accuracy, the author defines the various categories most employees fall into and describes how to team up the perfect candidate with his or her ideal position.Â Sticking to a clever nautical analogy throughout, he defines the various types of workers you may stumble upon while manning your vessel.
Warner insists that with careful scrutiny you can weed out the scalawags and recognize a true treasure when you see one. But before you make anyone walk the plank, read on to learn about the various crewmembers you may encounter on your own ship:
The Explorer: â€œExplorers feel the most alive when facing the unknown,â€ Warner explains. â€œIf you want to develop new ideas and innovate old ones, find yourself an Explorer.â€ These brave souls are leaders, not followers. An Explorer thrives when he is able to take chances. Even in the face of uncertainty or setbacks, an Explorer will maintain a positive outlook and keep his eyes open for new opportunity.
Hint: Donâ€™t expect an explorer to adhere to rigid regulations. Give him a certain amount of freedom to explore his ideas, but never forget that as a manager it is also your job to reign in the ever-zealous Explorer from far-fetched or impractical ideas.
The Navigator:Â A Navigator is the Explorerâ€™s best friend. If Explorers dream up an idea thatâ€™s a real gem, the Navigator maps out the path to the treasure. A Navigator is handy because she is practical and holds steady while steering the team toward its destination. Though they operate in the here and now, Navigators are especially gifted at viewing the horizon as well. They have an uncanny knack for steering the team from point A to point Z without any unnecessary hitches in the companyâ€™s plans.
Hint: To better equip a new Navigator who joins your crew, explain to her your companyâ€™s overall history and the progress it has made in recent years. Navigators think linearly so they thrive when they understand how your company got to where it is today.
The Ship Captain: â€œThe Ship Captain is a jack-of-all-trades,â€ Warner insists. â€œHe knows the fundamentals of sales, accounting, engineering, HR, research and development, and most anything else he may run across.â€ A Ship Captain is a skilled leader who delegates tasks to various team members without micromanaging. He is a lot like the ideal parent: he never plays favorites and always takes time to address problems and give encouragement or advice.
Hint: Give a Ship Captain clear responsibilities and the authority to enforce all regulations within his realm of power. Remember that a good Ship Captain wonâ€™t worry about taking responsibility or making mistakes. If you notice him dumping his duties on someone else, consider demoting him to a more appropriate position on your ship.
The First Mate: The First Mate does not actually know how to tend the engines or hoist the sails, but she certainly knows the people who do! The first mate may not physically do all the work, but sheâ€™s as dependable as an onshore breeze and makes sure it gets done. She is kind, diplomatic, and above all, dependable. The First Mateâ€™s job is not high profile or flashy, but hers is a vital position to the teamâ€™s overall success. She moves about the ship almost unnoticed, accomplishing both minute and monumental tasks. She is aware of her shortcomings and works to improve upon them. She enhances her talents.
Hint: Donâ€™t forget to give your First Mate the praise she deserves. Her job is momentous but she can be overlooked in the chaos of the day-to-day routine, so thank her often and encourage her to speak up when she observes any potential or existing problems within the company.
The Crew Member:Â Crew Members make up the engine of any business. They are the ones who actually do the work. They donâ€™t implement their visions for the future of the company or negotiate ways to make a business run better. They simply execute their daily tasks with efficiency and finesse. â€œA Crew Member is usually dependable, dedicated, efficient, and expects a fair salary for an honest dayâ€™s work,â€ says Warner. â€œBut some Crew Members may also expect a big raise each year although their basic responsibilities have stayed the same.Â As an employer, you must find a way to keep Crew Members in line while also treating them fairly.â€
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Hint: It is always best to outline a Crew Memberâ€™s job responsibilities in writing. When left to memory, details can be edited to the favor of each individual worker and your tightly run ship may begin to falter as responsibilities fall to the wayside. Itâ€™s also important to remember to give Crew Members the credit they deserve. They are, after all, the hands and feet of your business, and when theyâ€™re the ones who interact with your customers, the faces.
The Stowaway: A Stowaway is an employee who wants a free ride at your expense. â€œThey have a fierce determination to do as little work as possible for the highest possible amount of pay,â€ Warner grimly asserts. The Stowaway is usually intelligent. He is a person who will often give a stellar interview due to his skills in manipulation. All his flashy enthusiasm will soon fade away, however, and you may find yourself face to face with a sniveling, whiny, and sometimes volatile nuisance!
Hint: It may pay off to spend a little energy trying to rehabilitate a Stowaway. When confronted with respect and encouragement, they can sometimes make total turnarounds and go on to be pleasures to work with. But if you find yourself wasting excessive time and energy on a Stowaway, it is best to cut your losses and throw him overboard before things get really ugly.
So there you have it. Chances are very good that all of your existing and potential employees fit into one of these categories. If your company does not run as smoothly as it once did, or as it could, you may consider moving some folks around until they all do the job they are best suited for. You may discover that you have a Stowaway lurking in your crew or even a Ship Captain who has all the while just been mopping the deck.
â€œAbove all, remember that the right person for the job is out there,â€ concludes Warner. â€œAs a member of leadership, you alone control the sails and it is up to you to discover the true potential of your team. But take heart. With a little determination and examination you can find the perfect person for each job and your company will be bound for smooth sailing in no time at all.â€
About the Author: Richard Warner has captained Warner Design Associates since its founding in 1978, leading his crew on projects for clients ranging from Sony Electronics to the San Diego Zoo. While weathering his share of employee tempests, he fine-tuned his ability to manage effectively by identifying basic personality types. Named the 2005 Marketer of the Year by the San Diego Direct Marketing Association, the author has been a guest lecturer at San Diego State University and Johns Hopkins University.
He earned his B.A. degree in graphic design/art from San Diego State University (1970), and a secondary teaching credential (1971), also from SDSU. Before creating Warner Design Associates, Richard taught high school in the San Diego City School District for seven years and was awarded â€œTeacher of the Yearâ€ at Crawford High School (1976).
Richard lives in San Diego with his wife of twenty-nine years and enjoys bodysurfing, cooking, travel, and golf.
About the Book: All Hands on Deck: Choosing the Right People for the Right Jobs (The Armarium Press, September 2006, ISBN: 978-09707825-40, $14.00) is available from major online booksellers and direct from the publisher at (877) 654-BOOK. For more information, please visit www.thearmariumpress.com.