Some Get It, Some Don’t

“Some of guys get it and some of them don’t,” Germain explained.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“I mean, we train them. We have a great training program. We send them to St Louis for two weeks at corporate. But when we put them in the field, some do well, but some struggle.”

“What do you think the problem is?” I pressed.

“I don’t know. Maybe they weren’t paying attention in class.”

“It’s one of four things,” I said.

  • Capability. Does the candidate have the capability necessary for the role?
  • Skill. Does the candidate have the skill, were they trained in the skills necessary for the role? Do they continue to practice the skill?
  • Interest or passion. Does the candidate have the interest or passion for the work? Do they place a high value on the work or a low value on the work?
  • Required behaviors. Does the candidate engage in the required behaviors necessary for the work? Some behaviors, you contract for. Some behaviors are driven by habits. Some behaviors are driven by culture.

I looked directly at Germain. “Which one is it?”

“I’m not sure if I know,” he replied.

“Germain, you are the hiring manager. Those four things should guide you in the interview. At this stage of the game, you shouldn’t be wondering.” -Tom
_____________________________________________
Management Myths and Time Span
The Research of Elliott Jaques
Public Presentation
October 6, 2016 – 8:00a – 12:00 noon
Holy Cross Hospital Auditorium
Fort Lauderdale Florida
More information and registration

What’s So Important That You Can’t Do This?

Management Myths and Time Span
The Research of Elliott Jaques
Public Presentation
October 6, 2016 – 8:00a – 12:00 noon
Holy Cross Hospital Auditorium
Fort Lauderdale Florida
More information and registration
__________________________________________
From the Ask Tom mailbag –

Question:
I can’t do it. I just can’t do it. We are growing fast. I am the manager-once-removed with three managers that report to me. Between the three of them, they need to hire five people. You say that I should be the quarterback, that I am accountable for the quality of the hiring decisions made by my team of managers. I have more important things to do than to screen resumes and conduct interviews. I say that is their job.

Manager-once-removed – O
_________________________

Hiring managers – O O O
_________________________

Open Roles – O O O O O

Response:
Perhaps you are right. You can’t do it. Maybe your role is overwhelming. Or maybe you think all that other work is more important.

What more important thing do you have to do, than to build the infrastructure of your teams?

Look, I know you are busy. And I know it seems like a lot to ask of you, to hire five people. So, let me pose this question. If you had to hire, not five, but fifty people, how would you do it? And I am not asking you to just open the flood gates, but make fifty effective hires, how would you do it?

The answer is, you would enlist the help and support from your hiring managers, your HR department, your technical person, your culture person. You cannot do this alone, but you are still the quarterback.

The central document in the hiring process is the role description. I don’t think you could write fifty role descriptions fast enough to keep up, so how would you do it? You would gather your team together and delegate out the pieces. You are still accountable for making sure quality role descriptions are written, but I would not expect you to personally do the writing.

And what is that other stuff you are doing, that you think is so important? -Tom

Interview Questions Do Not Come From the Resume

Management Myths and Time Span
The Research of Elliott Jaques
Public Presentation
October 6, 2016 – 8:00a – 12:00 noon
Holy Cross Hospital Auditorium
Fort Lauderdale Florida
More information and registration
__________________________________________
From the Ask Tom mailbag –

Question:
You said, in your workshop, that the resume wasn’t that important. I use the resume for all my notes and to help guide me through the interview.

Response:
I use the resume as a reference. It’s in the room with me, but it is not the piece of paper I hold in my hand. I only use it to nail down the name of an employer, the name of a project or a specific date range. I rarely read the resume for content, because the content has been carefully fluffed.

My questions do NOT come from the resume and I do not make my notes on the resume. I do not ask questions to increase my understanding of the resume. I do not need to correlate candidate responses to the narrative on the resume.

My questions come from the role description. I make my notes on a sheet, left column for my written questions, right side for my notes. I ask questions to increase my understanding of the candidate’s experience related to the role. I correlate candidate responses to the critical role requirements of the position.

When I evaluate each candidate to the same criteria in the role description, I can more easily distinguish between candidates’ capability and skill related to the role. The crucible that helps me form my judgment is not the candidate’s resume, it is the role description that defines what is necessary for success in the position.

How to Interview for Passion at S-IV Level of Work

Before we can interview for interest and passion, we have to define the work. It’s always about the work.

Most S-IV roles are integration roles, integrating systems and sub-systems for total organizational throughput. The tools at S-IV are system metrics. The role is typically an executive manager, VP or C-suite. Longest time span goals and objectives would be 2-3-4-5 years. Learning would be long-term (longitudinal) analytic. Highest level problem solving would include systems analysis (Senge-Fifth Discipline). Value-add to the organization is multi-system efficiency and total throughput. It is the role at S-IV to optimize multi-system output so that no one system overwhelms or drags on other systems, and to improve handoffs of work output from one system to the next system. One of the most important functions at S-IV is as the manager of S-III and the manager-once-removed (MOR) at S-II.

Managerial roles at S-IV are accountable for the output of the team at S-III.

Interview questions –

  • The purpose of these next questions is to look at some of the systems in your prior company and examine the way those systems worked together?
  • In your last role, list the functional systems that existed?
  • What was your role title?
  • Which single function were you most focused on?
  • Looking at that system, what impact did other systems have on its output?
  • Describe the balance or imbalance of your focus system and its surrounding system?
  • When one system in your organization was out of balance, in your role, how did you discover the imbalance?
  • When one system in your organization was out of balance, in your role, how did you influence or take direct action to correct the imbalance?
  • How did you communicate the corrective steps necessary to re-balance the systems?
  • How long did it take to re-balance the systems?
  • How did you know, what metrics indicated the systems were back in balance?
  • Step me through the work flow, start to finish as work moved from one function to another in your organization?
  • As work moved from one function to the next, how was that work transferred, communicated, handed-off?
  • Looking at the work transitions between functions, in your role, how did you detect problems?
  • Looking at the work transitions between functions, in your role, how did you influence or take direct action to improve the hand-off transitions?
  • How did you communicate the necessary steps to improve the hand-off transitions?
  • How did you document the hand-off transition steps?
  • How did you know when the hand-off transitions improved?
  • Tell me about another example?

Each of these questions asks for a specific piece of data about the candidate. And though we are trying to find out about an attitude or feeling, the questions are still laser focused on the work.

How to Interview for Passion at S-I Level of Work
How to Interview for Passion at S-II Level of Work
How to Interview for Passion at S-III Level of Work

How to Interview for Passion for Work at S-III

Before we can interview for interest and passion, we have to define the work. It’s always about the work.

Most S-III roles are system roles, building systems that don’t solve problems, but prevent them. The tools at S-III are work flow diagrams, time and motion studies, schematics, sequencing and planning. The role is typically the manager of a functional team (marketing, sales, business development, estimating, operations, QA/QC, warranty, research and development, HR, legal). Longest time span goals and objectives would be 12 months – 16 months – 20 months – 24 months. Learning would include analytic. Highest level problem solving would include root cause and comparative analysis. Value-add to the organization is consistency and predictability. It is the role at S-III to create the system, monitor the system, constantly improve the system. One of the most important systems at S-III is the people system inside the function.

Managerial roles at S-III are accountable for the output of the team at S-II.

Given a large customer problem, the central question for the S-III manager is, why didn’t our system prevent that problem, or at least, mitigate the damage from that problem.

Interview questions –

  • The purpose of these next questions is to look at some of the systems you built and how you built them. Tell me about a project you were accountable for, containing several steps, that was similar to other projects you completed in the past?
  • What was the project?
  • What was your role on the project?
  • How long was the project?
  • Using this project as an example, tell me about a system you created to solve its problems and make its decisions?
  • What were the circumstances in the project that lead you to create a system?
  • Step me through the system that you created?
  • How did you communicate the steps in the system to the team?
  • How did you test the steps in the system to make sure they were in the best sequence?
  • During the project, did any of the steps in the system change?
  • When steps in the system changed, how did you track the changes and modify the system?
  • When the project was totally complete, what parts of the system could be applied to other projects?
  • Think about the next project where that system was useful?
  • What was the project, why was that project a candidate to use the same system?
  • What modifications did you have to make to the system, so it had a positive impact of this next project?
  • How did you document the modification to the system?
  • How was this system important to the effectiveness of your functional team?
  • Tell me about another system you created related to a project in your company?

Each of these questions asks for a specific piece of data about the candidate. And though we are trying to find out about an attitude or feeling, the questions are still laser focused on the work.

How to Interview for Passion at S-I Level of Work
How to Interview for Passion at S-II Level of Work

How to Interview for Passion for Work at S-II

From the Ask Tom mailbag –

Question:
How do you interview for interest and passion, value for the work at S-II?

Response:
Before we can interview for interest and passion, we have to define the work. It’s always about the work.

Most S-II roles are coordinating, supervisory roles, using checklists, schedules and short meetings. The role could be project management, coordinating and first-line management. Longest time span goals and objectives would be short term, three months, six months, nine months, up to 12 months or one year. Learning would include documented experience, written procedures, articles, research, books and conversations with colleagues. Problem solving would include best practices, matching problems with proven (documented) solutions. Value-add to the organization is accuracy (quality), completeness and timeliness. It is the role at S-II to make sure production gets done, meets spec, totally finished and on deadline.

Managerial roles at S-II are accountable for the output of the team.

How does it feel to put a checklist together, and then hour by hour through the day, check things off as they are completed? What is the satisfaction, at the end of the day, to have a checkmark in every box? Some people get their daily juice from checklists. Some accountants get their daily juice from a bank reconciliation that balances to the penny. Interest and passion comes from work on which we place a high value. If we place a high value on the work, it is likely we will be interested and passionate about that work. Here are some questions about interest and passion for the work at S-II.

  • Tell me about a project you were accountable for, that had several steps in it that you had to coordinate and keep track of?
  • What was the project?
  • What was your role on the project?
  • How long was the project?
  • How was the project communicated to you by your manager?
  • Step me through how the project was organized, step by step?
  • How did you keep track of the steps?
  • How did you communicate the steps to the team?
  • At any point in the project, how could you tell the progress of the project?
  • During the project, did any of the steps change?
  • When steps in the project changed, how did you track the changes?/li>
  • When the project was totally completed, how did you communicate that to your manager?
  • When the project was totally completed, how did you communicate that to the team?
  • How were records about that project kept? stored? archived? or discarded?
  • Tell me about another project that had several steps in it that you had to coordinate and keep track of?

Each of these questions asks for a specific piece of data about the candidate. And though we are trying to find out about an attitude or feeling, the questions are still laser focused on the work.

How to Interview for Passion for the Work at Stratum I (S-I) Level of Work

How to Interview for Interest and Passion (for the work) at S-I

From the Ask Tom mailbag-

Question:
You say in your book that there are four absolutes for success in a role, and that it doesn’t matter what discipline.

  • Capability for the level of work
  • Skill, both technical knowledge and practice
  • Interest, passion for the work
  • Required behaviors

How do you interview for interest and passion?

Response:
Interest, or passion (for the work) depends on the value we place on that work. If we place a high value on a type of work, we will likely be interested in or passionate about that work. If we place a low value on the work, it is likely we will NOT be interested or passionate about the work.

So, stratum by stratum level of work, let’s start with Stratum I (S-I).

Most S-I roles are production related, using real tools or machinery. The role could be clerical, mechanical or technical. Goals and objectives would be short term, one day, one week, one month, up to three months. Learning would mostly be learning-by-doing (kinesthetic). Problem solving would mostly be trial and error (and high S-I would be highly skilled at trial and error problem solving, rapid trial and error). Value-add to the organization is quality (product quality, service delivery).

I was talking to a finish carpenter. I asked him the difference between quality workmanship and shoddy workmanship?

“Do you see that piece of trim?” he asked. “Show me the nails that attach it to the wall.”

“I don’t see any nails,” I replied. “You’re the finish guy, where are they?”

“Exactly, you can’t see the nails because I made them invisible. We use a tiny nail with a tiny head. We tap in the nail almost flush, careful not to put hammer marks in the wood. Then we tap the nail head below the surface of the wood with this tap-it device. Smear a fingernail of plastic wood to cover the indention, brush a little stain or paint and you will never find the nail. I dare you to find a single nail in this entire room.”
This was just a casual conversation, but my carpenter friend was dead serious about the quality of his finish work. In an interview, this understanding would guide my questions.

  • I want to ask you about three projects. And, they have to be real projects. First project, you had a lot of time, there was plenty of budget and schedule to go slow and pay attention to detail. Second project, you had to keep up a reasonable pace with a firm deadline. Third project, you were under the gun to knock the project out and could take any reasonable shortcut you could muster.
  • First project, plenty of budget and schedule to go slow, take your time, pay attention to detail. What was the project?
  • What was your role on the project?
  • How long was the project?
  • How was the budget and schedule communicated to you for the project? How did you understand the schedule and detail required?
  • What details were most important on this project?
  • What additional preparation was required?
  • What special tools or techniques were involved?
  • How much extra time did it take?
  • What were the visible results, different from other projects?
  • How was this work inspected by your manager, or the customer?
  • On this project, what were you most proud of?

Note, these same questions could be asked about many different kinds of roles working on many different kinds of projects.

  • Second project, standard production pace, nothing special. What was the project?
  • What was your role on the project?
  • How long was the project?
  • How was the budget and schedule communicated to you for this project? How did you understand the schedule and detail required, different from the first project?
  • What details were required, what details were less important on this project?
  • What preparation was required, different from the preparation on the first project?
  • What special tools or techniques were involved, different from the first project?
  • How much time was saved by foregoing some of the detail?
  • What were the visible results, different from the first project?
  • How was this work inspected (reviewed) by your manager?
  • On this project, what decisions did you personally have to make related to pace and quality?

Decision making as S-I level of work typically revolves around pace and quality. As you ask about these decisions, you will see the candidate’s attitude about the work, the value the candidate places on the work.

  • Third project, one where time was of the essence. You still had to meet the quality spec, but you had to really hustle to meet the deadline. What was the project?
  • What was your role on the project?
  • How long was the project?
  • How was the budget and schedule communicated to you for this project? How did you understand the schedule and detail required, different from the first two projects?
  • What details were required to meet the minimum quality standard, what details were less important on this project?
  • What preparation was required, different from the preparation on the first two projects?
  • What special tools or techniques were involved, different from the first two projects?
  • How much time was saved by foregoing some of the detail?
  • What were the visible results of the allowed shortcuts, different from the first two projects?
  • How was this work inspected (reviewed) by your manager?
  • On this project, what decisions did you personally have to make related to pace and quality?

Each of these questions asks for a specific piece of data about the candidate. And though we are trying to find out about an attitude or feeling, the questions are still laser focused on the work.

Next time, we will take a look at interest and passion (value for the work) at S-II. -Tom

Why Do Team Members Fail? A Managers Dilemma

  • I was careful in the interview, still picked the wrong person.
    I think I was careful in the interview process, selecting the right candidate. I was wrong. Wasted several weeks interviewing and several weeks finding out I hired the wrong person. Now, I have to start over at square one.
  • Promoted top performer to manager. Now failing.
    She was with the company for 12 years, top performer, everyone liked her. We promoted her to a game-breaker position and, now, she is failing, like a deer in the headlights. She is demoralized, embarrassed and wants to leave the company.
  • Senior Project Manager blows the deadline, again.
    He had a good plan in the meeting, schedule looked solid, but it’s Friday and I have to call the customer to explain that the project will be late. There is no reason for the delay, just an excuse.
  • At that pay level, shouldn’t have to hold their hand.
    I know the problem is tricky to solve, but if I have to answer one more question, I might as well do it myself.
  • If I told them once, told them a thousand times.
    The work instructions were clear. We reviewed them in the meeting. Everyone said they understood. There were no questions. We had more defects this week than last.
  • Sent him to manager training, same person came back.
    Our high hopes for this young manager are dashed. Showed such promise. Or did he?

Management Myths and Time Span
The Research of Elliott Jaques
presented by Tom Foster

October 6, 2016
Fort Lauderdale, FL

What this program covers – this is not re-packaged Leadership 101. Unless you have seen Tom, you have never seen this before.

  • Most who want to take their company to the next level don’t know what the next level is, nor the team required to get them there. Find out the difference between infancy, go-go, adolescence, prime and stable.
  • Unlock and understand the secret behind the Peter Principle, promoting someone to their level of incompetence, and how to test before the mistake is made.
  • Most companies underestimate what is really required for success in a role. Learn the Four Absolutes that must be in your hiring process.

Every CEO, executive and manager struggles with the hidden key to performance, revealed in this fascinating program.

October 6, 2016
8:00a – 12:00 noon

Program starts at 8:30a sharp
Holy Cross Hospital Auditorium
4725 North Federal Highway
Fort Lauderdale FL 33308

Reserve Now $200
Vistage/TEC Members and their Guests, ONLY $99

Seating is limited
PLUS – each participant receives a complimentary copy of Tom’s latest book –
Outbound Air
Levels of Work in Organizational Structure

Register by credit card or PayPal –
Reserve my seat – Registration link – $200 per person
I am a Vistage/TEC member or Guest- Only $99 per person

About Tom
Tom Foster is the author of two books on this subject –

  • Outbound Air – Levels of Work in Organizational Structure
  • Hiring Talent – Levels of Work in the Behavioral Interview

Tom travels North America working with CEOs on what happens when companies get bigger, from a dozen employees to a hundred, five hundred, to a thousand plus. Since 2004, he has delivered this workshop to more than 450 groups, more than 6,000 executives.

In Broward County, Florida, Tom runs multiple executive peer groups, where, since 1995, he has delivered more than 14,000 hours as an executive coach to CEOs. His client base is diverse, from retail to distribution, manufacturing, construction, education, software, professional and industrial services. Tom is an expert on business models, organizational structure and hiring.

But, My Team Gives Me the Wrong Answer

Our Working Leadership Series kicks off Sep 9, 2016 in Fort Lauderdale. For more information follow this link – Working Leadership.
_____________________________________

Question:
I use questions to coach my team members, and they provide answers but not always the right answer. As a result, the conversation can appear like an inquisition. It’s challenging, at that time, not to revert to “telling” rather than “asking“.

Response:
If you are asking a question and you don’t get the response you want, it’s not because the response is wrong, it’s because you are asking the wrong question. -Tom

Working Leadership Program Kicks Off Sep 9, 2016 in Fort Lauderdale

Sep 9, 2016 kicks off our next Working Leadership Series in Fort Lauderdale Florida. This program contains twelve modules in six classroom sessions. The program instructor will be Tom Foster (that’s me).  

Who Should Attend? – This program is designed for Stratum III and Stratum IV managers who are currently in leadership roles.

If you would like to pre-register for the program, use the Ask Tom link, tell me a little about yourself and we will add you to the pre-registration list.

Schedule – Curriculum details below.
Session 1 – Fri, Sep 8, 2016 – 1-4:30p Orientation – Role of the Manager – Time Management
Session 2 – Fri, Sep 16, 2016 – 1-4:30p Working Styles – Communication
Session 3 – Fri, Sep 23, 2016 – 1-4:30p Positive Reinforcement – Team Problem Solving
Session 4 – Fri, Sep 30, 2016 – 1-4:30p Planning – Delegation
Session 5 – Fri, Oct 7, 2016 – 1-4:30p Decision Making – Accountability
Session 6 – Thu, Oct 13, 2016 – 8:30a-12n Effective Meetings – Coaching

Location – All classes will be held at Banyan Air Services in Fort Lauderdale FL in the Sabal Palm Conference Room.
Banyan Air Services
5360 NW 20th Terrace
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33309

Tuition – $1600 per participant. Vistage member companies receive a $100 discount per participant. This includes all books and participant materials.

Curriculum

Session One
Orientation. During the initial Session, participants will create both a company and a personal framework, setting expectations and direction for this program. Participants, through directed discussion, create the connection between the program course material and their day-to-day management challenges.

Role of the Manager. Introduces the distinction between supervisor and manager roles. Clarifies the specific goals necessary for effectiveness. This module creates the foundation on which rest of the course material builds. Incorporates source material from Requisite Organization – Elliott Jaques.

Communication. The largest challenge, for most managers, centers on issues of communication. This Session will introduce participants to a new level of conversational “reality.” Introduces the text, Fierce Conversations, by Susan Scott, as reference material. (Text included as part of this program.)

Session Two
Working Styles.
 Participants will complete a DISC survey (DISC is an online instrument published by TTI) and report on their own identified strengths and working style.

Time Management. Introduces the textbook Getting Things Done by David Allen. (Text included as part of the program).

Session Three
Positive Reinforcement

This segment reviews the management research of Elliott Jaques and Abraham Maslow regarding “why people work.” Explores the role of positive reinforcement outlined in by Aubrey Daniels – Getting the Best Out of People.

Team Problem Solving. Expands Fierce Conversations to the group setting. Designed to move a group into “real work,” using a team problem solving model. Demonstrates how to build a team through problem solving.

Session Four
Planning.
 This segment introduces a results-oriented planning model, based on David Allen’s Getting Things Done, which participants can quickly use in any situation where planning would be of benefit.

Delegation. Participants are introduced to a specific model of effective delegation. Most managers hold certain mental blocks to delegation that prevents them from using this powerful developmental tool. This delegation model challenges these mental blocks so the entire team, manager included, can benefit from delegation.

Session Five
Decision Making
. This segment introduces three decision models that participants can use to make decisions in specific circumstances. All models can be used in a team setting or for an individual decision.

Accountability Conversation. Introduces a results-oriented method to hold individuals and teams accountable for desired results. This combines concepts of Time Span, QQT Goals and Management Relationships.

Session Six
Effective Meetings.
 Moves from theory to the practical application of team dynamics. How to run a more effective meeting.

Coaching. This segment takes the communication models we have previously used and integrates them into a conversation specifically designed for coaching subordinates.

If you would like to pre-register for the program, use the Ask Tom link, tell me a little about yourself and we will add you to the pre-registration list.

Tom Foster will be the instructor for this program.