Tag Archives: comparison

Saturday Morning at the Dog Park

 

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I spend a fair amount of time each week at Muttland Meadows dog park in Grafton with Jake and Rosie. I’m amazed at how different the experience can be, depending on the mix of dogs and owners there at the time. Fortunately, both dogs and owners are creatures of habit, so it’s easy to predict.

My favorite time at Muttland Meadows is Saturday morning at about 7:15. That’s when the cool dogs are there. They’re not just cool because they’re good-looking, although some of them are beautiful.   They have great personalities, they get along well with others and they listen relatively well despite the distractions. There’s Finnegan and Flannery, the lovely collies, friendly and dignified. Sam, the Welsh springer spaniel is there with his owner Robert who generally has a small treat for the rest of the gang. Captain, who can be a little naughty, but is good-natured enough to get away with it, and of course Duncan, the cap-stealing Airedale who is a piece of work, but always there….as predictable as the sunrise. And of course, Rosie and Jake, the coolest dogs on the planet—happy to see everyone, but polite enough to give everyone a little space.

Shouldn’t your workplace be like Saturday morning at Muttland? Cool people with their own personalities and purpose who are respectful, listen well and add to the overall vibe. Keep it that way by hiring carefully. It’s not enough to have a set of skills and a list of applicable experiences. Consider whether your candidates will not only fit in your culture, but add to it. Figuring that out takes time and a number of data points. Contact me for help with a careful hiring process. End up with the cool dogs.

Designer Employees

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One of the easiest ways to validate your fashion choices is to choose a designer label. It’s not a particularly well-made or attractive purse, but hey, it has those big letter “C’s”, so it must be stylish, right?  St. John’s knit suits, 7For All Mankind jeans, Louis Vuitton bags—own them and you’re styling.  Right?

Employers do the same thing. Hire that woman from GE. Snag the guy from Coke. Make the offer to the consultant from McKinsey. Employ them and you’ve unquestionably upgraded your staff. Right?

The truth is that hiring a designer employee can be a mistake as often as it is a success for a number of reasons:

• Skip the process. If you jump at the candidate with the good credentials without going through a careful hiring process– or any process at all — you’re likely to be surprised with what you get.

• Different environment. What made them successful at the designer company won’t work here at XYZ. I worked at a company that decided to bring in a team of Six Sigma Black Belts from GE. Unfortunately, without the infrastructure and a culture that understood the general charter, they failed miserably and the positions were eliminated within a year.

• Good companies have bad people too. I worked at a bank that was intent on hiring people from a competitor that had just been acquired by an even bigger bank. The executives asked my recruiting team to put together a list of any candidates that came from the competing bank. NOT hiring those candidates required an explanation to senior management. Unfortunately, many of those candidates were either victims of early downsizing or were seeing early indications that their new employer, the acquiring bank, wasn’t terribly impressed.  My employer became the easy option to the unemployment line for many, many under-performers from our old competitor.

This isn’t a wholesale indictment on designer jeans or designer employees. Some work out just fine, but that’s usually for a reason beyond just the logo. Other times, it makes you look like you have (or are) a big fat ass.