Is Your Product Quality Suspect?

thT8EBKFKNIf you manufacture a product for sale, are you certain that the people you have working for you are capable of creating and maintaining the quality of the design?  Are you certain that the new employees being hired have the right competencies to perform their work responsibilities?

I ask these questions because I recently ran across a company that has taken great pride in their brand and must maintain a consistent quality to the product to not only remain in business but to grow the business.  And yet, when I was reviewing the competencies of their internal recruiting staff, I discovered that they were unable to read a resume or their internal applications and determine if the applicant had the required competencies.  What I discovered was they were turning away qualified people from moving forward to an interview.

Instead of understanding what they needed this person to do, and comparing it to what they had done in their past work experience, they were looking for exact title matches.  It didn’t matter if the person could and had performed specific tasks before, if they had not had a matching title they went into the dead letter box.

It got me to thinking that people were being recruited without much certainty they could perform the work.  How does that help the company maintain product quality if they don’t hire the right people?  If you are a winery and hire people that only have experience in making soda, are you really able to maintain product (wine) quality?

My best solution would be that the hiring manager, who is responsible for quality control, sits with the recruiter and makes sure they know what kind of experience they are seeking.  Further, the hiring manager should review all applications and resumes that have been removed from consideration.  If the hiring manager agrees that these people didn’t have the right stuff, then you have no reason to suspect you are getting the right people to interview.  However, if you would have wanted to talk with any of the discarded applicants, it is time to review your hiring process.



Is It Really A Teambuilding Event?

teambuildingYour manager tells you that you need to hold a team building event to encourage staff to work together and support the common goals of your unit.  You can see the merits in getting everyone to join that kind of thinking.  You know it will make your job as the manager easier if everyone is on the same page.  But, you don’t know what kind of event to conduct.

Your manager suggests an after work event for dinner and drinks.  You blink in response.  Your manager tells you not to worry, that you can expense everything.  You blink again.  It wasn’t the cost that caused you to blink, it was the event.  Eating and Drinking will build a teamwork mentality?

For many managers, a social event is thought to be a way to train teamwork.  It is not!  It doesn’t do much other than to create a social environment among co-workers to let down their in habitations, create friendships, and open up conversations that may not be totally appropriate among this group.  It doesn’t forge any kind of support system that will build a team.

Now what do you do if you are the manager that understands that social events are not the same as team building events?  What do you do if you also don’t want to socialize with your team outside of work?  Are you being forced to make your co-workers and staff your friends?

My suggestion would be to first recognize that your manager is not aware of what a team building event is, and that they are working off their own experiences.  Be gentle, but inform them of other options.  If you have a training functions, call them in to run a teamwork exercise with you and your staff.  Or go buy a book on team building and learn an alternative approach.

Bottom line, if you want to socialize with fellow employees, save it for birthdays, promotions and retirements.  And when you run a team building event, make it about team building!

Relinquishing Control To Staff

th6Relinquishing control to your staff can be a challenging feat if you are an old school control freak type of manager that feels only you have the brain cells necessary to make decisions.  And when key members of your team leave, especially a management team member, all of a sudden you are doing their job too because once again you can’t believe anyone else is capable of stepping up.

When you don’t allow others on your team to perform their roles without your constant active participation, they simply cannot grow.  Their skills never get built, let alone stretched past their known capabilities when you as the all-knowing manager must approve everything being done.

But let’s say you have a section of the company being run by a manager that actually does know how to empower his or her team to perform their job.  You probably still try to run this direct report, but their team is spared your constant interventions because they have a shield between them and you.  That is until this person leaves and you become them until you hire a replacement.

While this goes on in numerous corporate environments, and I’m watching such a disaster today in a company, I want to share with you the results of a personal experience in my own career.

I reported to a senior level manager that was one of these controlling managers that felt the need to participate in everything.  Whether warranted or requested, he had no ability to control his two-cent comments on any subject.  He managed multiple lines of business that were each staffed with very competent managers.  Two of us did not do well with the micro managing and were able to build very robust operations that functioned well.  The rest of our peers struggled to have any control and their operations struggled too.

However, I had not realized at the time that my particular department ran as well as it did because I acted as a shield.  It wasn’t until I had left the company, that a former staff manager that reported to me said that “it was all rolling down the hill now” and things were falling a part.  My former manager was not a subject matter expert, but thought he was, and so his decisions caused all sorts of havoc.  Even though he hired a replacement for me, it was another puppet that he could control, and the function fell completely apart within a year.

Anyone that has studied Leadership Development will tell you that in the past couple of decades, little is actually new.  We repackage concepts to encourage learning, but empowering employees is still a necessity if we are to have well run organizations.  If you struggle with turning over control to staff, eventually it will do you, your staff, and the organization harm.  It has always been that way and it always will be.  So get on board with the game and learn to relinquish control.  Not all control, just the parts that make sense.