The most critical responsibility of a CEO and any manager is ensuring that the right people are in the right jobs doing the right things.
Nothing else matters if this function is performed poorly. Without the right people in the right jobs everything else, vision, communication, strategic plans, execution of plans, etc., can be seriously compromised. Although this goal is mentioned in every management book and training program, the significance of its importance can not emphasized enough. Consequently, the vast majority of CEO’s and managers do not spend nearly enough time and resources in performing this responsibility, nor do they properly educate themselves as to the correct policies and procedures to follow. Further, many so-called HR specialists are not strong in this area.
There are 3 main components to ensuring that the “right people are in the right positions”.
- Have at least a 3 year plan as to your personnel, particularly managers and supervisors, needs
- Properly assess the current people in your organization so as to determine which position they should be in today and in the future
- Have effective programs in place to recruit, screen, and hire the people you need for positions that cannot be filled from within
An earlier entry titled “How to Avoid the Mistakes you are Making with your 3 Year Plans” discusses the CEO/manager’s role in a 3 year plan.
A CEO or manager’s role in the second and third point above depends upon the size of the organization and internal resources available to support/fulfill the related responsibilities. As a minimum, where there are substantial internal resources, the CEO or manager must have at least a good working knowledge as to what is necessary to be successful in these areas and how he/she will know if they are successful (i.e. relevant reporting tools that monitor the key metrics in these areas). At the maximum, for smaller organizations, the CEO or manager should be skilled in performing some or all of the required functions. This may often require the assistance of an outside human resources expert. Should this be the case (and it is the norm for smaller to mid-size organizations), the CEO or manager should:
- Perform proper due diligence to find the right outside expert(s)
- Observe how the outside expert goes about their activities as a method of learning the procedures and skills needed to be effective in these areas – i.e. do not totally delegate the function to the outside expert, instead “learn how to fish”
With respect to the screening and hiring of people there are 3 key activities required to screen candidates. They are:
- Personality profiling
- Interviews of the candidate
- Reference checking
A CEO or manager should use either the recruiting firm or internal recruiting resources to create a short list of candidates. The CEO or manager should then personally be involved in the above three activities for any short-listed candidate who will report directly to them. Accordingly, they should have a good working comfort with each of these activities.
Our next articles will discuss each of the above 3 activities in more detail.