CorporateCoach eNewsletter

Issue No. 21, 21st July 2003

Brought to you by the Brefi Group: "Helping you get from where you are to where you need to be."

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  1. Editorial: Sharon Drew Morgen
  2. Coaching notes: If the shoe fits, hire it

1.     Editorial: Sharon Drew Morgen

Sharon Drew Morgen will introduce Buying Facilitation in London

I have been interested to note the reaction of collegues when I have told them about Sharon Drew Morgen's visit this week. Those who have read her books are very excited. Those who have not, just have a blank look. It appears that she is known in the UK mainly through her books.

I thought you might be interested to learn a little more about her. It would be so disappointing if you realised, after the event, what you had missed!

Sharon Drew Morgen is an international entrepreneur, business consultant, sales trainer, author, keynote speaker, and general paradigm buster. In each role, she draws on the experience of being a life-long student of communications, as well as a multi-million dollar sales producer who created her own unique business environment and brand selling.

Her success comes from putting people first. Concepts like trust, integrity, values, relationship, rapport, respect, and win-win collaboration have long been central to her efforts and work.

Sharon Drew has excelled in her different careers, including marketing, social work, insurance, public relations, and as a Wall Street stockbroker. In 1984, she started a computer support services company in London. There, she honed her sales and management skills, expanding her company from a one-woman operation to a $5 million company in four years. Travelling between her offices in Stuttgart, Hamburg, and London, she personally produced over 60 percent of the sales revenue – a success achieved through her ability to create and maintain loyal business relationships over the phone. She has since moved her work forward by adressing the concept of integrity in sales through the new paradigm, Buying Facilitation®.

Sharon Drew has increased sales for diverse corporations of all sizes including IBM, British Telecom, Boston Scientific, Dean Witter Reynolds, Eastman Kodak, E. F. Hutton, General Electric Information Services, Merrill Lynch, The Principal Financial Group, The Union Bank of California, and US West Communications.

Sharon Drew was an early student of NLP in London with such names as Gene Early and Eileen Watkins Seymour. She now lives in Austin, Texas, but intends to commit more time to the UK, where she is finding a more progressive approach to sales. In her words "I like to work with visionaries."

Thanks to the wonders of the Internet there is still time to book for her event on Wednesday – click here for more information or click here to book.

Her latest book, Buying Facilitation: The New Way to Sell that Influences & Expands Decisions, is available exclusively as an e-book but delegates at the workshop can order a print-out for a 20% discount and also save VAT and the download time. Damian Zikakis specializes in time and money

Our contributor this week also lives in America. Damian Zikakis lives in Michigan, though I have also worked with him in Texas, Colorado, Kentucky and England. Different locations to create different environments fit for different purposes. However, he is telling us about fitting the person to the role. It was on Damian's recommendation the I attended a course at the Disney Institute to learn how this enormous organisation recruits and trains people to fit their value system.

2.     Coaching notes: If the shoe fits, hire it

Bill Ford driving a Chevy? Mike Tyson teaching an anger management class? And Drizella trying to thrust her large foot into Cinderella?s dainty, glass slipper? You don?t have to be an expert in human resources to realise these aren?t good fits.

One of the more memorable examples of corporate culture mismatches was the time that Ross Perot spent on the board of directors of General Motors. Less visible, yet more frequent, occurrences pervade the employment landscape. More often than not, however, both parties tolerate the condition.

So what?s the big deal? If employers and employees are willing to limp along with a situation akin to a size-ten foot in a size-six slipper, what does it really matter? It doesn?t – as long as you?re content with an organisation that performs like a hobbling stepsister rather than an Olympic sprinter.

It comes down to this: poor fit results in poor morale, decreased productivity, unsatisfied customers, and costly employee turnover. Organisations can preclude this, however, by hiring to ensure a cultural fit. Beginning with a clear understanding of the position being filled and working to secure cultural alignment can position your organisation for success.

Preserve the culture

In the work setting, lack of fit between an employee and an organisation can be described as culture clash. Culture encompasses the shared, taken-for-granted assumptions that a group has learned throughout its history – values held in common that extend beyond the framed mission statement hanging in the lobby. It includes the following:

  • Work style – the way work is done
  • Team orientation – hierarchical versus egalitarian
  • Management style – collaborative or commanding
  • Customer orientation – a nuisance as opposed to reason for being
  • Political style – the importance of what you know versus who you know
  • Attitudes toward things like learning and risk taking.

The underlying cause of this problem is a misguided hiring process supported by ineffective execution. Even the best-intentioned organisations – ones that focus on competencies and relevant behaviours, in addition to education and experience – frequently don?t assess the issue of cultural fit accurately. Failure to do this minimises the likelihood of arriving at a successful match.

Understand the position being filled

The seeds of the solution may be found in the roots of the problem. The hiring process should begin with a clear understanding of the position being filled. While this may seem painfully obvious, such an understanding is often only presumed. Consider the scientific perspective that an anthropologist might bring to the task of examining an employee?s role in an organisation:

  • How does the person in this position perform their job, alone or in groups?
  • What supervisory style should the person use, authoritarian or inspirational?
  • What form of group interaction does the position have, as a leader or follower?
  • What authority does this position have? What responsibility?
  • What are the consequences of success and failure in this organisation?

It?s important that the employer explicitly defines the answer to each of these questions before beginning the interview process; if you don?t know what you expect of a potential staff member, how can they?

Consider the cultural context

Thoughtful consideration to the cultural context of the position is essential to achieve a good fit. It may be easier to determine the requisite personal attributes of a successful candidate by enumerating those that would show evidence of a lack of fit. For example, do outspoken people not fit in? Unfortunately, the negative tends to attract more attention than the positive.

Assessing fit can and should be considered in each of the critical stages of the hiring process:

  • Sourcing and recruiting of potential candidates: Revealing the organisation?s culture as part of the sourcing and recruiting efforts allows potential candidates to self-select (in or out).
  • Preliminary evaluation of candidates: The preliminary evaluation of candidates is enhanced through intentional consideration of their fit with the more defining elements of an organisation?s culture – those elements that really stand out.
  • Final evaluation of qualified candidates: The final evaluation of candidates is frequently left to the "gut feeling" of potential supervisors and colleagues. While they may share with one another the desire for hiring a person who fits the organisation, they may not necessarily share an understanding of how that fit can best be determined. Evaluating fit with any consistency can be a daunting task.

Strive for objectivity

Many attributes of fit reside in the obscure realm of personality and feelings. As such, it comes as no surprise that clarity about such issues may be clouded by the emotional state of the candidate. For example, someone who is unemployed and anxious to land a job may be less objective about his or her own fit than someone who is being recruited from a successful employment situation. Hence objectivity and the ability to discern subtle variations in the psychological landscape are critical elements of the evaluation process. Psychological assessment services can address these issues by measuring a candidate?s intellectual ability, motivation, and values in a consistent and statistically valid way.

Once upon a time ....

While it was obvious to the Prince when he found the right fit, the rest of us continue to hold the pillow out for many ill-fitting, yet equally enthusiastic, feet. By starting out with a comprehensive evaluation of the position to be filled, and infusing objective consideration of the cultural fit throughout the hiring process, the chances of ending up with a good fit are greatly improved. Executive coaching has a range of systems for evaluating culture, relationships and objectives which will assist you in this process. An executive recruiter who understands coaching can provide complete executive search services to you. The goal is that the last line of your hiring story reads, "And they all lived happily ever after."

Damian Zikakis is an associate in Plante & Moran?s Executive Search Group, based in Michigan, USA. He has more than 20 years of experience as a CPA and CFO and specialises in senior-level financial positions.

Brefi Group has developed an employee development pack which includes job description, induction, appraisal and development plan forms.

We aim to make the Brefi Group web site the premier UK developmental site for teams and individuals in organisations, so do please send us your suggestions and requests for further development. And let us know what you think of this newsletter, and comment on the content.

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We hope you enjoyed this issue of CorporateCoach. If you would like to learn more about how we can work together, then please contact me, Richard Winfield