BFO - Values, Will and Skills

Why is it that it’s never the three-hour lecture that gives you the best information? It always seems, to me at least, that it’s the random conversation, with someone you don’t know all that well, where you’re left with that profound little nugget that changes your thinking.

Having sat through a couple of days of conference learning and picking up a great many ideas–from Jack Stack talking about the economy for the next 3+ years to Ari Weinzweig teaching us about hope–there were plenty of great moments.

I guess it’s about what you’ve opened your mind to. I went to the conference with a couple of challenges in mind, among them how to hire better for culture and values. Also in line with this was to bring aboard folks with high emotional intelligence.

Picture this: here I am tra la laing through the conference and the after-hours events learning and chatting and learning some more. Always considering the challenges I brought with me…and nothing. Not a single challenge was addressed through the entire conference. Don’t get me wrong–I wasn’t frustrated because there was plenty of great conversation, learning and sharing. Yet, I was still scratching away at the aforementioned challenge when, after the event was over, I had the opportunity to visit some friends.

Values, will and skill… If those first two elements line up, the 3rd is almost a no-brainer. #BFO #hiring Click To Tweet

Now you’re thinking, you went to see these friends and BOOM, it hit you. Nope. As it turns out, it was the result of who I went with. Russell and I went to see our friends at Mojo Media Lab and then Call-Em-All, but it wasn’t until we were out watching college football much, much later that the three words that would improve our hiring were gifted to me:

Values, will and skill,” Russell said, “are all you need to think about…Certainly get some other testing in place, but that’s what it’s built from.” As we chatted, he explained that he’d once proposed a question similar to mine to Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great, and Jim had shared some great insight.

It went something like this: We all want to take the bus with good people–people we want to be next to. So, often, we hire by skill first and will and values last. Reverse that and start with value, then determine if the will is there. If those first two elements line up, the 3rd is almost a no-brainer. Oh, certainly we need the skill to do the job, but think about it. If you cover those first two items, that’s almost always someone you want to share the ride with. Then, if they’re smart, you teach and they learn the skills needed to succeed in the role.

With those three little words in mind, we’re going to be changing the way we look at candidates and maybe the way candidates look at us. Check back in a year and I’ll let you know how it’s going.

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