The Most Expensive Mistake Executives Make

Our major successes in business involve helping our employees, our most valuable asset, grow and develop, and enjoy job satisfaction. Unfortunately, we fail to use objective information to help determine the best job fit and career path fit when making staff promotions or lateral career moves. The same problem exists when we’re choosing our successors.

The greatest unrealized expense executives make is taking good employees and promoting them (or moving them laterally) into jobs that they are not ready for, don’t want or don’t have the skill sets to be successful. Many employees will readily take on these opportunities due to promises of bigger paychecks and desires to please their bosses – with sad results.

One fast growing company wanted to reward a good employee. They moved him out of customer service and into sales. Within 90 days, he was failing and no one knew what to do. They spent the next six months providing ongoing training, one-on-one counseling, and motivational podcasts. After many sleepless nights and daily frustrations, the employee left. A couple of clients and several top producers left with him. Unfortunately, the significant costs of these types of mistakes are not calculated (therefore, are not realized): high cost of training, loss of customers, loss of employees and proprietary information, and other tangible and intangible costs.

Unfortunately, we spend more time buying electronic gadgets than using the same due diligence and taking the same care with our people — our most valuable assets!

How to create successful moves for our employees to avoid costly mistakes:

  1. Create a 180-Day Success Plan. Keep it simple and smart. Wanting to have too many things accomplished while they are learning a new job will only create unnecessary stress. First, write it all down (See Hire Amazing Employees, Chapter 5, Second, make sure to include conversations they need to have with key leaders and individual contributors to better understand the realities of what needs to be accomplished and how to go about getting the intended results. Third, remind them to listening will get them further than talking! (See Companies and Executives Need to Vet and Onboard Each Other!
  2. Use a qualified assessment. Objectively review their thinking styles, core behaviors and occupational interests by using a qualified assessment and qualified 360-degree feedback tool. (Qualified assessments are those that comply with the Department of Labor Guidelines for selection purposes.) While past accomplishments are important, they will not provide enough good objective data to predict future successes. The right interests and thinking styles account for people’s successes 50+ percent of the time.
  3. Conduct due diligence. Talking with previous managers and employees that worked with them. How did the person handle setbacks? When do they use good people skills (e.g., only with bosses, or do they also know how to respect others)? Do they manage projects on-time and within budget? Of the projects executed, how many produced intended results? What type of facilitator are they?
  4. Train them how to ask and answer the right questions. Everything is a conversation! Train the hiring managers and prospective employees on how-to-have authentic conversations, which includes probing into job responsibilities and expectations. After several conversations, put in writing what has been agreed to and what is expected. This written document will ensure clarity and the win-win outcome required.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2015 All Rights Reserved

It can be lonely at the top! An experienced business advisor, always accessible and at a nearby desk can make a positive and powerful difference for you, and your employees. My goal is to be your in-house advisor, your ally and sounding board as you navigate the complex world of your business! (Contact Jeannette: OR 303-917-2993)