One of the most important responsibilities of managers and executives is to make difficult “staffing” and “promotion” decisions. However, if these “people” decisions are ineffective, the will company suffer. Therefore, managers and executives must know how to make the right decisions in these areas because the success of their organization depends on the right people being placed in the right positions.
Since promoting and staffing the right people are crucial to managers, executives and other decision-makers, placements are difficult. They, ultimately, affect a company’s performance, which, in turn, determines its success and failure. However, whatever is the outcome from promoting and staffing people, the praise or blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the decision-maker.
Effective Decision-Making is a Skill
Decision-makers in companies like Parklane must learn how to avoid making counter-productive staffing and promotion decisions. When managers and executives make bad placements, the next time they will be conscientiously aware that careful consideration in promoting and staffing people is crucial to their reputation and company’s performance. The caveat is that decision-makers must practice due diligence when it comes to making promotion and staffing decisions. In other words, they must know how to do it, which suggests the person has acquired the skill to do so.
Similar to other practical skills, effective decision-making is learned, not inborn. To deliberate and to focus on practical matters, managers and executives must work at developing the skill. They must use every opportunity to engage in effective decision-making, especially at the work place. The conditions at work offer enough real life situations to develop the skill.
Effective Decision-Making Leads to Effective Performance
Although work offers the best conditions to practice effective decision-making, there are no absolutes here. Peter F. Drucker elaborates on this idea in his “Picking People – the Basic Rules,” where he explains “Managers making people decisions will never be perfect,” but continual practice will lead to proficiency. Building proficiency demands that managers and executives work hard at practicing the skill of decision-making, especially people decisions.
Effective performance is a result of the right people placements. Without effective performance from decision-making employees, the objectives and goals of their company will be inadequately met, which can cause a company to fall into jeopardy or even go out of business. In contrast, effective managers and executives help their company profit and grow. The impact that solid and productive executive and managerial decisions has on the reputation of the company is serious because the right decisions bring success.
Making Promotion and Staffing Picks
Although selecting best “fit” candidates for particular positions is challenging, the methodical practice of effective decision-making is less risky. Comparable to betting at the track, managers and executives must pick winners, especially for very important positions. A winner is a person who is a best fit candidate for a job. These candidates usually possess more than just the right qualifications and they also have the right temperament. They add to the performance of their organization in the same way that oil adds to the performance of a car by reducing performance friction, so to speak.
In making the best promotion and staffing picks, Mr. Drucker, recommends managers and executives to: “Think through the assignment, look at a number of potentially qualified people, think hard about how to look at these candidates, discuss each of the candidates with several people who have worked with them” and “make sure the appointee understands the job.” To promote and staff people capriciously or by other means increases the risk of making a bad decision.
Handling Promotion and Staffing Decisions That Result in Failure
When managers and executives promote or staff the wrong people into positions they cannot perform well, the consequent failure raises a red flag that signifies a mistake. In failing to thoroughly evaluate candidates, the decision-maker made a blunder. Thus, oversights must be quickly corrected and triage must be performed to remedy the bad situation. The person responsible for the bad decision must also diplomatically remove the “misfit” to not completely lose face in the eyes of all who witnessed the serious mistake.
To let inadequate workers remain in positions that they are temperamentally and qualitatively unsuited to perform well is morally wrong. Ultimately, the worker, company and decision-maker suffer when misfits are not properly handled. Therefore, learning how to practice effective decision-making lessens counter-productive promotion and staffing picks.
How Competency Based Development Facilitates Talent Management
A competency-based employee-development program brings a sharper focus to recruitment, development and retention efforts. An organization usually has a laundry list of ideal qualities that they are looking for in a job candidate. However, it is rare to find a candidate that excels in every desired characteristic, which leads to a “least/worst” selection decision. What often follows is that the new employee enters the work environment with a sink-or-swim approach.
With a competency-based approach, the organization develops a much smaller list of critical competencies (six or fewer), with well-defined skills and abilities that are necessary to achieve desired outcomes.
The result is a selection decision that is founded on the achievement of valued competencies and less on a job candidate’s ability to meet a traditional list of qualities. Professional development is a never-ending process so when a candidate is hired, his/her level of development can be used to further develop an accurate description of desired competencies.
The Five Critical Questions for the Organization
What skills and abilities are needed most by the organization?
Who is most qualified to fill critical positions and staff project teams?
Where is the need for critical skills going unmet and where is available internal talent located?
Is there a plan to acquire candidates who possess these skills?
Are the company’s recruitment, development and retention efforts properly aligned?
Using Competencies to Align Recruitment, Development, and Retention
The process begins with defining the three types of competencies needed for a specific position.
General (management, leadership and business acumen)
Functional (marketing, finance, human resources, public relations, employee communications and community relations, among others)
Organizational (technical skills specific to the organization such as proficiency in interpreting psychological profiles or platform skills for trainers)
Organizational competencies distinguish an organization from competitors because they are the competencies that are most visible to clients/customers, and have the cumulative effect of identifying and developing employees.
A successful program also requires accurate descriptions of desired competencies. These descriptions provide sufficient job-related information to employees, thereby enabling them to prepare themselves to develop themselves and succeed. They also provide a tool that the company can use to identify available talent for promotion.