Self-Awareness Workshops

How to Hire Talented People

Leaders and HR professionals frequently ask me what they can do to hire talented people.  There are some basic things you can do to identify talent more effectively rather than winging it and hoping things will work out well.

Ask yourself the following questions before you begin looking for your next star.

1.  Do you know exactly what tasks the person will be carrying out day to day and do you communicate this to applicants?

2.  Do you have a specific list of talents your ideal candidate must possess?

3.  Do you ask open-ended questions to elicit deeper information from candidates rather than yes or no answers?

4.  Does your candidate possess the same values as your organization?

5.  Does your candidate love doing the work you would hire them for?

6.  Are you open to hiring people who may grow into the position?

7.  Do you have a preconceived idea of what the perfect candidate looks like which may exclude excellent prospects?

8.  Are you looking for brilliant talent or a body to fill a seat?

9.  Do you allow the candidate to tell you who they are and what they enjoy doing or do you project what you wish onto them?

10.  Do you have a full understanding of whether the candidate really sees herself fitting in with your organization?

As you ask yourself these questions you will find that you begin to understand what you are really looking for in a candidate.  We frequently try to make people fit the description on the piece of paper or wish them to fit the position.  This is normal, we want people to succeed and we want to fill positions.

The next time you conduct a talent search try asking yourself the questions we’ve discussed.  They will help you have a clearer idea of who you are looking for and how you will recognize them when they’re in front of you.  What are your tips for hiring talented people?

Take care,


Business Ethics and Rationalization

Ethics are the principles that guide your conduct in life and at work. Leaders who possess self-awareness tend to value paying attention to the bottom line, taking care of their employees and community and making a living. Other leaders rationalize practices that value profits over everything and take advantage of others. There are many ways to make money in the world and it’s up to each person to decide whether he or she will do it in a way that benefits everyone or benefits a few. Here are two familiar approaches to doing business:

Person A sets up a company that pays employees very little, provides no benefits, creates a hostile work environment, drives individuals relentlessly and puts profits before people. When asked about his (or her) ethics, the leader usually pours forth rationalizations such as: At least they have a job; we pay taxes that benefit the community; our goods/services are affordable; if it weren’t us, someone else would do it.

Person B sets up a company that pays employees well, provides benefits, creates a satisfying work environment, encourages individuals to succeed and puts people before profits. When asked about his ethics, the leader admits that he makes a little less than Person A but his employees are happier and the organization is a good corporate citizen.

The ethical question inherent in these two examples is: How will you choose to behave toward yourself and others and what effects will those choices have at various levels? As a leader, you have the choice of what kind of organization you create: You can design a workplace that sucks the life out of people and the community or one that supports everyone involved. One approach will make you feel better as a human being. Which one will you choose?

Take care,


5 Ways to Build a Happier Workplace

Leaders often build workplaces that are highly efficient and productive but where employees are an afterthought. It’s almost as if they’re following some leadership manual that says you should squeeze all you can out of people without worrying about trivial things like whether they like their work or have opportunities for growth.

You’ll see leaders like this shake their heads in disbelief when they experience the ongoing issues related to unhappy workplaces such as: lack of motivation, high turnover, lackluster performance, stagnant productivity, low morale and assorted other goodies. What they may not yet envision is that their workplaces don’t have to be this way and there are some practical things they can do to combine high productivity with a more enjoyable work environment. Here are five ways to get started:

  1. Praise employees. Praising makes people feel valued and increases the likelihood that they’ll want to do other tasks.
  2. Give people meaningful work. Find out what people enjoy doing and let them do it. Encourage employees to use their brains and come up with ideas on their own.
  3. Give people opportunities for advancement. Keeping someone stuck in one position in perpetuity neglects their other talents. Find ways to offer educational opportunities as well as using their talents to train others or take on more responsibility.
  4. Listen to your employees. You’ll gain important insights on what needs attention in your workplace and how to fix it when you listen to people instead of telling them what to do. You’ll also have access to new ideas.
  5. Give people benefits. From flex time to vacation and health coverage; employees work better when they feel like the company cares about their long-term well-being rather than what they can get out of them with the least investment.

These five concepts can help you create a workplace where people not only do a lot of work but also feel good about it. There’s no reason we have to create workplaces where people are treated like disposable objects but it’s up to leadership to set the example and consciously design a more honoring work environment. The payoff is that motivated, happy people do more and better work. What will you do to build a happier workplace?

Take care,


Are You Living a Creative Life?

Creativity is one of the most effective ways to overcome any challenges in our lives. Moving in a different direction is often a matter of thinking creatively and doing something differently. Here’s what some smart people say about creativity:

Albert Einstein:

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.

Arthur Koestler:

Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.

Beatrix Potter:

Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality.

Take care,


Achieve Your Dreams

The mistake we often make is that we live our whole lives putting our dreams on the back burner. There are several reasons this happens including fear, paying the bills, lack of planning and not believing that our dreams will come true.

People often think that thinking of their dreams is too unrealistic. The truth is that our lives tend to follow the patterns that we establish. If we think something cannot be achieved that will tend to happen.

As yourself this: What can I do today to start living my dreams? If you start believing and acting on the assumption that you can actually achieve your dreams you will begin to structure you life to make it happen.

The main message is don’t give up, there is always time to start working on your dreams. Don’t you deserve to live your dreams?

Take care,