As leaders, we make decisions every day. While researchers disagree about the exact number of decisions we make daily (estimates range from 70 conscious decisions to 35,000 conscious and unconscious decisions), everyone acknowledges that we are expected to produce a steady stream of decisions in our work. While some of those decisions are inconsequential, others carry significant weight because of the long-term impact they will have on the organization.
Perhaps no leadership decision is more important than who to add to the team. We’ve seen organizations with beautifully crafted missions, visions, values, and consumer promises fail to execute on any of that potential because they have the wrong teams. In contrast, we’ve seen organizations deliver on bold (seemingly impossible) commitments because of their team members.
At Ethos, we recently added a full-time employee to our team, so we want to share the factors that we considered in that decision-making process. We hope this will help you craft a healthy framework to make your most important decision.
Start with Culture
Image. Credibility. Ethics. You’ve likely seen these words on our website or heard us talk about them. They are the hallmarks of our culture. Image means that we show up in spaces with professionalism. Credibility means that we can back up that professional image with credentials and lived experience. Ethics means we live and work with integrity, authenticity, transparency, and vulnerability. When we began our conversation about adding to our team, that’s where we started. While we had a vague idea of the role that we wanted someone to fill, for us, knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) were not the baseline consideration; culture match was.
Fish for Compliments
“David is a little bit country. Becky is a little bit rock and roll.” If you’ve attended one of our training sessions on team development, you’ve likely heard David express that with a smile. We acknowledge our differences and see them as opportunities to complement and strengthen our team. So when we started identifying what we wanted from a new team member, we began by considering what each of us brings to the team. We identified strengths that, if added, would make us even stronger, characteristics that could fill our gaps, and weaknesses that may be over-exposed because we share those challenges on our existing team. In other words, we looked for a team member who would harmonize with and balance us for the good of our clients.
We evaluate ourselves on our ability to be engaging, educational, and entertaining, so those are core competencies we need a team member to bring to our clients. Breaking it down a bit further, we want our team to listen well, share openly, learn continually, freely impart knowledge and experiences, and do all that with a good sense of humor and a healthy dose of fun! Our desire for team members to have those competencies is for more than our clients. If expressed within our team, those same competencies would make for a great teammate, so we reflected on whether we’d enjoy our team experience with the candidates we reviewed.
Reflection to Action: Which of these factors do you consider in your hiring decisions? What other factors are important to you? Create a hiring framework for key positions in your organization and widely share it with individuals involved in the hiring process.