Waiting for Things to Gel

CEOs and Presidents often mistakenly treat key management personnel like Jell-O. They throw newly hired executives into the bowl, stir things up a bit, cool things off when things heat up and wait for things to gel. Viola. Perfect Jell-O every time.

If this approach really worked, employee turnover would be non-existent. Everyone hired would fit the mold perfectly. No, the hiring and assimilation of key executive personnel is more like the art of making a soufflé. It takes practice, confidence and requires more than just sitting back and waiting for things to gel. If the thought of actually coming up with a recipe to hire and successfully integrate key management personnel into your organization makes you shrink then read on.

Right ingredients

Assembling a well congealed management team starts with pulling together the right ingredients. Adding too many chili peppers (also known as hot headed management personnel) will certainly alter the flavor of your organization, particularly if you are going for a smooth collaborative environment.

Define the traits that work best in your organization and avoid mixing ingredients that don’t generally work well together. You can always tweak things after you have gotten the basic recipe down.

Top shelf equipment

If your organization is going to be composed of top shelf employees then be prepared to have the right tools and equipment at their disposal. For example, top -notch engineers expect access to state of the art equipment and computer programs. Keep this in mind before paying for a premium player. The lesser-known brand employee, who has yet to be discovered, may work just as well and could be a better fit for your organization.

Clearly defined roles

Mixing a bunch of ingredients together without much thought to how they will react with one another may work when creating something forgiving like spaghetti sauce but this approach could spell disaster when trying to find the right blend for your organization.

We’ve seen this scenario happen time and time again. Executives are brought into an organization without their roles being clearly defined. Before they’ve had a chance to make their mark they find themselves stomping on someone else’s territory. The reaction of other key management personnel tells the tale best. Some choose to fight this new predator while others let their newly crafted resumes speak on their behalf. Either scenario means energy is being depleted from the organization. You are leaving opportunities for your competition to quickly take over your leading position.

Even a coach needs a coach

It’s lonely at the top. Just ask star chefs like Emeril and Bobby Flay. These guys didn’t get where they are today on their own. They still use seasoned veterans to keep their names on the tip of everyone’s tongue.

Forget the company car. Instead, give your new executives access to a coach. This person can help your executive quickly assimilate into the business and avoid many of the landmines that exist in most organizations.

Team development

Strong ego’s often come as standard equipment when you hire powerful executives. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if it comes in bite-size pieces. Successful companies know that some conflict can be healthy. But like a good piece of chocolate, it can quickly lose it’s appeal if eaten daily.

It would be great if team building happened on it’s own but that’s rarely the case. Set aside time for your executive team to get to know one another. Consider using cross-functional teams to solve business challenges. Acknowledge and reward team efforts.

If you start to incorporate some of these ideas into your organization you could find yourself walking into a room where you might receive a standing ovation. The sound you hear is not applause for your Jell-O mold. It’s for the carefully crafted soufflé you have just created in an organization that is hungry for strong leadership.

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