StrategyDriven Advisors Corner Article

The Advisor’s Corner – Can I Afford a Bad Hire?

Can I Afford a Bad Hire?Question:

Can I Afford a Bad Hire?

StrategyDriven Response: (by Roxi Hewertson, StrategyDriven Principal Contributor)

Fact 1: No one can afford a bad hire!
Fact 2: Nationally, about 50 percent of hires, fail. Of those that succeed only about 20 percent are top performers.
Fact 3: 90 percent of failures are UNRELATED to brains and technical skills.
Fact 4: The cost of a bad hire is up to 2x the person’s annual salary and benefits… until you fire them or they leave. How much you lose depends on how awful they are and how much time, money, and productivity is flushed away in the meantime. Then… add another 2x to 2.5x their salary costs to replace them.
Fact 5: Turnover in any position costs you real money. Turnover of good people leaving because they don’t want to work with your bad hires, costs you even more.

Do I have your attention? This is not theory – it is fact. And yet… we hire most people and positions based on shiny new degrees and/or technical skills along with perceived or tested IQ. We now KNOW, for a fact, that EQ (Emotional Quotient/Intelligence) is far more important for success in most jobs, and definitely within leadership roles.

Still, we continue to hire and promote people, including leaders, largely for IQ and technical skill sets. “The best salesperson will surely be the best leader of other salespersons,” right? WRONG!

It just gets dumber and dumber. We keep getting the same lousy results and yet we have not substantively changed the hiring practices in most organizations. It is mind-boggling! I believe Albert Einstein had something clever to say about this phenomenon being related to insanity.

Whatever methods (legal and ethical of course) you use, you need to discover at least these SIX key things about your candidates BEFORE you hire.

A. Attitude: Is theirs one of abundance and can do, or scarcity and focused on obstacles?

B. Brains: Can they do the job or learn quickly how to do the job?

C. Character: What are their core personal values?

D. Drive: Are they self-motivated to achieve their goals and yours?

E. Experience: What have they done in the past that prepares them or makes them ready for what you want them to do now?

F. FIT: Will they truly FIT into your culture, your organizational values, help you accomplish your mission, and advance your vision?

If you said “NO” or “I Can’t Tell,” to even ONE of these questions about the candidate, do not hire that person. Seriously – don’t do it!

Trust the answers to your ABCDEF questions and trust your GUT. If the person doesn’t feel right to you or others, he/she probably isn’t right. In any case, it’s rarely, if ever, worth the risk to you and your team.

About the Author

Leadership authority Roxana (Roxi) Hewertson is a no-nonsense business veteran revered for her nuts-and-bolts, tell-it-like-it-is approach and practical, out-of-the-box insights that help both emerging and expert managers, executives and owners boost quantifiable job performance in various mission critical facets of business. Through, Roxi — “the Dear Abby of Leadership” — imparts invaluable free advice to managers and leaders at all levels, from the bullpen to the boardroom, to help them solve problems, become more effective and realize a higher measure of business and career success.

The StrategyDriven website was created to provide members of our community with insights to the actions that help create the shared vision, focus, and commitment needed to improve organizational alignment and accountability for the achievement of superior results. We look forward to answering your strategic planning and tactical business execution questions. Please email your questions to [email protected].

StrategyDriven Business Performance Assessment Program Article

Business Performance Assessment Program Best Practice 12 – Define Issue Materiality

StrategyDriven Business Performance Assessment Program Best Practice ArticleBusiness performance assessments seek to identify meaningful improvement opportunities for an organization, typically in the areas of safety, performance reliability, and operational efficiency. Meaningful or material opportunities are those representing a performance improvement that satisfies a regulatory requirement, exceeds the organization’s financial return on investment threshold, and/or provides a not easily replicable advantage over competitors. As such, assessors should evaluate potential performance improvement opportunities for their materiality; focusing on those offering the organization meaningful gains.

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About the Author

Nathan Ives, StrategyDriven Principal is a StrategyDriven Principal and Host of the StrategyDriven Podcast. For over twenty years, he has served as trusted advisor to executives and managers at dozens of Fortune 500 and smaller companies in the areas of management effectiveness, organizational development, and process improvement. To read Nathan’s complete biography, click here.

Jeffrey Gitomer

Finding the elusive decision maker. Then what?

Question from a reader:

Jeffrey, I speak with many people in organizations that want you to think they are the decision maker when in fact they are not. I have wasted too many emails and follow up on people that can’t help. How do you ask without hurting the relationship you may have built? How do you determine the real decision maker? Steve

Finding the real decision maker may be one of the largest barriers to a sale in existence. It’s second to one other barrier: “Once I find the decision maker, what do I say?”

Finding the decision maker and speaking with that decision maker intelligently are not just critical, they’re also skills that can be career building or career ending.

I’m about to give you insight that will help you find and communicate with the all-important decider. But I caution you, it is not a be-all end-all. Rather, it’s the beginning of your true understanding about decision makers, and decision making.

There are several parts to the decision-making process. Finding the decision maker is only one of them and it may be the smallest one.

Early in my career, I created a question that helped me find decision makers without ever asking anyone who the decision maker was. Whoever I was talking to, as I was making the sales presentation, I asked the question, “Who pulls the trigger?”

That was a direct question that didn’t insult the person I was talking to. If you ask, “Are you the decision-maker?” or worse, “Who is the decision-maker?” you both embarrass the prospect, and pressure them for an answer. To the person you’re talking to it gives the impression you’re sales hungry instead of customer friendly.

By asking, “Who pulls the trigger?” you don’t hurt anyone’s feelings. You’re merely asking for distant information. Vital, but distant.

After I asked the “who pulls the trigger” question, I followed up with an equally powerful, but still pressure-less question. I simply asked, “How will the decision be made?” And whatever my prospective customer said, I followed up with yet another question about the decision-making process, “Then what?”

The words “then what” lead you through the decision-making process. Especially if you continue to ask it. Then what? Then what? Then what? Until finally you come back to the trigger puller. It sounds pretty easy, doesn’t it?
Well, over the years I found that it wasn’t quite that easy. I had to have a greater understanding of the total process especially what happened after the purchase was completed. In other words, what happens after ownership and what are the expected outcomes.

You may think what happens after ownership and expected outcomes have little or nothing to do with the decision maker. And you would be totally, completely incorrect.

After ownership comes value of purchase. Often erroneously referred to as ROI, it’s what happens after the customer takes possession, and what they’re hoping to achieve as a result of it. REALITY: That’s the only thing decision makers want to know. And once you know it, you’ll be able to find every decision maker. That’s pretty powerful.

There are additional questions you MUST ask during a sales meeting in order to find out the total purchasing and use of product or service situation. Keep in mind, you’re going to be selling for about an hour, but they’re going to be using your product or service for years. Once you understand that, you understand the significance of obtaining that information.

Here are the critical decision-making questions:

  • Who do you collaborate with?
  • Who will be the main user of…?
  • Who calls and asks for service?
  • When a service person arrives, who do they meet with?
  • How did the last purchase happen?
  • Who will be responsible for the outcome of this purchase?

HERE’S THE SECRET: Once you have the names of these people, you ask the person you’re meeting with to introduce you. And talk to these people about what really happens. Even if you’re meeting with the CEO, you can still ask for meetings with his or her people.

Once you have this information and meet the people involved…
Look at the insight you’ve gained.
Look at the understanding you have about their business process.
Look at the expertise you put into your experience base.
And even more important, you’re now charged with the responsibility of making certain every person involved in use and decision making are aware of your value.

“Jeffrey,” you say, “it’s a pretty complicated process. In fact, it changes my whole strategy of selling.”

That’s correct, your way was a fight to get to the decision maker. People lied to you, and people led you down a rosy path that completely wasted your time. Oh, and you lost the order. My way is a little bit more difficult to learn and implement, but a heck of a lot more productive in terms of not just finding the decision maker, but actually making the sale – and gaining experience and expertise for the next sale.

Now you have to make a decision.
Decide to try it my way!

Reprinted with permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer.

About the Author

Jeffrey GitomerJeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website,, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at [email protected].

Where your company is headquartered makes a big difference to your bottom line

Where a business is headquartered can make a huge difference in the skill level of your employees, raising capital and attracting customers. This time of a year is an important reminder that where your company is headquartered also can have a significant impact on your bottom line.

For startups deciding where to establish roots or for growing companies looking to relocate, these factors should be top of mind when deciding on home base, since corporate taxes differ greatly by state. As the Tax Foundation notes, for example, some states have no traditional corporate income tax (like Texas, Nevada and Colorado), while Alaska collects a whopping $993 per capita.

And while taxes are not the only consideration a company should give when deciding where to locate, the significant variance can affect the bottom line by a substantial amount and has led to an influx of companies moving into lower-taxed locales.

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About the Author

Craig CasselberryCraig Casselberry is the founder and president of Austin-based Quorum Public Affairs, Inc., where he has managed more than 100 strategic communications projects for half of the Fortune 50 companies, issue coalitions, and federal, state and local public policy campaigns for corporate clients of all sizes. As a 20-year-veteran of the Texas political and business communities, Craig is a sought-after speaker and consultant, advising firms like AT&T, FedEx, Dell and Ford as well as early-stage companies on their growth strategies in Texas.

Big-Name Firm or Hands-on Experience: How to Get the Most out of Your Internship

Internships can be a valuable stepping stone for college students to start on their career path. But when it comes to deciding where to intern, students must consider where they’ll gain the most experience. Should they pursue a big-name firm that offers prestige, or will a small company offering practical, hands-on experience that is directly related to their career goals be a better choice? This decision is often predicated on what year of college the student is in.

Although working at a big-name company looks great on a resume, you’ll want to spend your time doing more than fetching coffee and answering phones. If a big name firm gives you the opportunity to do meaningful work that will help build your resume, great. Smaller firms can be a great choice and offer incredible career-related exposure with varied responsibilities. There is great value in being able to show potential employers you’ve had meaningful experience in your intended field. This experience becomes more important as you move closer to graduation.

As a freshman or sophomore, going for the big-name company is fine since there is still plenty of time to gain practical experience during a later internship. However, juniors should aim for an internship that will provide ample opportunities to hone skills that will be significant when it comes time to seek full-time employment after graduation.

An internship is an important part of your career development strategy. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you research possible internships and companies:

  • Internships offer a reality check. They allow you to see what it’s actually like to work in the field you think you want to work in – or you may realize that you hate it and that it’s not for you. Regardless, this is all valuable insight.
  • Internships are a good recruiting tool for HR departments. Human resource departments offer these as a means to recruit the best students from the top schools. Attaining and completing a quality internship is a means to securing full-time employment upon graduation.
  • Position yourself as a serious candidate just as you would for a job search for a full-time position. That means you have to market yourself. Develop a great cover letter. Clean up your Facebook page. Set up a LinkedIn profile. You have one chance to make a good impression.
  • School programs can pave the way. See if your college offers a formal program to connect students with companies that offer internships.
  • Be proactive if your school does not have such a program. Contact HR departments at companies where you may want to intern to see what they offer. Ask your academic advisors if they can help get you connected to the right companies. Start networking through LinkedIn and other contacts to see who knows someone at companies that interest you.
  • Don’t procrastinate. Start looking for a summer internship as early as January because these positions go quickly.
  • Cast a wide net. Be open to companies of all sizes. Consider paid and unpaid internships.
  • Once you land the internship, take advantage of all it has to offer. Get involved in all the company’s intern-related activities and training opportunities. Network with heads of as many departments as possible. Treat it like a ‘real job.’

Whether you apply for and accept an internship at a large company or small one, remember that internships are really designed to give students a leg up in a very competitive job market, and give employers a head start in recruiting the best of the best. Interns that perform well stand a good chance of receiving a job offer even before they graduate.

About the Author

Kathy HarrisKathy Harris is Managing Partner of New York City-based Harris Allied, an executive search firm specializing in Technology, UX/UI Design and Quant Analyst placement services in the Financial Services, Professional Services, Consumer Products, Digital Media and Tech Industries For more information, visit Contact Kathy Harris at [email protected].