I recently read the book “Make Big Happen” by Mark Moses. In Make Big Happen, Moses identifies the four critical blindspots CEOs encounter as they scale their business. This particular chapter resonated with me as I reflected on my journey transitioning from recruiting to Sprint Recruiting. Here are 3 blindspots I find most common in Talent Leaders I coach. I chose to use common quotes to hopefully make it hit home.
I can’t delegate to my team
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard this one…
This says a lot about a leader. Granted, there are times when delegating is impossible due to the maturity or experience level of a team. There have been times in my career when I was unable to delegate for this reason.
As the demand for strategy grows, the role of the Talent Leader changes. The role tends to start off focused on the process or the fire handling in the initial phase. This is a temporary period and should be all the more reason for leaders to focus on what really matters-driving strategy and results.
I find leaders who struggle with this particular blindspot do it unknowingly. They tend to have a parental or savior complex for the team. I hear things like, “It’s quicker for me to do it” or “I want to do it so they can focus on x”. These are time suckers and will eventually cause your blindspot to evolve into a grudge against your team. This is a self inflicted negative cycle that can be broken.
I shared in a previous post a tip I learned early from a mentor. It uses an old game, Monkeys in the Barrel, to insure you use scenarios to teach rather than do for your team. Check out the post here.
“I like to be right”
Maybe this isn’t something someone says outright but the stories shared usually follow this theme. This particular blindspot manifests itself passively and without alerting the storyteller. All too often, this blindspot causes a bull in a china shop scenario.
There is always a choice talent leaders face: do I want to be right or do I want to be effective? The need to be right will often prevent you from being effective. The result often leads to your team being thrown like spaghetti against a wall, increasing recruiter burnout.
There’s a great tactic that has forced me to avoid this blindspot. It’s called the 5 whys.
The technique laid out by Taiichi Ohno is to ask “Why?” exactly five times, to find exactly one root cause. I know this sounds crazy but it works. Each Why forces the group and you to dig deeper to truly define the root cause versus simply going with a surface level answer. Here’s an example:
- Why? – The battery is dead. (First why)
- Why? – The alternator is not functioning. (Second why)
- Why? – The alternator belt has broken. (Third why)
- Why? – The alternator belt was well beyond its useful service life and not replaced. (Fourth why)
- Why? – The vehicle was not maintained according to the recommended service schedule. (Fifth why, a root cause)
If you want to do a shortcut and watch the video, watch it here.
Implementing this tactic will slow you down and often prevent you from falling victim to this blindspot. It also helps you focus on the right bullet holes. Learn more about this by reading: Recruiting Metrics: Are you focusing on the right bullet holes?
I inherited this team x ago
One of the most pervasive blind spots that leaders often have: They don’t put the right people in the right jobs because they think their people are going to get better. Hard as it is to say, “People that got you to where you are today typically won’t take you to where you want to go tomorrow.” This means as your company grows, you may need to replace long-time employees and hire top-caliber performers who enable your company to jump to a new level.
This might sound harsh but leaders are hired to lead. Sometimes this means holding your new team to metrics designed to assure success. I find leaders in this blindspot will often use the excuse of tenure to avoid putting the right people in the right role at the right time.
You owe it to yourself and to your team to hire the best fit for the role. This may cause you to look outside of just recruiters. Some of the best recruiters I’ve had the pleasure to work with had backgrounds unrelated to the field but had similar competencies. Example backgrounds could include sales, support functions, or even someone who’s in the types of roles who want a change.
I got into recruiting from financial sales because I hated working with recruiting-they were just ineffective. I was able to take my experience building pipelines, prospecting, managing clients and managing a portfolio and apply it to recruiting.
Sometimes you have to take a hard look at yourself to see if you’re becoming a victim of this blindspot. It’s a great idea to have someone outside the team sit down with you and do a talent review to assess if you have the right people in the right spot.
If you’d like more insight on this blindspot, check out How do Leaders Recruit and Retain Top Talent?
Another final piece of advice from the book, Moses offers four questions to reflect on:
- What do I really want?
- What do I need to do to get it?
- What’s going to get in my way?
- How do I hold myself accountable to get what I want?
I’ve used similar questions during sprints to measure progress. It’s a great way to look back, learn and then look forward.
What are some blindspots you find working with leaders?
and Sprint Recruiting
I joined the HR industry in 2004 after working as a sales leader in the Financial Services Industry for eight years. After spending his first couple of years in HR trying to fit in, I found my voice. Now I leverage all of the things I once hated about HR to become a consultant and invaluable partner to the businesses I support. I contribute to the HRGazzette and to DataDrivenInvestor on Medium. WARNING: my writing style is raw and in your face, not what you would expect from an HR executive.
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