Article Published in Auckland Today, November 2014
By Leigh Paulden, 30 October 2014
In business your people are most likely the biggest “investment challenge.” And I say challenge, because as a growing business you need to hire people that are not only right for the now, but to help you move the business to bigger and better things in the future.
In my work with companies, both medium and large, it’s a challenge they all seem to have, that of hiring for the future.
When a role becomes vacant or the business has reached a stage where a new seat needs to be added on the bus, I often see the employer set the accountabilities and responsibilities for the role with what is required right now. There has been very little consideration given to what this role will be in five years from now.
This can and often will very quickly create a bottleneck in capability. Thinking five years forward, even two years, can be challenging, but this is where a professional, outside assistance and the creation of a clear strategic plan makes a positive difference. From a consultancy perspective this is where we can add a lot of value helping businesses gain clarity on where the business is going, what skill is really required, what key roles look like in the future – all helping people to hire to grow their businesses capabilities.
The first question asked is what will the role look like in relation to future turnover. If the company is at $30m revenue now, and in five years the projected revenue is $75m, is the job description for this role now what it will need to be when the revenue is increased? This is when you have to stop and consider what is needed in the future and how you can shape that into the job which needs to be filled right now.
Ask yourself – are we creating a bottle neck by looking at what is described here? Are we looking at what will be required of this roll when we have $75m in revenue? And, do we need to go back and look at all the seats on the bus and determine which ones are really going to be required for the company at $75m revenue?
I highly recommend a strategic approach to this exercise. It’s not unusual to see the current leadership retained and then new positions created under them to accommodate growth. But, is this really the best option? Is it the best strategic move or just the simplest? Often that’s a tricky call and one that is best made with an outside perspective to help guide the decision making.
Next, you have to move to the process of establishing the accountabilities for each of the strategically important seats on the bus. What KPI’s are the seats accountable for, and what are the responsibilities and skill sets for each seat?
I have just been through this exercise with three clients – each had a key position that needed filled. In all three cases, the strategic planning and looking forward has resulted in each of the companies altering the profile of the person that they were looking to hire. Each now has a job description that allows for the additional skill sets and accountability the company will need going forward.
During this process, it also became clear that the warehousing facilities, one of the company’s was planning, to meet its capacity for the next 10 years plus, would not even be sufficient in three to four years’ time. This is now being looked at again from a strategic level to ensure it will align to the companies longer term strategy. A big mistake has been avoided simply by focusing closely on where that particular bus is pointing in the short to medium term – and of course that has to align with the company’s bigger purpose and goals.
Getting the right people in the right seats is essential if a business is to grow, and in my work as a business consultant – it’s the one area where we can add immense value to our clients to ensure their growth is continual and as stress free as possible. You pour a lot of time and money into your team – so make sure it’s the right people you are investing into.
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Leigh Paulden is an internationally certified business consultant working alongside New Zealand businesses serious about growth.LET'S TALK!