Leaders Want To Know “How To”

Again this week we heard from a client in a frustrating tone, “we need you to tell us how to do it”. While meeting with the leadership team of a first time client, they were describing challenges customary of a fast growing family owned business. Concerns regarding organization, hiring practices, leadership effectiveness, behavioral differences, family member visions, roles and responsibilities. They had called in several consultants before crossing our path to help them make sense of the chaos and understand what a strategy and direction might look like. They needed to get this beast (the business) under control. The first idea they felt they needed to convey to us was “the previous consultants told us what to do but not how to do it. We need to know how to do the – what to do”. They went on to share the frustration they faced with not knowing what is step 1, then step 2. When consultants don’t share the “how to” , it makes people doubt their understanding and competency.

Say the “what to do” looks like – A leader needs to be more intentional and focused in their hiring. Great, in the eyes of the client that means what? This type of answer leaves people lost and scrambling for answers. Anybody can sound like an expert with that advice. What people need are the “how to’s” of hiring. Step 1. For the position that needs to be filled, develop a job description, list of responsibilities, and description of decision making authority if not already completed. Develop a list of what a new hire must learn and what they must do in their first 90 days. Show them good examples. If they don’t have time, do it for them. Step 2. Develop a list of behavioral questions. Show examples or do it for them. Step 3: Assess each manager with only a normative assessment to discover their leadership DNA. Schedule their debrief with specific goals in writing. Step 4. Work with the client to set assessment behavioral benchmarks. Step 5. Have applicants complete the same normative assessment that the leader completed, and measure against benchmarks.

You get the idea. This is the “how to” that people want and need to know.