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Shooting for the moon: Setting the course of leadership

You do not lead by hitting people over the head. That's assault, not leadership.
—President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Your day may be made up of numerous tough calls: who to assign to a pivotal project, the right words to finally win over a candidate or influence a hiring manager, what to have for lunch.

Presidents’ Day may be an occasion to appreciate not having had to sweat some of the choices that have shaped our national identity. Nearly 56 years ago, at a moment when the total time spent in space by any American amounted to fewer than 15 minutes, President John F. Kennedy committed the United States to “land a man on the Moon, and return him safely to the Earth” before the decade was out.

So while you’re (probably) not running a country or sending associates into space, the path you set with your vision can still place significant demands on your team. A good leader asks the right questions, gets the right answers, and discerns the right course of action for advancing their vision.

How do you set the course for your talent acquisition objectives?

Have a big, clearly defined goal

Sending a person to the moon and bringing them safely back to their home planet is a pretty big goal. It’s also very specific.

A general goal to improve your recruiting process is not specific. A goal to spend less on your recruiting efforts is marginally better. A goal of saving millions of dollars using a hiring initiative that predicts new-hire retention and reduces recruiting and training demands is compelling—and precise.
 
Are your goals understandable? Are your targets and timetables clear? Don’t expect to meet a goal you can’t define. And you will never reach a goal you never set.

Know why your goal matters

Defining why you want to meet a goal provides your team focus and fortitude, motivation and momentum for reaching for the stars. Communicating the value of your goal to your organization ensures teammates stay engaged and committed to achieving it.

The Apollo project that would put the first human feet on the moon meant different things to different people. Some wanted to arrive on the lunar surface before anyone else, others just aimed to arrive there before the Soviets could. Still others promoted the project as an opportunity to create jobs, push the limits of science, or gather under a vast banner of national pride.

If you’re considering changing your hiring routine, be sure you understand what’s motivating you. If you’re thinking of turning to big data and talent analytics to make better hiring decisions, are you simply being carried by the current of a trend? Or have you identified and prioritized the need for more objective methods and predictable outcomes?

Leaders make intentional choices to do what’s best for their organization based on an evaluation of what their organization really needs. While big data solutions for finding and hiring candidates are promising, they deserve careful consideration and investigation into how they can best serve you. Be sure you know the pitfalls and possibilities.

Get others on board early and often

Before President Kennedy committed to journey to and from the moon, he sought the expertise of scientists, policy makers, even the Department of Defense. He had the backing of researchers, politicians, and other collaborators when he presented his historic challenge to NASA and the nation.

Investing in building a coalition will go a long way toward meeting your goal. Win the support of your hiring managers, recruiters, and team members. Empower them with best practices, educate them with data, persuade them of the value of the candidate experience.

Build a team that understands your big goals, believes in them, and will take action to drive their achievement. Making team members not just supporters but part owners of the process will make everyone more successful.

Leading the way to what’s right for you

If you’re searching for how to optimize your hiring process, talk to us. Shaker has a long track record of success in staffing process improvement. Bolster your leadership vision with a partner who can turn your ideas into action and results.

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