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Entries in Hiring (2)


How to Fail at Assessing People

Assessment tools that help us assess our people’s strengths and weaknesses can be helpful. They help us gain valuable insights about the people we lead, work with and report to. Such insights can lead to better relationships, higher productivity and happier workplace. But when they are not used properly, they can lead to misunderstanding, frayed relationships and a demoralizing work environment.

In 15 years of working with businesses, I have witnessed many assessment initiatives, many of them quite successful but quite a few of them that were not so successful. The good news is that it’s not too difficult to spot, right at the beginning, which ones would succeed at getting the desired results, and which ones would fail.  Following are some ways in which assessment initiatives fail with some ideas on how to correct them.

1) Address only one or two of the human dimensions.

Human beings are fascinating creatures. They have many facets. One could argue that they have infinite number of facets. I believe that people are impossible to “figure out” with computer based tools. And yet, I also believe that such tools can be enormously helpful in effectively working with them.

As far as assessments are concerned, human development consists of three phases: 1) Nature, 2) Nurture and 3) Applied.

The Nature dimension addresses those traits that we are born with or genetically predisposed to at birth. The Nurture dimension addresses traits that are a result of our social and parental conditioning, most of which happens after birth through our formative years. The Applied dimension is what’s consciously developed by a person on her own volition.

Most assessments address only one of these three primary dimensions and do not tell a full story. In my observation, most assessments in the marketplace address only the first and the third dimensions, Nature and Applied, largely ignoring the second dimension, Nurture, which has tremendous impact on the behaviors of a person. Such fragmented assessments lead to improper labeling, poor judgements and incorrect use of people’s skills, gifts and talents.

Awayre’s assessment tools cover the full gamut of these three phases of human development. That way, you are assured that you are not using fragmented, incomplete or one- or two-dimensional data in assessing your people. Visit us at http://www.awayre.com for more information.


Training Does Not Work

This is my compilation of 11 of the most severe mistakes businesses make in training their people. 

4. Training is Conducted to Fix Hiring Mistakes

We hire someone because she looks great on the resume and interviews well. But later, we find out that she is not what she seemed to be. We thought we were hiring a star, but we got a dud!

And here’s the mistake we often make: we decide to give her some training to “fix” her weaknesses and turn her into a star that we thought she was. 

In most cases, I would guarantee that you will be disappointed with the results of such training. You see, there are things that often do not show on the resume or in the interview: talent, behavioral traits, emotional predisposition, intellectual leanings and other intangible qualities. A few of these things could be “trained into” people; for the most part it can’t be done. These traits already need to be there, for the given situation, position and job function. 

If a coach is looking for a great tennis player, he would first find someone with a raw talent first and then give her coaching and training. Imagine trying to train someone with no natural talent at playing tennis. That’s what we do when we send the wrong hire to the training program.
And sometimes we make the same mistake with people who have been with us for a while but need to perform better than they have been performing. Which brings me to…

5. Wrong Training is Delivered to Wrong Peopl

Before investing in training, we need to make sure that we have the right people in the right slots, doing the right things. Once that’s in place, giving them appropriate training could take them from mediocre performance to great performance.

There are also those that have become comfortable in their roles and are at a point where they are not willing to change. In such cases, “management mandate” can overcome the lack of will to show up at the training class but won’t convert a non-learner into a learner.

They will give the training lip-service and later claim that it did not work, just as they said it would not. 

6. Putting an Under-Performer in Training and Hoping that He will Outperform Your Top Producer

While this can certainly happen, expecting it to happen is a mistake. Many things have to be in place before training actually results in learning and ultimately a change in behavior. A better strategy is to hire (or find from another department) a better candidate in the first place and then giving them some training. 

One solution to all of the above mistakes is to make sure that you have the right raw talent with the right intangible qualities doing the right things in the first place. Some of the leaders have the talent to spot the such talent. But most don’t. How do you know if you, as a leader, have such a telent? look at the folks you have hired and placed in the past. How did they work out? Be honest with yourself, now. 

If you find out that you don’t have the talent to find and place the right people in your organization, don’t despair. Most leaders don’t. In such case, you need to seek outside help. It’s part of what we do at AMBICA Training. 

Here’s the full list of training mistakes, those that we covered in the past and those that we will soon cover. 

4. Training is Conducted to Fix Hiring Mistakes.

5. Wrong Training is Delivered to Wrong People.

6. Putting an Underperformer in Training and Hoping that She will Outperform Your Top Producer.

7. Expecting a “Graduation Date” for Your Training Efforts: Certificate Mentality Versus Learning Mentality.

8. Putting All Your Money in Technical or Skills Training Versus Human Side of Training.

9. Ignoring Doing a Return On Analysis on the Training Program You Invest In.

10. Viewing Training as a Commodity.

11. Expecting Training to be Easy and Comfortable