Copyright © Dr. Stephen H. Dawson, DSL 2021
May 27, 2021
"But pattern-matching doesn't equal comprehension." Peter Watts
The thought of finding a perfect job applicant to fill any role in any organization seems impossible. It seems impossible because it is impossible. It is impossible because people are imperfect. They are imperfect as they tend to change over time.
We are working on developing your leadership skills by working on the need you have to swap out some people in your organization. The need is formed by your strategic planning work being behind schedule where you identify it is neither a workspace nor worker skills problem. We discussed last week how to approach the assessment work of job applicant credential packages. We discussed a few weeks ago the linear relationship between worldview, ethics, morality, and virtue. Today, let's talk a bit about determining if a suitable match exists between a job applicant you have and each role you need to be filled in your organization.
The matching work at hand involves much more than only considering a suitable match between the job applicant and each role you have to fill. It also involves considering the match between the job applicant and the organization. Remember, your organization includes any matrix-supplied folks involved in doing work with your people, your customers, your strategic partners, and your supply chain network. The job analysis we discussed last week may not have included these attributes. However, they need to be in there. If they are not, then the job analysis must be revised to include them as applicable.
OK, let's proceed from the point of having a satisfactory job analysis as we consider job applicants to see if you have a viable candidate for each role you need to fill. We need to first look at some terms before looking at applicants. These facts may seem harsh, but they are a crucial part of your assessment work.
An antibody does the work to neutralize either a pathogenic bacteria or virus. The intent of the pathogenic is to help, but it instead causes harm. An organization antibody is a person who does not want to follow your leadership. They resist your leadership either passively or actively.
Nicholas Evans described how an antibody could suffer the pursuit of innovation. Evans cited an article by Mitra Best, who described antibodies in a corporate setting. Both Evans and Best provided recommendations about how to remediate each antibody form. What they did not do address in their writings is why an organization antibody has so much power over their boss.
Think about the folks in your organization who have been there a long time. They have not been promoted to a senior role because they have either a character deficiency, a skills deficiency, or both. They hold the belief they know it all and tell anyone who will listen to them they know it all. This person is an example of an organization antibody. Deep down, they believe they are running the organization. They believe they are doing what is best for the organization. They refuse to listen to reason. Therefore, they have no ability to have cognitive awareness to know they are causing harm. They are as cancer is to the body.
Cancer is a disease defined by abnormal cell growth. It is possible cancer could be misinterpreted as a nodule, a small bump. A small bump could occur due to one of several conditions. The indication of a cancer being present does not appear until cancer grows to be a problem. Untreated cancer spreads in a condition known as metastasis. Early testing for cancer helps to overcome cancer unawareness. The value of proper testing here is beyond measure.
I shared several weeks back, "I cannot say a person is evil, as I do not believe it is possible. I can say their actions are or are not evil." I maintain this position. I shared a few weeks later about evil. The attributes of organization antibodies and cancer have considerable overlap with one another. They both have no ability to have cognitive awareness to know they are causing harm. They both consume a massive amount of resources as they spread. They both spread through the host, either the body or the organization, in a progressive manner. The rate of spreading is inconsistent, so not relative to objective analysis. They both have a high mortality rate, both literally and figuratively.
An organization member allowed to mature into an organization antibody is an event that does not occur overnight. It is without question the presence of an organization antibody is the result of a failure by leadership, human resources, and learning & development. Note I do not identify either a manager or a team leader as responsible here. I hold this position because their roles are not able to have an overarching view of the organization. The reasons for such failures are endless, but the leadership, human resources, and learning & development staff hold collective responsibility for the damages caused by an organization antibody.
I hold the position the only way to treat an organization antibody is to remove them from the organization and place their leader on a rapid performance improvement plan. If I do not see substantial adherence to the performance improvement plan by their no-longer leader in my eyes, then their no-longer leader is no longer a part of my organization. The corrective action to address the human resources poor performance is to replace the human resources business partner serving my organization immediately. The corrective action to address the learning & development staff performance is to replace their leader serving my organization and place all learning & development staff on a rapid performance improvement plan. All activities, and I mean all activities, performed by the learning & development staff for my organization cease until there is credible evidence they are each qualified to perform learning & development work. The support necessary for the human resources and learning & development staff corrective actions may require support from your boss. You should be able to get it without difficulty since you have credible proof of the harm caused to the organization by their respective failures to deliver quality work.
The term credential is the combination of work experience, education, degrees, certifications, and licenses earned and held by an individual that each has relevance to each role you need to fill in your organization. These individual credentials then feed into forming organization credentials. All aspects of any credential must be validated during the job application process by your organization. You must know, without a doubt, a clear understanding of the abilities each job applicant holds today. What credentials they held in the past may be nice to know, but that was then. You are evaluating now.
Gaining credentials from a source that is not accredited is possible, but the validation process becomes much more costly to accomplish. It may not be possible to validate a credential that is not from an accredited source. A non-validated credential is termed as hope but not a credential.
We discussed last week the value of third-party testing. The cost of testing each applicant may not be worth the expense. The need is still present to know the personality of each applicant. If you do not have the ability to fund personality testing a job applicant you advance to candidate status to know if they are a viable candidate, then your ability to advance applicants through your evaluation process is reduced. How much of a risk can you afford to take at this point in the assessment-to-matching process?
You have rooted out those job applicants who do not hold the skills necessary to fill each role you need to be filled in your organization. You know you cannot afford to interject harm to your organization by bringing in an organization antibody. You are wondering if you can afford to measure a personality without an objective third-party test. The answer is you cannot. You will have to bear the risk of going forward without measuring personality should you chose not to use third-party personality testing. This risk will have to be managed as any other risk.
We discussed worldview a few weeks back. You are wondering how the applicant's worldview matches both your worldview and the worldview held by those in your organization. You can get this information from the screening call. I addressed last week how to go about this action during the interview you conduct with them. Specifically, you are looking for their position on social and political matters. You must follow fair employment laws to be a credible leader. So, how do you get this information?
You get this information by asking three questions. One question focused on a social aspect. One question focused on a political aspect. Then, one question overlapping both a social and political aspect. Use three different aspects in these three questions. Write the questions to be as figurative as possible. Look for timeless topics common across all cultures, present in all points of history, having reasonable belief they will be present in the future. These answers will provide you enough information to know if you have an applicant that can advance to a candidate.
If you are matching applicants without a third-party personality evaluation, then you must accomplish this evaluation in the next step of your interviewing process. You cannot experience success in finding a suitable candidate without performing a clear personality evaluation. Prepare for the costs of third-party personality evaluations.
Record all screening calls. Have the calls transcribed. Read the entire transcript. Listen to the parts of the audio recording you find interesting by way of the transcript.
Match the notes of the person conducting the screening call to the call transcript. Identify any mismatch in what the caller observed in comparison to the response of the applicant. This mismatch will help you understand if there is a personality or worldview mismatch with your organization. It will also help you qualify the work of the person conducting the screening call. This collective understanding will arrive because you have a satisfactory job analysis, you wrote the questions for the screening call, and you placed boundaries on the screening call. This reasoning is found in the plan we discussed last week.
I recommend you take time this week to consider the impact of an organization antibody in your organization. Prepare your screening call questions based on the material we covered this week. Finally, look for providers of counseled results interpretation to assist you in selecting applicants to become candidates based on the plan we discussed last week.
So, I ask you: where do you want to go? I hope your answer is to develop the plans necessary to accomplish the strategy you know you need to achieve to arrive at your desired destination. If this is the case, then let's get to work. If not, then I wish you the best of everything.
I hope we will see each other here next week. Email me if you need to talk before then.
Dr. Stephen H. Dawson, DSL
Executive Strategy Consultant
Stephen Dawson is an executive consultant of technology and business strategy, serving significant international organizations by providing leadership consulting, strategic planning, and executive communications. He has more than thirty years of service and consulting experience in delivering successful international business development and program management outcomes in the US and SE Asia. His weekly column, "Where Do You Want To Go?," appears on Thursdays.
Dr. Dawson has served in the technology, banking, and hospitality industries. He is a noted strategic planning visionary. His pursuit of music has been matched with his efforts to lead by service to followers. He holds the clear understanding a leader without followers is a person taking a long walk alone.
Stephen has lived his life in the eastern United States, visiting most of the United States and several countries. He is a graduate of the Regent University School of Business & Leadership. Contact him at email@example.com.