A Leader's Most Important Decision

Great leaders Engage and Develop Others. This is the second practice in the SERVE model. There are actually three parts to this practice. I’ll start with the first and explain the others in upcoming posts.
During one of Peter Drucker’s public addresses late in his life, he was asked about the most important decision an executive (leader) makes. He answer was simply: “Who does what.”

The longer I’ve been in leadership, the more I’ve come to believe that statement. At Chick-fil-A, we’re blessed to have very high retention. When asked for the reason, I confess that there are probably many. However, I think the greatest factor is selection. We work tirelessly to get the right person in the right job.
The first part of Engagement is who you recruit and who you select. As I’ve talked with other leaders about this, everyone agrees in principle. But how does your belief actually translate into the practices of your organization?
Here are a few practices to consider that could enhance your selection process:

  • Multiple interviews – not two or three, maybe 8 – 10 or more!
  • Behavioral based interviews – The best indication of future performance is past performance. Look for specific, tangible examples from the candidate's past that build your confidence in their ability to perform.
  • Allow the candidate to interview the hiring manager. Give the candidate time to prepare and let them ask you the hard questions.
  • Provide the candidate with personal and professional references of the hiring manager. You’re going to check their references; why not let them check you out?
  • Targeted referencing at the end of the process - After 6 – 8 – 10 interviews, members of your staff may have specific areas they want to probe. Use their input to craft the questions you’ll explore during referencing.
  • Finally, try to talk the candidate out of taking the job.  If you can, you should. If you can talk them out of it, there’s a good chance they’re not a good long-term fit.

Think about how many of your problems would go away if you get the right person in the right job.

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Daniel Harkavy

11 years ago

Great post Mark! Very helpful for me as I assess how to best align our team here at Building Champions as we grow. Thanks for sharing!


11 years ago

Joshua Raef

11 years ago

Very interesting...I've always been proud that our new team members went through three interviews to get on board at my restaurant, but you've challenged my thinking. There have been times where I've thought we haven't been thoroughly vetting but I think, "My goodness, we're doing THREE INTERVIEWS, that should be good enough!" Why not stretch it and dive deeper? Thanks for this perspective!

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