8 Things You Need to Know About Your New Hire or Contractor and Probably Don’t

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8 Things You Need to Know About Your New Hire or Contractor and Probably Don’t

In your pursuit of Operational Excellence (OpEx), the ultimate determiner of your organization’s profitability, growth, and innovation capability and sustainability, you must create teams of people who have rich depths of capability. Their resumes, references, certifications, education and work history — staples of every human resource department’s interviewing and hiring process — don’t provide what you really need to know. A resume is to a new-hire or contractor what a table of contents is to a biographical book. An outline of the person’s hard skills, not a read of the true gifts they can bring to your team.

The following eight sections discuss deep enrichments of an individual that make them a:

  • Force of creativity and positivity,
  • Generous collaborator,
  • Inspired innovator,
  • Fearless leader,
  • Flawless communicator,
  • Standout problem solver,
  • Calm in the storm,
  • Catalyst of adaptability, and
  • Welcome contributor to the very culture of your company.

Often referred to as soft skills or EI/EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient), these highly valued characteristics are what Psychology Today maintains are the foundation of personal and professional integrity and maturity. To onboard the right people, your human resources (HR) department or subject matter experts (SME) staffing provider needs to be weighing EQ more heavily than anything on the timeline of the standard resume. Here’s what we know about the MetaExperts we hire, and what your HR department (or the new-hire) really need to tell you…

How They Think

MetaExperts, for example, tell us not what they know about planning, deployment, leadership, metrics, roadblocks, and dozens of other keys to OpEx, but how they think about these elements in the process of defining and implementing them. They explain how they question an issue, how they deconstruct it, and ultimately how they develop alignment with its resolution and the processes involved. We interview them to determine the way they think, the dispositions of good critical thinking (Psychology Today) their:

  • Attentiveness,
  • Creativity,
  • Inquisitiveness,
  • Intrinsic goal orientation,
  • Open-mindedness,
  • Organization,
  • Perseverance,
  • Reflection,
  • Resourcefulness
  • Self-efficacy,
  • Skepticism, and
  • Truth-seeking.

What Their Real Skills Are

It’s not enough that these MetaExperts have certifications in, and extensive experience implementing business value in areas such as organizational excellence, Lean and Six Sigma, change management, and high-performing team development, they must demonstrate to us their intrinsic ability to:

  • Know the way and show people to it,
  • Inspire others to aspire,
  • Be attentive and foster attentiveness,
  • Bring and instill commitment,
  • Make others yearn for the desired outcome, and
  • Grow others.

How They Got Their Street Credentials and What They Are

While it’s very important that we know where MetaExperts have deployed extreme OpEx — their employers and contracted companies — so we can obtain references and recommendations about them, it is even more important that we know the grit of their process. Urbandictionary.com defines street credentials (or street cred) as “Street cred is the points you get for doing something impressive and bold. The more street cred you have, the cooler you are.” We define it as “the degree to which the MetaExpert influenced positive, sustainable OpEx improvement because he or she inspired the client’s people to really want it — in part because of the MetaExpert’s degree of coolness.” For us, street cred is the news from the trenches — how they were and what they delivered — from both the MetaExpert and the people in the trenches with him or her.

What’s Their Education Beyond the Classroom

The education we all get in the real world has a tremendous influence on who we are. Who we are determines where we best fit in and can make contributions. This education determines much about how MetaExperts are a good fit (or not) in the culture of our clients’ organizations. When we vet MetaExperts, we want to know how they have reacted to certain realizations while on projects and why. For example, how they:

  • Handle the fact that people are almost always ‘in it for themselves’,
  • Face negativity and turn it into positivity,
  • Work on self-improvement during their processes,
  • Work for the love of it,
  • Turn enemies to friends,
  • Network, network, network,
  • Deal with things that are out of their control,
  • Embrace and create adaptive capability,
  • React to not having super powers, and
  • Understand and deliver quality over quantity.

How Industry Savvy Are They Really

A person can work in a specific industry for decades. If they do, they are likely to deeply understand where it is going, where it came from, what drives it, who its customers are — basically, its functional profile. Yet, there is much more that we require to know of MetaExperts: we want to know their industry savvy. Savvy is more EQ than IQ. More internal, than external. Savvy is “shrewdness and practical knowledge; the ability to make good judgments” (dictionary.com). Savvy is summed up by its synonyms:

  • Acumen,
  • Acuteness,
  • Astuteness,
  • Canniness,
  • Common sense,
  • Discernment,
  • Insight,
  • Know-how,
  • Perception,
  • Perceptiveness,
  • Sagacity,
  • Sharp-wittedness,
  • Shrewdness,
  • Street smarts,
  • Understanding, and
  • Industry savvy MetaExperts are defined by these qualities.

What Are Their Highly Specialized Disciplines

Professional disciplines can be loosely categorized as branches of knowledge or experience: i.e. doctor. For your purposes, you’ll need to drill much deeper into your new-hire or contractor’s specialties — sometimes the almost obscure is exactly what you need. When we determine a MetaExpert’s super-specialized subject matter expertise, we look at their achievements in over 200 hard skills  as they relate to their industry experience. In this way, we can categorize their highly specialized disciplines. For example, an individual MetaExpert’s database file might have a verified discipline of: Supply Chain > Supplier Performance Management Specialist > Complex Manufacturing > Packaging > Pharmaceutical Industry. This tells us that they have extreme skill working with companies that have quality track records for custom packaging manufacturing for the pharmaceutical industry and that he or she can readily resolve a challenge a client in that industry has with service or providers of custom packaging.

If Their Personality Will be an Asset or Liability to Your Company Culture

This one is personal. It’s not a matter of acting these ways, but being these ways:

  • Strong and determined, but never rude or unpleasant,
  • Kind, compassionate and empathetic, but never a push-over,
  • Bold, confident, even forceful but absolutely not a bully,
  • Humble but not timid or self-denigrating,
  • Deservedly proud without a shred of arrogance,
  • Realistic, realistic, realistic, and
  • Rooted in truth and integrity.

With these characteristics, your new-hire or contractor will be an asset to you. Without them, they will be a liability.


See our 8 things you need to know about your next OpEx hire infographic here: 8 Things About a New Hire Infographic

Are They Truly Leadership Material

To determine this, revisit the seven preceding sections. Ultimately, you want the people you put in the positions of great responsibility to be defined in the way we define MetaExperts. We use the precepts in those seven sections to make sure the MetaExperts that we deploy to be team and project leaders have the highest possible combination of good qualities in each category. You should demand no less of your HR department and contract talent providers.

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