November 2014 Newsletter

Do you like public television? I do, too.

Like many of you, I was glued to my set in September watching the Ken Burns’ series on the Roosevelts, one of the most prominent and influential families in American politics.

Much of the series focused on Franklin Delano Roosevelt considered by many academics and historians — along with Abraham Lincoln — to be one of the greatest United States presidents.

Which brings up the question: What makes a great president?

Not so easy to answer, is it?

Some say troubled times. Great leaders seem to surface when most needed, it seems. Like Lincoln during the Civil War and FDR during the Great Depression of the 30s and the Second World War.

On the other hand, I suppose you could argue that without the right leadership skills, neither Lincoln nor FDR would have been able to handle these challenges so effectively.

Is it just my thinking, or do you agree that in a way, democracy leaves these leadership positions to chance? How many U.S. citizens knew when they voted these men into office what the future would require of them?

The idea of leaving leadership to luck is interesting from an organizational perspective, too. I mean, if you need new leaders in your company, you certainly would think twice about leaving their selection to chance, wouldn’t you?

We all know that in business it’s foolish to trust luck when selecting leaders.

Instead, you must be deliberate.

But you can’t do that without asking lots of questions. Questions like…

 What is our objective?
 What do we want to achieve in the next year, 5 years, 10 years?
 What is our exact strategy for reaching our objective?
 Do we have the right leaders to implement our strategy?

Knowing the answers to these questions is important because different strategies require different strengths in the leaders who will steer those strategies.

If, for instance, you have set growth as your strategic direction, you will need one kind of leader. If you select improved customer experience, however, you’ll need another kind.

And if you have only one strategy, e.g. one growth strategy, say acquisitions or stealing share from competitors or market growth across all business segments, finding the right leader or leaders is easy. Well, relatively speaking.

But if you have multiple growth strategies, you must have a leader — or leaders — with a higher skill level.

So what to do.

To begin, you can look for candidates who

1) Possess analytical skills and can quickly cut through distracting details to reach pertinent issues
2) Are able to prioritize
3) Seek training to develop the skills needed to lead effectively
4) Work hard at being a leader, analyzing actions and approaches of other great leaders, reading books on leadership and experimenting with their own approach and style.

Looking for these traits will help you isolate candidates likely to be good leaders.

But there’s more you can do. The very best companies make a detailed assessment of the talent required for the strategy they’ve selected and use this information in selecting their leaders.

More complex companies make the assessment across the organization and by business unit. They then assemble and retain a stable of excellent leaders; leaders whose roles and skills align with their company’s growth strategies.

Here’s the bottom line. Some say that good leadership, is hard to find. But in my experience, it’s not rocket science.

To find good leaders you simply need to take the time to define your objectives and then systematically recruit candidates and build leaders with the skills you need to drive your strategic direction.

The last thing you should do is leave your leadership to chance.

Your Solution Toolbox: 2 Tools to Ease Leadership Hiring and Development

“Now hold on just one minute,” you say. “You can’t be serious when you write ‘you simply need to take the time to define your objectives and then systematically recruit and build candidates with the skills you need to drive your strategic direction.’ Little is simple when it comes to recruiting or building an employee’s skills!”

I hear you, and I couldn’t agree with you more. But after you determine your strategic direction, finding the people with the leadership and people management skills to steer that direction in the very least can be manageable.

That’s because there are tools you can use that will help ease your leadership development task - tools like ProfileXT® and CheckPoint 360º™.

You can use the ProfileXT® (PXT), an assessment tool, to screen job applicants and select the best match to the job you want filled based on your candidates’ core behaviors. The PXT helps you identify if a person CAN do a job, if they WILL do a job, and if they WILL BE HAPPY doing a job.

The ProfileXT® helps you:

• Save time during the hiring process
• Create an efficient and effective hiring process
• Select the right fit for a job
• Avoid costly hiring mistakes
• Increase employee satisfaction
• Improve the new employee onboarding experience

CheckPoint 360º™
The CheckPoint 360°™ is a leadership assessment used primarily to evaluate the skills and effectiveness of your managers and leaders. This survey compiles a feedback system from direct reports, peers, and supervisors, and then creates a personalized program for developing specific leadership skills based on that feedback. The reports show you how to improve training, management techniques and communication for greater success.

If you would like more information about the Profile XT® and CheckPoint 360°™ or any of Profile International’s assessments, call me today at 952-322-3330 or send an email to
HR Consulting
Call me, too, if you are looking for professional assistance with your personnel questions. We’ll help you learn how to:
 • Understand your workers’ strengths, weaknesses and interests
 • Match people to job demands
 • Increase employee performance throughout your organization

Let's Talk! We offer a no-obligation consultation to informally assess your current policies, procedures and practices. This may help determine what's missing in your current programs. Again, call 952-322-3330 or send an email to

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