Risk Tips 0003 – On Talent Management

“As a leader, you get what you tolerate.”

Susan Scott, Fierce Conversations 60 (2004).

Nonprofits often hire slowly and fire slowly. Both can hurt the organization. Hiring slowly may allow the best candidates to get away, since in-demand candidates generally don’t stick around. Firing slowly forces an organization to accept under-performance longer than it should.

This maxim doesn’t mean you should hire and fire people without a solid rationale. But if you have an effective hiring process, so that you know exactly what you are looking for and hire for those characteristics, the new hire should be able to contribute. If you have performance issues, intervene as soon as you can. Susan Scott’s book is a great resource for managing tough conversations. For great tips about performance issues and firing, try Alison Green and Jerry Hauser’s excellent Managing to Change the World (2012), particularly Chapter Nine.

In short, it is rarely compassionate to keep someone in a job for which they aren’t qualified.

Risk Tips is a periodic posting on the Risk Alternatives blog. Here, we share some of our favorite thinkers’ favorite thoughts (and a few of our own). Please buy the books we quote: we want you to build your library of risk management and process improvement gems. To find out more about risk management, start here

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