Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Pick Your Team For Skills

One of the most famous scenes from the Mission Impossible TV show was Mr. Phelps scanning through dossiers as he put together just the right team.  For the mission to be successful, Mr. Phelps knew that he needed specific kinds of people with specific skills to do specific tasks. 

This seems obvious, right?   If the mission required someone to carry a 300 pound suitcase through a building without it looking heavy, then Willy Armitage was the person selected because he was the strongest man alive.  It didn’t matter if supermodel Cinnamon Carter had worked for the agency longer or had great acting skills, she would not possess the key strength needed to get the job done.

If the mission required an electronics expert, then Barney Collier was the person selected because he was a brilliant electronics engineer.  It would not have mattered if Rollin Hand, the Master of Disguise, had more seniority… or could imitate any voice… or was an escape artist.  He did not have the key skills needed to get the job done. 

How are YOUR team selections made at your company?  Are you looking at the skills needed? Or are you simply looking at rather meaningless things like seniority?  For instance, if you need to hire a manager or supervisor, the skills you need to look for are the ability to lead and manage people, to bring people together and effectively represent the company to their team.  Seniority alone does not address these key traits that are vital to mission success. It may be less troublesome for you take the easy way out and promote the person who has worked at the company the longest (so that they don’t file a grievance because they were clearly in line to get that job) but it does NOT get the job done. 

No one said Jim Phelps job was easy.  No one said your job as a company manager was an easy one either.  But if we are going to do our job properly and accomplish our mission, we need to do it right…and promoting people without the skills to do the job is NOT how we successfully complete our mission. 

ACTION:  Select ONLY for skills and stand behind your decision.

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