If there’s anything I hear when working with Executives and their teams, it’s the constant challenge of finding good people and working with the ones they have. Phrases like “we can’t find good people” and “why don’t they get it?” abound.

I’ve been there, I’ve expressed many of those same gripes. The answer lies in changing the conversations… so that you can change your business practices… so that you can change your outcomes and results.

Finding Quality Talent With Some Tough Love

Change the conversation by asking these 5 Tough Love Questions in a way that leaves time for thoughtful answers and introspection:

    • 1. How often have we had to delay projects or initiatives or leave a key role open longer than we wanted to because we couldn’t find the right person?
      For discussion: Is the cost of having quality talent on board (and productively working on one of our many To Do list projects) more or less than the cost of NOT having the right person when we really need them?
    • 2. How recently have we gone ahead and filled the role with whoever was available… and lived to regret it?
      For discussion: What would be possible if we had a more robust hiring process so that we hired beyond the “obvious talent” and got a great fit with our culture, some unexpected talents, and a real keeper? How much has each of those bad-hire mistakes cost us, in terms of recruitment time, energy and fees, orientation and training, wear and tear on the organization, salary and benefits that didn’t deliver an ROI, and severance costs? Is that number high enough that we want to do something about it?
    • 3. How much damage have people who were not a fit done to our organization in terms of time, energy, impact on the engagement of others, etc.?
      For discussion: Have we lost good people or diminished their engagement because of a toxic resource? Destroyed productivity? Paid the price for someone’s bad decisions on the job? Lost opportunities? Spent our valuable time trying to fix Donkeys rather than supporting our Racehorses? Felt the wear and tear on ourselves as we agonized over a decision we knew needed to be made?
    • 4. When was the last time we lost good people because we simply didn’t have good growth opportunities for them?
      For discussion: when a new opportunity exists, do we automatically go looking externally for someone who has the skills, rather than looking at our internal resources who are a great fit for our culture but may need skills development? Do we “develop” or do we “find” as our usual way of doing business? How open are we to creating new opportunities for great people and quality talent who are ready for more, even if there’s no box on the existing organizational chart? How much effort do we make to help them find “Flow” and then structure the job to support that?
    • 5. Who are we overlooking for right now, because we don’t have a good way to identify and develop high potential performers?
      You may find that you’re outstanding in some areas, weak in others, or you may find this entire line of questioning a sobering wake-up call… Especially if you have a history of too many seats left vacant too long for lack of talent or unfortunate new hires washing out and costing you a bundle.

Which of the questions above will be the most difficult for your executive team to come to grips with and take action on?

#1 Bestselling Author, International Speaker, and Accelerator Anne C. Graham is on a mission to help business leaders and their teams double their profit per employee – or more – in less than one year, in less time per week than they’re spending on email per day. Her book Profit in Plain Sight includes the 5-step proactive P.R.O.F.I+T Roadmap to do it. Connect with Anne on LinkedIn.