Working for a scared business? Probably.

There are two numbers ever-present in my mind right now. I came across them in a report from Deloitte last year:

1. 90% of businesses believe their core business is threatened by a digital competitor challenging their products or services
2. 70% of businesses believe they don’t have the right leadership, skills or operating model to adapt

Oh, boy. These insights are remarkable on their own, but even more remarkable in combination. The simple interpretation is that the vast majority of businesses are in a state of fear. Not only do they not know what to do about it, but they don’t feel they have the right people, skills or resources to deal with the required changes they know they need to make. Regardless of their strategic posturing and machinations.

Wow. Just wow!

Let’s point out something obvious: the relentless pace of change has been more than challenging for many businesses and too challenging for some.

Strategies are created to present confidence and plan outcomes with certainty, but the reality is that these strategies need to be constantly adapted to tune into the change that is taking place around them. The hubris and machismo of declaring a strategy needs to have the intelligence and agility to actively understand how the strategy can be reinterpreted and redelivered on a continuous basis if it is to have any substance.

That’s hard, but it’s not a reason to fail.

Strategies shouldn’t be a threat. ‘Do this or else’ is hardly a way to encourage and engage the intellect of an organisation; strategy shouldn’t be autocratically imposed. Businesses should be about collective curiosity, interpretation and imagination to deliver something of purpose and value to a market, not just the business.

Businesses also exist in a dynamic eco-system. The delivery of a strategy needs determination, but it also needs to be adaptive. If a brand wants to be perceived as a leader in say, innovation, what that meant two years ago is of course very different to what that means today, or what that will mean in two years’ time. Businesses will only cope and deliver a strategy if they have the intelligence to see their strategy within a dynamic context. But too often this simple insight is arrogantly cast aside as an ambiguous paradox, rather than a challenge that must be managed.

Businesses need the right people to cope in such changing climates. This isn’t an attitudinal statement that can be intuitively grasped. It’s about predicting the performance of your people and prospective people through the lens of business performance.

But how many businesses really understand the behaviours that deliver value in their organisations? Chemistry’s What Great Looks Like (WGLL™) does this. It is consultative process that provides insight around the behaviours of your top performing people; the people that exhibit the behaviours that add value to a business. We understand what they do and analyse their Values, Motivations, Behaviours, Intellect and Experience. We then profile potential candidates to see who are most likely to replicate the value-adding business behaviours that have built success, so the business is fuelled by a succession of the people that are predisposed to add value in the future. If agility is important to your business, for example, because you recognise that the future is uncertain and need the ability to adapt and transform, we find people with a propensity to deliver that agility.

This sort of behavioural language lifts the profile of target recruits and because it is supported by an in-depth psychometric test, you can be confident that you’ll get recruits that will be predisposed to deliver value-building behaviours based upon an evidence-based approach. This data point should also vitally block people from the organisation that won’t support the needs that have been articulated.

This is a much more robust way of assessing prospective candidates that safeguards culture and business performance in a way that a standard interview process simply won’t.

Interviews are predominantly based on a notoriously intuitive transaction taking place. One party has a vacancy that needs filling and another party is looking to fill a vacancy. Small wonder that the process is littered with predictability, becomes so overly-rehearsed that is lacks insight and, ultimately, compromises both parties’ objectives.

Chemistry’s Select hiring tool will often create surprises in terms of the diversity of people it brings into an organisation and where you can draw them from. But it significantly out-punches the lame recruitment processes of the past that simply aim to re-stock a business with an ill-informed objective: ‘more of the same’. The short-termism of recruiting to fill a vacancy, as opposed to recruiting through the precision of their value-adding behaviours – of What Great Looks Like – is a key factor behind why businesses fail to adapt to their future.

If fear is apparent inside your business – and the data shows it almost certainly is – focus on getting the right people inside your business to actively tackle the challenges it faces.

The evidence of 70% of businesses would indicate that you probably don’t believe you have them right now. Consequently, you don’t want ‘more of the same’; bringing people in that re-stock the business with ‘more of the same’ will only block the opportunity to change.

As FDR once famously said, ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself’ – and it’s as true in business right now as it was during the Second World War. A scared business is a paralysed business. Optimism and positivity are stifled. Fear spreads like a flu virus.

The right people fight fear. They wrestle with the ambiguities of our complex business models. They’re curious about what’s going to happen next and seek out the opportunities that change presents.

They’re out there, but you need the right recruitment process to find them.

May, 30, 2017

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