Cargo Cult Management
It’s a classic – you see a successful practice at another company and copy it. To a “tee.” It’s the same thing that happened when Jack Welch used to appear on the cover of Fortune or Forbes; the article extolled the virtues and attributes of some GE initiative. Every head of HRA would cringe upon seeing the cover because they knew that the next day their CEO would come by and wonder why “we aren’t doing this here?”
Unfortunately – and this holds for hiring managers – is that you don’t get the same results because the company that did employ a specific practice did so after understanding their processes, culture and environment.
The most challenging job of a recruiter is to help the hiring manager understand existing processes, culture and environment before adopting any new policy, practice or procedure.
Playing “Guess What I Want”
Any of you divorced out there? Remember what communication was like with your ex? When something was wrong would they shoot back with “If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you.”?
Same with hiring managers – they don’t offer their expectations for behavior and performance and let’s be realistic, most recruiters don’t offer their side. Instead, they guess.
When people guess they will either guess wrong – bad, bad, bad – or will not act until they know what you want. Very bad for recruiting…
Ever work with a hiring manager who is lovey-dovey face-to-face but speaks poorly of you to their superiors? Why couldn’t they give you feedback in the first place? Maybe they’re uncomfortable doing so despite the fact that we judge others – in this case, the hiring manager judges the recruiter – by their performance. Instead of having the feedback talk that could point inward, many hiring managers protect themselves at the recruiter’s expense.
Half a Loaf Decision Making
Implementation is missing link during decision-making. You and the hiring manager can talk all you want about process but if you don’t get to the walk-the-walk part, all the work is moot. The hiring manager can agree that their charges should attend local user groups or professional conferences but if the hiring manager then creates an environment where people aren’t rewarded for doing so, what difference does it make that a plan was created?
A decision is never done until implemented.
Potemkin Village Reporting
I found out about Grigory Potemkin when I read the article.
Grigory Potemkin was a soldier. He achieved immense power in the Russia of the late 18th Century first by becoming the lover of the Empress Catherine, and then by being very good at power games.
Catherine appointed him the Governor of what was then called “New Russia”- the Southern Ukraine. Potemkin sent back reports about what he accomplished. But he often reported accomplishments that he hadn’t gotten around to yet.
When Catherine came to tour the territory and see Grigory’s accomplishments for herself, Potemkin erected facades of prosperous-looking villages for the Empress to pass through. That’s where we get the term Potemkin Village for “a pretentious facade designed to cover up a shabby or undesirable condition.”
Potemkin Village reporting displays the good, the beautiful and the profitable. It hides the bad news deep in the verbiage in the middle of the document. Sometimes the bad news is left out altogether.
You’ll be tempted to do Potemkin Village reporting. You’ll be tempted to make your work seem better than it is. Don’t do it. Your reputation is the most important thing you have in business or in life. Potemkin Village reporting will tarnish it.
Recruiting must be above board and truthful. When it’s working well and the results are coming in, talk it up, celebrate it. But when the results are less than desired, do the very same thing. You can’t improve what you never discuss.
Talk to your hiring managers about this but keep your performance in focus as well. On any two way street traffic flows in both directions…