From the archives, but still relevant today – Read on for Tom’s thoughts on hiring.
Read a really terrific book called REWORK by the founders of 37 Signals. As are almost all of the books I really, really love, this is simply a collection of nuggets, loosely framed.
Three of the twelve nuggets from the chapter on HIRING really jumped out at me.
1. Hire when it hurts.“Don’t hire for pleasure; hire to kill pain.” I can’t tell you how many organizations I’ve been around that desperately want to hire a ‘Major Gift Officer‘ or more ‘Major Gift Officers’!
Nobody has prioritized their top prospects (Master Prospect List). Nobody in the organization has visited with their Top 10 or Top 20 or Top 33. There’s no Message, no Math, no Model.
Yet, we think hiring another development person/MGO is going to make some kind of difference. (more…)
Almost everyone who is looking for a senior development person or MGO (Major Gift Officer) is thinking:
“It takes a lot of money to get an ‘experienced’ Major Gift Officer …”
“I can’t pay the $80,000/$100,000 (or more) that we understand it takes to get this person.”
Bottom line: You are NOT constrained by SALARY in your search for TALENT!
Think about this creative/contrarian idea of finding TALENT at both ends of the “Talent Spectrum.” My favorite place to be looking for talent on this spectrum is on the far left or the far right. (And I’m not talking about political leanings!)
‘SUCCESS TO SIGNIFICANCE’
High Cost of Living
Make A Difference
Some thoughts on the ‘Spectrum:’
BEST & BRIGHTEST – Look on the ‘left’ end of the spectrum for incredibly passionate, excited, enthusiastic ‘BEST & BRIGHTEST!’ I would rather have two great, young, committed ‘Best & Brightest’ as Development Officers/ Major Gift Officers/Sales Staff … than an older, know everything, ‘experienced’ Development Officer. It costs the same, but I get double (triple) the coverage, usually with a much better attitude!
I look for ‘superstars.’ I love working with, coaching, mentoring the Best & Brightest. Look for young people who are unchallenged in their current job, bored, or just plain unhappy doing what they’re doing. Offer them an opportunity to MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
Seek ‘Best & Brightest’ if you’ve got a job that just requires a lot of energy, commitment, hard work, travel, etc. Don’t worry about lack of experience – think of it as no ‘baggage!’ Promise them an amazing experience, great contacts and ‘work’ days filled with challenges/meaning.
*Read Daniel Pink’s book, Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us, on why people work. The new generation wants to be involved in something with a PURPOSE, not just a PAYCHECK! Many young people can view their work at a great For Impact organization as an upgraded internship or even as a kind of volunteer/youth service commitment!
SUCCESS TO SIGNIFICANCE – This group at the ‘right’ is a terrific RESOURCE. Their families are raised and they are ready to get out of ‘rat race’, want new challenges and would love to use their experience and talent to help change the world! We love these ‘young in spirit,’ talented Eagles and Ducks coming from the for-profit world who are aligning a change in career with purpose. This group can bring a wealth of business experience, sales and financial expertise, and just plain productivity to their position/responsibilities. If it’s the ‘right fit,’ someone at this point in life can have a HUGE impact on your organization. They are looking to get ‘re-potted’ and ‘re-energized’ around something more than work, more than a job. Yes, they still need to earn income, but many have other sources, and just want to be treated fairly. Recruit them on the MESSAGE – not the MONEY!!!
ELDERS-SAGES – There is an abundance of TALENT sitting under this category – just waiting to be asked! ELDERS-SAGES are a HUGE untapped resource for the For Impact world! Maybe not full-time, but these people bring so much wisdom, talent and life experience to the table, that they can have an amazing impact in only a few days a week or month. Look here to find wonderful, wise and (often) witty Board Members, mentors and even ‘unpaid staff.’ Elders-Sages can offer incredible TALENT for a very affordable investment, with a huge ROI. If asked, many of these ‘untapped resources will work for satisfaction/ fulfillment (vs. money!). (I’ve know some absolutely unbelievable ‘$1.00/year’ staff that put ‘paid staff’ to shame!)
Here, you’ll find people who love your cause, vision and message … a have a lot to contribute … and ‘HUNGER for these OPPORTUNITIES!!!’
Just ASK them if they are interested! Aska great Board Member who fits this profile to join you as a full-time/part-time STAFF PERSON! If ‘60 is the new 50’ then 70 and 80 are the new 60! ‘Boomers’ (millions of us) aren’t ready to retire, play golf, sit around the house, etc. We/they want to make a difference. And, it’s not about ‘money!’ They will help and even INVEST!
See Marc Freedman’s book, The Big Shift for great stuff on ’boomers’ and ‘second careers’ at For Impact organizations.
“Only one in five Americans over 55 is currently on the job …. Older Americans are wealthier, healthier and living longer …. And there is ample evidence that they ‘HUNGER’ for OPPORTUNITIES … to contribute their experience and time in meaningful ways.” America’s healthy aging population is the country’s only INCREASING NATURAL RESOURCE.”
-Marc Friedman (Prime Time)
PRIME EARNING YEARS – People ‘in the middle,’ God bless them, need a job! Their focus is often on ‘the job,’ a paycheck, supporting their family. A focus on ‘heart,’ particularly the element of ‘taking a smaller salary for work you love,’ is much tougher when you’re responsible for a family.
Look at this ‘TALENT SPECTRUM’ as a way of creatively adding great staff and volunteer leaders. I’m not suggesting you overlook all of the wonderful, talented, committed people who are in their “prime-earning years.” But don’t get caught up in thinking this is the BEST OR ONLY place to look because you need someone with X years of development experience!
Bottom line: Best & Brightest, Elders-Sages, Success to Significance. All of these are wonderful places to SEARCH FOR TALENT.
HIRE FOR ATTITUDE. TRAIN FOR SKILL (at the For Impact Boot Camp.) No more expensive hiring mistakes!
“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get in the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as your own.” – Henry Ford
I’ve trained over 1,000 development professionals and leaders. One thing I’ve observed – those that perform at the highest levels always have a high degree of empathy. Yet, in no instances that I can recall, have I seen a search committee or hiring manager put a premium on this skill that Henry Ford called the ‘one secret of success.’