If A’s hire B’s, and B’s Hire C’s, Will A’s Collect a Pension?

Pensions, at least the way they used to be defined, will soon take their place in the MOOR (The Museum of Outdated Rewards). We’ll put them beside the gold watch in the Post-Employment section of the museum. Today’s new workers are rarely eligible for a pension program. Unfortunately, even those who thought they earned a pension at one time find that the company they stayed with for that pension mis-managed themselves into oblivion.

I’ve been thinking lately about hiring processes and their relationship to long term success. From what I’ve seen I continue to be impressed by the advances made in sourcing, interviewing and selection. One thing that still has me concerned is the notion that hiring managers are most likely to seek out and select someone that they can guide and mentor. Someone in whom they see promise, but not too much promise. I might find someone good enough to replace you someday, but not good enough to replace me. And if they repeat that logic, my company is doomed, and my pension is at risk.

We can test and interview and try to determine potential. We look for the fire in the belly and the list of achievements. Like any investment, past performance is not a promise of future results. When we find someone who is good enough, do we stop looking? Is good enough really good enough? We don’t need a culture of complacency, we need a culture of urgency. We need employees who are not content with waiting for their leaders to retire so they can sit in those chairs. We need senior leaders who are mentoring, yes, but also letting the next generation make their mark now. Senior leaders who are willing to learn from the more technology-savvy and better-networked folks they hire.

The B’s need to hire A’s, and the A’s need to hire A+’s. Even old, wasting companies can thrive again if the leaders can just recognized that if they are better than their predecessors, isn’t it likely that those following should be better? Then hire to get them in, and not just turn the keys over to your workplace sons and daughters, hand-picked because they remind you of you at that age.

Want to up your own game? Hire someone that you think is a real threat. Not in an “I can’t trust her” kind of way, but in a “where did she come from?” kind of way.

4 Responses to If A’s hire B’s, and B’s Hire C’s, Will A’s Collect a Pension?

  1. One of my favorite TV quotes (from Sportsnight):

    Average people surround themselves with smart people. Smart people surround themselves with other smart people whose opinions are different from their own.

    A nice mantra for recruiting, I think.

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