Newsletter – March 31, 2011

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Hiring for cultural fit, better weekly to-do lists, and more

Hello friends,

Ah, spring! Flowers blooming, birds chirping, and the sweet scent of management tips in the air…

Here’s a new batch of resources for you to check out.

1. Evaluating Job Candidates’ Cultural Fit

When you’re hiring, you’re looking not just for candidates with the right set of talents, but also for candidates who will excel in your culture. This article from Bridgespan has some great advice on how to probe for cultural fit, including seeking out opportunities for informal interaction, doing “the airport test,” and asking references about what kind of environment the candidate is most likely to thrive in.

2. Being a Great Manager Means Sometimes Letting People Go

We really liked this piece in the New York Times in which Jay Goltz writes that if you want to run a great organization, “you occasionally have to fire people. Who? … The people who would probably be rated a six on a scale of one to 10. You’ve probably already parted company with the people who rate worse than a six — but it’s the sixes who can be tricky. They’re not that bad, but they’re just not good … How would you feel about flying on a plane with a pilot who is a ‘six’?” It’s an inspiring piece on a critical topic.

3. Making the Executive Director / Second-in-Command Relationship Work

Any second-in-command will tell you the role can be tricky. This Bridgestar article has great tips about how #2’s can build stronger relationships with their executive directors, including how keeping the E.D. in the loop can actually bolster the #2’s authority to act independently, how to negotiate ground rules early, and knowing when to push back.

Bridgestar also has some interesting sample COO job descriptions and options for structuring an organization with a second-in-command here.

4. Better Weekly To-Do Lists

If you struggle to find a to-do list format that works for you, here’s a sample weekly list that we love from one manager we work with. We like how it defines success for the week right up front, sets clear priorities in major work areas, and tracks the items she’s waiting on from others. Take a look and see if something similar might work for you.

5. The “That’s Just the Way I Am” Rationalization

This is a thought-provoking article from Marshall Goldsmith on what he calls “an excessive need to be me.”  He argues: “Each of us has a pile of behaviors that we define as ‘me.’ These are the behaviors, both positive and negative, that we think of as our unalterable essence … How many times have you rationalized away inappropriate behavior by saying, ‘That’s just the way I am!’”  Give it a read!

6. Scripts, Templates, Samples, and More

Don’t forget, at The Management Center we have a growing library of free resources on our website, stocked with everything from sample scripts for hard conversations to templates for goal-setting to much, much more. Check it out here.

7. Send Us Your Internal Communication Strategies

How do you keep your staff informed about what’s going on across the organization? If you use a written update, we’d love to see an example of what works well for you, or if you use some other method, let us know!

I hope these resources make your jobs so much easier that you can spend even more time outside enjoying the spring…


Jerry Hauser
The Management Center

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