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Managers, Learn a Lesson from a Dog’s Hire

Lucky Ranger—Hired on the Spot

bloodhound-head resized_1Ranger, a two year old bloodhound was laid off this summer from the Polk County sheriff’s office due to budget cuts.  Did he have a “ruff” time getting a job? No way.  In no time at all he found a new job with the Bend Police Department despite lacking some critical experience: tracking missing people and locating evidence. But Ranger is a good ole dog with inborn Bloodhound instincts, a pleasant personality and a base of police dog skills. Bend Police are thrilled to have him and will gladly train him for his new tasks.  He’ll live with Officer Kyle Voll and happily, they will train together.

Corporate Hires…Many Not So Lucky

When it comes to filling corporate jobs, many people are not as lucky as Ranger.  Peter Capelli, a professor of management at Wharton, notes that companies increasingly want to hire only people who already have done the same job they are applying for.  It’s not a matter of finding people with the right skills; it’s a matter of holding out for people with exactly the right experience. This short sighted pattern of hiring is tough on the lots of people who, like Ranger, could do bang up jobs with some training and development. And the pattern can even be detrimental  for those hires who have already done the job before.  They may not get the room they want to learn and grow beyond what they already know how to do.  In a New Yorker article  called “Mind the Gap” (1) , James Surowiecki  quotes Peter Drucker, “Training and development must be built into it at all levels,” but James observes that “Today businesses have largely rejected the idea, expecting employees to fend for themselves.”

Managers:  Hire Like the Bend Police Department Hired Ranger

The Exceptional Development Managers we studied have not rejected the idea of building development into the jobs they manage.  Peter Drucker would have been pleased to meet them.  They don’t wait for the company to spend money on and provide all the training people require.  They tuck development into the crevices of work which these managers constantly reshape to provide a runway for learning.  Since they continuously develop all the people that work for them, they willingly hire people with the right traits and good baseline skills, and then personally invest in developing them. They do this often.  The result:  raised results and a climate where people’s expectations for growth are fulfilled.

(1) (New Yorker, The Financial Page, July 9 & 16, 2012)

This article by Jeannie Coyle was originally published on the TalentSavvyManager.com on August 16, 2012