“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.” – H.E. Luccock
Speaking from personal experience, as well as the viewed experiences of our clients, there is no single factor that is more likely to hold back organizations from attaining their goals than a lack of the right people. It may be a lack of skilled producers. It may be a lack of skilled supervisory level employees. It may be a lack of leaders. Regardless of the specifics, that lack of the right people paralyzes every level of the affected organization, and damages both the hard numbers and morale.
So what to do? Two things: First, if you find one of those people, hire them. Second, never stop trying to find those people. Simple, right? Of course not. If it was so simple there wouldn’t be so many organizations out there looking for people. So why is it so hard?
I think there are two main reasons. For starters, you may find one of those people when the time isn’t exactly right. Maybe growth is slow, or profits are down, and the idea of adding someone seems risky. Or perhaps you find someone who would be great for heading a new location, except that adding a new location is probably three or four years down the road. Whatever the situation, opportunities rarely present themselves at the exact moment that the people who can take advantage of them do.
There are also a lot of organizations who don’t even know what they’re looking for. They’re so buried in the day-to-day noise that they have no idea what the right person might look like. They haven’t thought about their opportunities, or their barriers to success, and the person who can make a huge difference slips away unrecognized.
Here’s my advice: start with the second problem. You & your leadership team (if you have one) need to be spending time thinking & talking about the future. What is going to happen in your industry in the coming years? What challenges will you face? What kind of people are you going to need five years from now? Ten years from now? The better job you do thinking about the future and thinking strategically, the better chance you’ll understand what you should be looking for, and the less likely it is that you won’t recognize those people when you find them.
Once you know what you need, then it’s just a matter of pulling the trigger. Yes, I understand that money is a factor. But the reality is that the pain you’ll have to deal with in the short term of hiring someone “before it’s time” is much less than the pain you’ll have to deal with in the long term when you don’t have the right people around. The frustration of not being able to take advantage of opportunities, not being able to address barriers as they arise, of not being able to realize the vision you have for your organization – those things will make your life much more miserable than any short term burden you may have to work through. Believe me, I’ve seen it.
Don’t miss your chance to be great. Don’t miss your chance to have the organization you want to have. Think about your future and draw a picture of the right people so you recognize them when they show up. And then grab onto them and don’t let go. You’ll never regret it.