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They’re your employees, you picked them!

Tom Wall Published on 05 August 2011
Are you a “people” person? No, not that kind. I mean ... are you a person who focuses a lot of time and energy on finding good people and helping them succeed? Basically, are you a good talent scout?

In January, FOX began its 10th season of American Idol. Each week, the goal of the show is to find the nation’s next singing sensation. With the help of viewers across the country, a panel of industry insiders will use their eye for finding talent in order to sort through thousands of young, aspiring superstars.

Not only has this national talent search entertained millions of viewers, it’s created a massive amount of revenue for the network, the show’s creators, its judges, and last but certainly not least, its top finishers.

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And what would professional sports be without talent scouts? The personnel staff for every NFL team is consumed by watching countless hours of game film of collegiate and professional athletes, noticing the smallest tendencies and details of each person, from speed and strength to shoe size and emotional maturity. They profile these players’ stats, both on the field and off and “hire” the people who they think will be the best fit for their team.

Ironically, not all scouts are equally good at finding the best talent. It turns out the first job of the team’s general manager is to find people who are talented at finding talent in order to build a winning team.

Last season’s Green Bay Packers team proved to be a true testament to the value of finding and developing top-notch talent. When the season started in September 2010, the Packers were picked to go to the Super Bowl. But that was when all of their starters were healthy.

As the season progressed, the Packers suffered numerous injuries and their coaching staff was forced to rely on a lot of “no-name” players that were discovered and chosen by the team’s talent scouts. Five months later, the Packers won Super Bowl 45 without five of their initial starters, another 10 players on injured reserve and even two of their key veterans knocked out during the first half of the biggest game of the year.

Unfortunately, outside of professional sports and the entertainment industry, a lot of us in the “real world” don’t spend enough time seeking out and evaluating talent. Whether you’re searching for your next entry-level employees, mid-level managers or professional advisers, how good are you at identifying, hiring and promoting first-rate talent?

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Or by default, do you just do what’s easy and expedient and fill positions with the “best you’ve got?”

Sure, the reality is that when it comes to hiring, you’ll always be limited by the pressure of budgets and time frames. But what would happen if you were to invest the time and effort it takes to find people with the competencies your company truly needs at each position?

It seems that many dairy managers spend more time evaluating and choosing pieces of equipment and cattle than they invest in the people entrusted to operate and care for them.

It’s hard to imagine anyone would spend millions of dollars on building a dairy without devising blueprints and plans for the project, right? Yet every day, that same dairy operates around the clock with the help of the people you’ve selected to run it. So ... how talented are the people you’ve decided to hire? And more importantly, what can you do to help them become better? PD

Tom Wall

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