Ditch Perfectionism – Combat Procrastination

It’s a good thing to set your standards high but just watch out for the potential downside of perfectionism – procrastination. When I was in my mid twenties, I had a tendency to want everything that I did to be perfect, so much so that anxiety about failing to reach that standard sometimes prevented me from actually getting started on anything. I was effectively “paralysed by self-consciousness,” as my therapist put it. It was a very self-limiting thought process and I was very happy to put it behind me. Nowadays I am always eager to learn new things and impatient to start out on new adventures. So how did I get to where I am now?

The first step was to recognise I had a problem ‘perfectionism’ (not an easy admission) and the second was to seek advice. Self-awareness and taking responsibility for my thoughts and actions were key to making my way out of this roundabout of limited beliefs, and the best piece of advice I received during the process was:

“It ‘just doesn’t matter’ Have a go, do your best, learn from it, and press on. At times ‘good enough’ is good enough.”

Here are the key things that keep me on the straight and narrow:
• I don’t shy away for fear of making mistakes: at least I am actually doing stuff and can take the opportunity to learn from the mistakes.
• I avoid negative self-talk and replace it with more positive and helpful statements, such as switching “I have lost” to “I have learnt.”
• When something goes wrong, I try to keep it in proportion by asking myself: “On a scale of 1-10 (where 10 is death) how important is this issue and how important will it be tomorrow, next week, next year?”
• I resist any tendency to become self-absorbed, and I find that helping others is a great way to accomplish this.
• I have learned to laugh about myself!

If you want to learn more from some fine experts, here are links to a TED talk Reshma Saujani’s Teach Girls Bravery Not Perfection and book to read Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection.

Finally, some wise words from Seth Godwin:

“Start small, start now. This is much better than, ‘start big, start later.’ One advantage is that you don’t have to start perfect. You can merely start.”

 

 

Rachel is a business & educational psychologist.  After working for many years in and advising SMEs her current work relates to issues of communication, personal development, team building and motivation.  Over the past seven years Rachel has extended her work into the educational field. 

7 steps to a robust recruitment process that delivers results

Rather than leaving your recruitment planning until you have an emergency or the moment before you plan to run a campaign give yourself time to do a great job and start right now. Too often we leave these ‘important, but not urgent’ jobs to the last moment and as a result get a second-class result – attracting the best talent is critical to any business, so make sure your recruitment process is truly robust and well planned.

Rather than leaving your recruitment planning until you have an emergency or the moment before you plan to run a campaign give yourself time to do a great job and start right now. Too often we leave these ‘important, but not urgent’ jobs to the last moment and as a result get a second-class result – attracting the best talent is critical to any business, so make sure your recruitment process is truly robust and well planned.

These are the elements of a robust recruitment process you should have in place – if you don’t have them yet, then get started and save yourself the costly heart-ache of recruiting the wrong candidate.

 

1. A clear understanding of your company culture.
Research suggests that recruiting culturally aligned staff improves retention by a whopping 30% and that candidates typically accept a 7% lower salary.
Without knowing your own culture how will you find the right person to fit into your business, contribute fully and remain with you, thus avoiding the costly headache of unplanned recruitment?

Are you clear about your: –

  • Core Values (who you are/what you stand for)
  • Vision Statement, (where you are going)
  • Mission statement (how you are going to get there)

All of these are invaluable in assessing the fit of any candidate

 

2. Job descriptions 
In order to carry out their roles successfully everyone needs to know explicitly what is expected of them. By making crystal clear job descriptions agreed with the role holder it also means that you have taken time to think about how roles interact and what works best.
This applies equally to existing and new staff, so getting this right now will allow you to reap the rewards immediately. NB Process mapping might help you to clarify roles and responsibilities.

 

3. Person profile
The person profile details all the skills and behaviours needed to successfully carry out the role as outlined in the job description. (Remember when recruiting that skills can be taught, behaviours are considerably more difficult to change).

 

3. Profile of your existing team
By understanding how your existing team works together, (e.g. who are the Shapers, Implementers or Finishers) you will see where you have skills/behavioural gaps, which might be addressed either by training or more likely, when next recruiting.
It might also highlight strengths not currently fully utilised.

 

4. Job ad template
Draw up the basic template, which can be used as the basis for any role. Remember that you are showcasing your business to attract the best people – your ad must be appealing and draw them in. Doing this in advance you can quickly and easily populate the information for a specific role and hit the ground running when your recruitment need arises.

 

5. Objective assessment of applications
To avoid ‘halos and horns’ (when a single point taints your view of the candidate either positively or negatively), do you have an objective assessment tool which measures each candidate against your key qualifiers?
This can also help to ensure you stay on the right side of the Discrimination Act.

 

6. Interviewing skills
Are you able to craft effective questions, which drill down to the truth, or have you fallen victim to a ‘good interviewer’, who didn’t live up to your expectations? Avoid hypothetical questions, but instead ask about specific incidents, which illustrate a skill or behaviour.
Again, it is important to understand your obligations under the Discrimination Act and how to avoid costly mistakes, (over £77,000 was awarded to one candidate deemed to have been discriminated against)

 

7. Referencing
Do you know how to get meaningful references, which will help you to avoid selecting the wrong candidate, as well as get the most from the right recruit? It is possible to have candid conversations, which are genuinely helpful for both you and the candidate.

May all your hiring decisions be good ones.

 

 If you think that your business might be a little light in any of these areas and would like to discuss how we might work together to plug the gaps/design a robust process to meet your specific needs just give us a call on 07789 520205 or use the button below

 

Contact Us

 

Fran McArthur 1

About the Author: Fran McArthur is a business coach, trainer and no-executive director with more than 30 years of business experience. She typically works with executives, who lead organisations of up to £10m/100 employees and who wish to effect positive change. She collaborates with them to achieve their goals using her practical, common-sense approach

Taking The Pain Out of Recruitment

 

This week I have been working with a client on a recruitment project. I’m delighted for both of us that he didn’t make the sort of knee jerk reaction so often seen when a member of staff leaves, i.e. call a recruitment consultant and ask them to send a pile of CVs in the likeness of the recently departed individual. Instead he decided to think carefully about what is one of the most important decisions any business owner can take – who should be on the team.

 

Sadly, the business world seems to expect us all to just know innately how to go about recruitment, despite the fact that incredibly few business people have received any training in this field at all. The result is that most SMEs (and many corporates), make poor hiring decisions, which severely hamper their ability to grow and cause endless grief in managing the resulting employee.

 

Back to my client – we started by

  • looking at the business’ needs, not just today, but in 2 -3 years’ time – where were the gaps?
  • From this we designed a job description and started thinking about not only the skills required, but also the behaviours needed, (skills can be taught, behaviours are notoriously difficult to change).
  • Considered where we might find the right sort of people
  • Worked up a compelling advertisement and application form
  • Compiled an objective assessment tool
  • Wrote our interview questions and practiced an interview technique completely new to him.

 

He is now ready to deal with responses as they arrive and I have left him to get on with ‘business as usual’ for ten days, after which we have our next session, which includes; –

  • More interview practice
  • Legal bear traps
  • Referencing
  • Negotiation
  • Offer letter & induction.

 

The end result is that for considerably less than the cost of a pile of CVs he has a blueprint for identifying the talent required all the way through to appointment. A replicable process which the business can use for all their future recruitment, supported by a manual with examples and check lists. Added to which we have managed to fit in quite a lot of laughter too.

 

If recruiting the right team is also thwarting you then why not give us a call or CONTACT US?

 

Fran McArthur 1

About the Author: Fran McArthur is a business coach, trainer and no-executive director with more than 30 years of business experience. She typically works with executives, who lead organisations of up to £10m/100 employees and who wish to effect positive change. She collaborates with them to achieve their goals using her practical, common-sense approach

 

Right first time

Getting the right person for the right job: first time!

Alright, I put my hand up. I am guilty of making badly judged appointments. There was the time I left it to my instincts and thought “he seems nice, so he will fit in with the team”. I was wrong. He didn’t stay long. Then there was the time I was more rational and thought “she has loads of qualifications, we can learn a lot from her”. Wrong again. She was a disaster.

Getting recruitment wrong obviously wastes time and resources and can be very disruptive for your operation, your team and the person you wrongly hired. That’s why I have made it my business to find out how to do it properly. It turns out it’s not rocket science – but it is scientific. If you need to recruit, you need to get it right, so take a look below at my top tips for a successful recruitment regime.

Top Tips

  1. Understand why you are recruiting. Take time to review your business overall and see where the gaps are. Don’t automatically look for a replacement that you just might not need.
  2. Ensure that you know and can define your business values, mission and vision. If you can’t, then you can’t look for a cultural fit.
  3. Compile both a job and a personal description to ensure you identify both the skills and the behaviours that match your business needs.
  4. Review and establish where is best to look for candidates LinkedIn, word of mouth, advertising, etc.
  5. Consider using an application form. This makes it easier to make fair comparisons: it also makes it harder for applicants to hide things that you might need to know.
  6. Prepare questions in advance, making them specific to the role and past experience – the same questions for each candidate and not hypothetical, which would allow answers to be merely ‘made up’.
  7. Take professional interview notes and keep them: they may be used as evidence.
  8. Ensure those carrying out the interviewing are trained to do so. It is a skill that can be learnt and it needs to be consistent.
  9. Insist on seeing original examination certificates. It is surprising how infrequently this is done, especially for professionals.
  10. Take written references and call the writer to verify validity. Former employers are often willing to talk on the phone “off the record”.

And then comes the induction process. But that is for another blog.

 

The Author: Rachel is a business & educational psychologist. After working for many years both in and advising SMEs her current work relates to issues of communication, personal development, team building and motivation. Over the past seven years Rachel has extended her work into the educational field.

Recruit In Haste, Repent At Leisure

The mere thought of recruiting new staff makes many hearts sink and it’s all too easy in the heat of the moment, (e.g. you find yourself with a vacancy as the result of a resignation or promotion), to launch headlong into the search for a replacement without thinking through the real needs of the business – not just today, but with an eye to future, as the company grows and develops.

Before you go ahead and hire a replacement in the exact likeness of the most recent incumbent take time to carry out a Gap Analysis for your business. This involves first assessing where you are now, then where you want to be in say 3-5 years’ time and finally, an honest assessment about the changes you need to make in order to get you there. One of the headings in your analysis should be People – is your current structure and team aligned to your strategy and future state? Or should you be using this opportunity to consider moving people within the existing team to match their skills to the current/future reality and recruiting the right candidate(s) to fill the gaps? Do you currently have job descriptions that set out the role purpose, responsibilities and reporting structure, etc. and what about Person Profiles to outline the skills and behaviours necessary to fulfil the role successfully? These documents are valuable (i) in making us think about what we genuinely need, and (ii) communicating that clearly to the jobholder. NB These are not set in stone, but should be up-dated as circumstances change.

Having established the nature of the beast you are now looking for, you can start the hunt!

.

If you would like to learn more about how you could improve your ability to recruit the right candidates for the right roles in your business give us a call for a no pressure analysis of your current system and a discussion about who to move forward. Alternatively, why not join our Recruitment Workshop, which will give you all the procedures, tools and skills you need?

.

.

The AuthorFran McArthur is a no-nonsense Business Coach and Trainer with Your Ideal Business Partner. She works with leaders of small and medium sized enterprises, who are interested in taking their organisations to the next level. If you would like to discuss your aspirations and how she might help you achieve them, (that’s a coffee and no sales pressure), give her a call on 07789 520205.