Joe and Wanda on Management

Joe Kerr and Wanda B. Goode, two characters from Nick McCormick’s book, “Lead Well and Prosper,” dispense their management wisdom

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Month: April, 2007

Hiring Quality Candidates

22 April, 2007 (17:25) | Hiring, Management | By: Administrator

Staffing open positions is not easy. Finding qualified candidates, reviewing resumes, and conducting phone screens and interviews are very time consuming activities. Let’s check with Joe and Wanda to find out their approach.

Joe Kerr: Our recruiting staff is brutal. We can’t seem to get qualified candidates. When by some freak of nature we do, I make my final selection in short order. I can size up a person in a few seconds. Haven’t picked wrong yet. Sure I’ve transferred a few, because they weren’t an exact match for the job, but I’ve never had to let anyone go! You can look it up.

Wanda B. Goode: I try to work closely with the recruiting staff. It’s important to educate them on the position requirements so they can find good candidates. It’s also important to work with the team. They frequently recommend quality candidates. As far as interviews go, we have a list of technical and behavioral questions for each job function. It’s important to maintain consistency. Not all team members have much interviewing experience either, so having a list of open-ended questions to guide the interviews is very helpful. Typically multiple team members and I conduct the interviews. We rate the candidates based on certain qualifications. We have a meeting to discuss and choose the candidate. Even with the best hiring practices, it’s impossible to pick a winner every time. We’ve just implemented a few things to improve our odds.

Open Door Policy

17 April, 2007 (16:42) | Communication, Management, Open Door Policy | By: Administrator

Many organizations have open door policies. The idea is that any employee can talk to any manager at any level about any issue at any time. Let’s see what Joe and Wanda have to say about their experiences with the open door policy at their company.

Joe Kerr: The words “open door” make me cringe. One time a clown in my group went to the division vice president complaining about some nonsense. My manager jumped all over me, because his manager jumped on him, etc.

Frankly, when any one mentions an open door policy to me, I tell them that they should feel comfortable coming to me about anything. I conveniently leave out the part about upper management. Why create problems for myself?

Wanda B. Goode: A true open door policy has no restrictions. The way I see it, if someone on the team is not comfortable coming to me to solve a problem, it’s very likely that it’s a failure on my part. Either the person doesn’t trust me, or s/he doesn’t think I can do anything to help.

The most important thing is for the problem to get addressed and resolved. The employee should go wherever necessary in order to do so. It’s as simple as that. Upper management should not overreact and beat down their managers either. Again, the important thing is to solve the problem. These situations should be looked at as learning opportunities – chances to improve.

I’ve heard some say that a true open door policy leads to dysfunction in an organization, because when people leap frog their immediate manager they promote a culture in which problems are not resolved where, and by whom they should be – by those closest to them. I couldn’t disagree more. If employees are more comfortable going to upper management to solve problems it’s a symptom of a much larger problem – that is, a lack of trust. In other words, the organization is already dysfunctional. Putting restrictions on the open door policy will only make it more so.