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Ask John Dame: Hire talent, internal or external, that will grow your company’s vision

As an executive coach for the past 15 years, I have worked closely with dozens of CEOs and their leadership teams. All of the executives with whom I work face similar issues. Send your questions to JD@johndame.com.

Q:  I have always looked to hire from within. My goal has been to give my employees a chance to advance before we look outside the company. Recently, it seems like we have a lot of group-think and little innovation. Is this due to my efforts to grow my team internally?

A: Many companies I work with want to “home grow” their talent. I don’t see anything wrong with this concept, as long as the people you are looking to advance have the skills also to advance the vision and goals you have for the company.

Often, I see executives blinded by long-term employee loyalty and not ability. Hiring managers like yourelf also tend to hire people a lot like themselves. You need to be sure you are always looking for the best talent that can help move the organization forward, whether they come from within or outside your staff. If you ensure this, you will have a very dynamic and diverse organization, not just an echo chamber for your ideas.

Q:  My controller is new and inexperienced. To help her grow and learn, I have hired a fantastic CFO-for-hire. The two are meeting regularly and have put in place a development program for my new controller. Recently, she has been missing deadlines and breaking promises regarding delivery of data that my team has requested. She claims to be overworked with not enough support. I believe she has great potential and has been spot-on until recently. What would you do?

A: Usually when an employee misses deadlines and is unable to deliver on time, there is an issue with understanding priorities. I would work with your CFO-for-hire to determine if he or she feels your controller lacks ability or if something else is amiss. The two should review the job description and deliverables for your controller and reinforce priorities.

Because she has performed well until recently, I would work to see if she really needs some help. From your conversation, she has added a lot to her plate that is not a priority and likely needs help understanding the essentials of her position. Set a deadline where she has to deliver on time. Your financial reporting is the backbone of your company – don’t let this slide.

John Dame is a CEO coach, executive team consultant and leadership strategist based in Susquehanna Township, Pennsylvania. Visit his website at: www.johndame.com.

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