Hiring Wisdom: 2 Big World-Changing Words In Recruiting – “What If?”

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What if …?

These two little words can change your world. They can even change the whole world.

By asking yourself, “What if…,” you unlock the key to your innate creativity.

Take the folks at The PUMA Group, whose brands include PUMA, Cobra Golf and TretornPuma. They asked themselves, “What if we got rid of the shoe box?” The result was the Clever Little Bag.

When recruiting, ask “what if?” about …

The new design reduces the costs of both materials and shipping, uses 65 percent less cardboard, consumes 60 percent less energy, and produces 10 fewer tons of emissions. Great for PUMA and great for the environment.

When it comes to hiring and retaining great people, here are a few “What ifs” for you to play with:

  1. What if we had to pay our employees $10 an hour more?
  2. What if we can’t find anyone fit to fill this job?
  3. What if my best team member left tomorrow?
  4. What if we had only the best people working for us?
  5. What if we get rid of our mediocre employees?
  6. What if we could only work four hours a day?
  7. What if we asked our employees how we can do a better job?
  8. What if we ask our people what frustrates them?

Think you’re not smart enough to come up with new and improved ways of doing things? Andy Boynton and Bill Fischer, authors of The Idea Hunter, would argue that point.

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In a recent Inc. magazine article they said in part:

What we realized was that it didn’t matter if someone was from finance or marketing or accounting or R&D. At the end of the day, we observed that great leaders are great idea hunters. They bring ideas into an organization. They bring ideas into a team. They move things forward through the power of ideas, not through their intellect or their genius. It was really about their ability to find ideas, repurpose those ideas, and create something brand-new.”

So, ask yourself and ask your employees, “What if…” every day.

Boynton and Fischer say you’ll discover that:

The smartest guys in the room are not necessarily the smartest guys in the room. [Our research] destroys the myth that innovation is about genius. It empowers and should motivate everyone to realize the ideas are out there to get, absolutely for free, if only you can find them, the ideas are there to be found. Becoming a great idea hunter is learnable, it’s repeatable, and it’s something you and everyone in your organization can work on every day.”

This was originally published in the March 2013 Humetrics Hiring Hints newsletter.

Mel Kleiman, CSP, is an internationally-known authority on recruiting, selecting, and hiring hourly employees. He has been the president of Humetrics since 1976 and has over 30 years of practical experience, research, consulting and professional speaking work to his credit. Contact him at mkleiman@humetrics.com.


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