If you’re the typical executive, you think about needs management in your organization. Needs management are areas which you have a need in the organization, but don’t have a clearly defined strategy for meeting it. Most organizations are usually strong in particular areas. The concept of “birds of a feather flock together” proves out this tendency. We like hanging out with people who are good at what we do, so we hire that way as well.
Hiring people who are similar to us can create problems, though. Here are some areas where we can get into trouble if we’re not aware of the potential problems:
We hire the same personalities in our management team.
This area is probably the most common tendency within needs management in an organization. We either hire people that we like, or people that are the most agreeable with us. Either way, this allows us to have blind areas which can create conflicts and problems down the road. The best management teams are the ones which have diversity in viewpoints, roles and personalities. That’s not to say that we should hire someone who is disagreeable, just for the reason to have someone disagree with us. Instead, we need to hire people who are willing and able to bring the necessary viewpoints to the table.
We hire the same skillsets in our management team.
If we hire everyone who is great in one area, but is weak in another important area, we are operating with a blind area as well. A management team should have some common areas within skillsets. That’s a good thing, especially when it comes to mutual understanding and communication. What is needed, however, is other skills and abilities which can benefit the team. This includes technical skills, cultural experiences, various leadership roles and previous employment opportunities at other firms. You want to have a wealth of knowledge around your table, and a diversity of skillsets can provide it for you.
We don’t need to engage others to help us.
Even when you have a diverse leadership team, you will always be lacking in some key area of expertise or leadership. There is a reason that the highly successful organizations hire experts to come in and engage with them in specific areas. For example, you may need to put in a new CRM software program for your company to manage finances, sales and inventory. Most companies will simply put together a team to evaluate, choose and then build an implementation plan for the software program. As a result, there will be major difficulties and technical challenges throughout the process. The smart companies will find an expert in CRM programs, especially those who know how to get them running well in an organization. Even though the expert may be expensive, the difficulties and the downtime of repairing problems in the implementation is usually more expensive. When you’re looking to achieve excellence, look for those who know how to take you and your team there.
We ignore needs management- we just don’t have the time to talk about it.
The reality is that we take this approach way more often than we want to admit. It’s easier to get consumed in our work and ignore what is holding back our organization from greater success. Many organizations become complacent when it comes to seeing the need and doing something about solving it. Sure, it requires time and energy to see it, discuss it, and then do something about it. The reality is that it’s usually worth the effort. Make a part of your meeting agendas to allow for your team to bring needs to the table – and then figure out an action plan to solve them. Don’t punish those who tell the truth, as long as it doesn’t turn into a gripe session. Require your team members to propose solutions with their concerns. Keep working on those needs until the needs become a minor subject in your meetings.
Perfection in an organization is impossible. Working to maintain balance in an organization, however, is something we can achieve. Be committed to diversity in personalities, expertise, and roles in your needs management. As you do that, be committed to meet needs with your diverse leadership.