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In the book, “How Will You Measure Your Life?” (HarperBusiness May 15, 2012, ISBN 000749151), authors Clayton Chistensen, Karen Dillon and James Allworth draw on their extensive research to describe the critical distinction between a job’s “hygiene” factors (money and incentives being the most well understood factors, but others including things like not having a boss who mistreats you) and motivating factors. At best, the research finds, hygiene factors will keep you from being dissatisfied with your job. But it’s the MOTIVATING factors that lead to job satisfaction and happiness.

Significantly, every individual has his or her own, unique motivating factors. Understand these for each person and the organization will accomplish much more than through even the most innovative incentive program.

A powerful tool that I use with my clients is called the Predictive Index®. In less than 10 minutes, PI® identifies an individual’s primary behavioral motivations and also describes how predictive these behaviors will be demonstrated by the individual. Armed with this knowledge, leaders can align the person’s natural behaviors with the demands of the job. This alignment sets the person up for success, job satisfaction and happiness instead of failure and frustration.

By aligning the person’s motivating factors with the demands of their job, everyone wins.

Here’s a link to a recent LinkedIn post that describes 12 easy ways to boost productivity. Call it the “12 Habits of Highly Productive People,” if you will.

How many of these do you follow (I know I don’t follow all of them but am re-examining my own routine, based on this article)? Do you look for and encourage these “habits” among your current employees? Your prospective hires? Investigating these habits during the interview process and encouraging them among your employees may help unleash the power of your human capital.

Figuring out what’s needed for success in a job is about more than the candidate’s background, knowledge, skills and experience.

Have you ever filled a job with someone you thought was absolutely “perfect” from the standpoint of background, knowledge, skills and experience, only to find out – to everyone’s consternation and frustration – that the person “just didn’t work out”?

Getting the right “fit” between a person and a job is more challenging than buying the right clothes or new pair of shoes. And let’s face it, people are complicated and often do not act as they might appear during in the interview.

Consider the following strategies for ensuring that the person you find “in the store window” will actually work well for you long after you’ve made your “purchase”:

1. Clearly define the success indicators for the job. This gets beyond the “what” needs to get done (which is found in most job descriptions and identifies the tasks and specific skills necessary for the candidate) to important considerations of “how” things need to get done (it’s the difference between requiring that the successful applicant be able to answer X number of incoming calls per hour and the need for that person to answer each call with a smile and pleasant demeanor).

2. Work with your key stakeholders to develop a job model for the position that clearly identifies the skills AND the behaviors that the ideal candidate would possess.

3. Find and implement an objective tool to assess the candidate’s most natural behaviors (do you want to train someone to smile, or do you want to hire someone who is wired to smile almost all of the time?).

4. Develop interview questions to identify skills and behaviors.

5. Understand the “fits” and “gaps” between the candidate’s skills and behaviors and those in your job model.

6. Where there are “gaps,” determine whether the candidate’s supervisors or others on the team have the bandwith to coach the person to success.

7. Make your hiring or promotion decision on a wide variety of factors, but don’t ignore the critical role that “how” someone will do their job is at least as important as the skills they bring to their role in your organization.

If you’re interested in learning more, feel free to contact me using the form below:

Nancy Martini’s new book, “Scientific Selling,” shows how objective data about people can be used by leaders to transform their organizations.

Martini is the CEO of PI Worldwide, a leader in the field of human analytics and performance improvement. She also helped developed a scientific assessment for sales skills. Combined, these tools (there are others to which she refers, so this is not about selling PI to the reader) enable leaders to use clear, objective data about the things that matter most in terms of driving sales: behaviors and skills. The book reveals practical ways in which leaders quickly can gather, understand and apply accurate, objective data to transform the effectiveness of the entire organization. “Strategic Selling” is available from Amazon at

I apply the principles found in this book because my clients see immediate and long-lasting benefits from intelligently applying this type of data to drive positive change. Happy to be of help to anyone who wants to learn more. Please visit STAR Group’s web site at or contact me directly using this form: