June 15, 2020
Steven Levitt, the renowned Harvard and MIT economist and author of Freakonomics, did a study on people who were perplexed to make a significant life change, e.g., looking for a new job, getting engaged, or divorced. The results: those who made the giant life change were much happier than those who remained stuck. But here is the best part, the decision to turn their life upside down was not after a thoughtful process considering second and third outcomes, they made the leap based on a coin flip. Levitt asked people who were on the fence to flip a coin over whether they would become engaged, end a marriage, or change jobs – heads you make the change, tails you do not change and remain status quo. Levitt used his Freakonomics Podcast and FreakonomicsExperiment.com to attract 22,000 participants and received about 13,000 surveys, following up on their level of happiness over the next six months. Here is the link to his working paper report. https://www.nber.org/papers/w22487
Levitt: “People may be excessively cautious when facing life-changing choices. If you are torn between adventure and stasis – between doing something and nothing – take the adventure. Odds are you will be happier for it.”
“So there’s a status quo bias. Let’s just say of thousands of people making big real-world decisions we find that the changers, the ones who shake up the status quo, do better. Well, if that’s true, then that’s a really important message because what that means is whenever you’re on the margin, you should have a default rule, which is I go for the change.”
The enlightenment from the experiment is not that we should be flipping our lucky silver dollar to determine our decisions. Still, it sheds light on people’s tendency to resist change at the expense of happiness. The idea of changing jobs might sound like an exciting adventure and a terrifying experience at the same time. Fear is commonly the winning emotion at an expensive cost. We are willing to suffer while drudging our way, trying to protect the idea of certainty that usually does not exist at the level we perceive.
List your top 3 favorite restaurants, your top 3 vacation locations, the top 3 universities you hope your children attend.
Now, name off the top 3 companies that would be best for furthering your career.
Few people can answer the last question, yet it might be the most critical question to reach your personal and professional goals.
Why does the best talent pool remain distant from the hiring company’s recruiting activities? Generally speaking, candidates and hiring leaders do not have a network of relationships to overcome the fear of the known surrounding, making a career change.
Career certainty does not exist, but at Misura Group, the combination of our network, process, and commitment to lifelong relationships helps candidates de-risk job changes by understanding the opportunities open to them. Our role in pre-scouting cultural alignment, career path growth, compensation valuation, and attention to confidentiality creates a smoother transition and higher probability of success.
Hiring leaders, is your candidate pipeline missing the best talent? Embrace the limitations of your network and connectivity reach. Know the difference between an average and top-level performer, and how that compares to your existing talent pool. Our one focus is connecting with top performers in the building materials industry, which provides the ability to elevate the quality of any talent pool. Contact the Misura Group team, and we can give you the support to raise your hiring standards.
Hire Smarter – Tony
June 1, 2020
Interested in improving your critical thinking skills when faced with emotional, bias, and prejudice-charged situations?
The most recent book from Malcolm Gladwell, Talking to Strangers, delivers some answers but, more importantly, drives us to start asking the right questions. The book weaves together stories about increasing our self-awareness and our tendencies evaluating people, strangers.
You will find examples showing even the best critical thinkers leaping to unfounded conclusions, persistently blind to the facts presented, crippling their ability to evaluate people. Further, once those findings are made public, the human ego sets them in stone, doubling down on what was an inadequate assessment from the beginning. The examples diminish respect for the superior intellect or expert skill of the liars, shining a light on how those deceived are unknowingly complicit, entrapped by their self-conceit. The willingness to be proven wrong publicly might be the most powerful trait of a great critical thinker.
Gladwell shares a compelling study pitting artificial intelligence against New York City judges on their effectiveness granting bail to 554,689 defendants from 2008- 2013.
When predicting, “who was most likely to commit crimes while out on bail and most likely to show up for their trial,” it was no contest; the computer was more effective forecasting by 25%.
What is more shocking – of the top 1% most likely to repeat crimes based on the historical facts, the Judges released 48.5%. Nearly 50% of the most apparent repeat offenders were miss ranked by professionals trained to detect liars.
Who had the most information on the defendants, the Judges or the computer?
Who had access to the most irrelevant information might be the better question. Judges had the defendant’s previous record, age, what happened the last time on bail, where they lived, and work. The judges also had the testimony of the prosecuting and defending attorneys, and the information shared in the courtroom. And they had the evidence of their own eyes. “What is my feeling about this man before me?”
The computer had only age and the rap sheet, a fraction of the information the judges had, yet the computer made better decisions.
It is clear meeting the person face-to-face, seeing their eyes and hearing their stories, was the debilitating factor.
Malcolm references another example of how orchestras made smarter hiring decisions when they started having auditions behind a screen. Taking the right information away from the committee allowed them to make better hiring decisions. The information gleaned from watching them play is irrelevant. How big, small, handsome, homely, or their ethnicity is unrelated to how well they perform.
How can you apply the lessons from these examples to improve your vetting process?
Internally, Misura Group’s double-vetting process has some hard-fast rules.
1) Use standardized questions: There is only one list of key performance outcomes and behavioral traits per position. As a group, make that decision before interviewing starts and rank them.
2) Protect objectivity: Do not share notes before interviewing. Force each interviewer to develop their individual assessment.
3) Phone/blind interviewing: Studies show face-to-face engagement encourages biases. Create a blind interviewing phase for your process. Video interviewing has its place around developing trust but know that it impedes critical assessment abilities.
What measures do you put into practice to maintain your humility, persistently collect new data, and give space to new conclusions? Contact the Misura Group team to learn more about how we implement these rules in our double-vetting process.
Hire Smarter – Tony
May 18, 2020
Moving through this COVID-19 crisis, each company has a different circumstance based on a myriad of factors. The common element, the environment, has become more competitive. Leaders are assessing and realigning their talent to increase responsiveness to match the new market demands. What might have been an acceptable company and employee alignment based on needs, capabilities, and performance in 2019, is no longer a fit. The distinction between an optimistic view of a professional deemed to be developing and the realistic assessment of an underperformer is difficult to escape in this new world.
I hope this article provides a template for leaders as they move through evaluating talent, both current team members and new candidates. By the way… I do not interview, I vet. Interviews can quickly become an over-rehearsed event of two people lying to each other. Vetting is collecting information, assessing the source, motives, and accuracy, then triangulating that information from other sources. Most importantly, re-ranking the dataset as heavier-weighted, new information is collected. People are like a ticker tape on the NYSE, some valuations rise, and others decline based on life events, personal growth, enlightenment, and the leaders and environments in which their performance is taking place. Projecting whether they will be successful in your situation requires the best critical problem-solving process.
The following are the top 3 items we coach leaders through during the hiring process, along with a printout of the most effective vetting tactics and questions. Click here to download
Creating a Data Mosaic: Financial and cultural performance data are the ultimate report card and an effective barometer for predicting future success. Critical thinking, done well, is limited by the quality and quantity of facts collected, considering the duration of the time frame from which the data is sourced. Are you looking at a puzzle piece or the entire picture? Perpetual re-ranking takes extra effort. The result should be a mosaic providing a clear picture.
Bias Awareness: To be human is to be biased, unconsciously, subconsciously, and otherwise. Relying on multiple interviewers, with one party that has no connection to the position being filled, can be effective. The tendency to lower standards, fill the position quickly, and overestimate the leader’s ability to develop and train people, are just a few common biases. Remaining explicitly focused on collecting, ranking, and weighting the facts can highlight the trajectory of future performance and guard against individual and group biases.
Post-traumatic growth: Be clear and decisive in your evaluation, conclusion, and communication. People will respect the leader at a higher level when the assessment is delivered candidly, highlighting strengths to build on and weaknesses to be improved. Self-awareness is a powerful gift. We often see rapid growth in the most stubborn people after they have been terminated, fired. Being fired is an outcome that is challenging to avoid; people often respond with newfound determination and energy, leading to Post Traumatic Growth.
We take the position of being a career coach first. No one wants to fail in their career – collaborating with professionals to solve the puzzle together increases the information flow. The more information collected, triangulated, and properly ranked yields a better result. The rewards of accurately evaluating professionals with transparency are huge. Looking out for people by increasing their self-awareness as you align towards a common goal, with a mutual commitment to transparency, will help you win the Best Leader of Year contest.
Hire Smarter – Tony
May 4, 2020
The challenging times of COVID-19 are clear and present, and the levels of direct impact are varied. One silver lining of this time is the power that quiet time creates. It is common for us to be caught up in the fog of the day-to-day fray and lose perspective of our personal and professional goals and values. If you have been furloughed, you have the benefit of personal reflection and find yourself interviewing to seek greater alignment with your goals.
I hope this information empowers you to guide your future.
The following are the top 5 items we coach professionals through while seeking their next career. For a printout of our Top 10 Interview Prep Best Practices for candidates, click here to download!
Be thankful: If you are interviewing, you have your health, experience, curiosity, values and purposeful drive. Continue to journal in your Thankful List; it is highly motivating and will keep you focused.
Take inventory: Counting the jars of peanut butter in the kitchen and knowing your burn rate will determine your time expectation. Selecting the right career move is done best with ample time, 3 months for most and up to 6 months for executives. If you have less time, recognize that gaining a job might be more important than selecting the right career move. Don’t stop your career search once you are employed.
You are more than your career: Insecure overachievers, which fits most high-performing professionals, struggle with the idea of being unemployed. The frequency of this insecurity is a common root cause of poor career decisions.
Hit the gym: Whatever your physical workout schedule was, double it until you are employed. Science has proven it will dramatically reduce your stress levels and help you make better decisions. Equally as important, your level of infectious energy will become an aura around you and will be noticed by hiring authorities.
Time management: Spend 2 hours a day on networking and interview preparation. Spend 6 hours a day on expanding your skills. Determine that One Thing that has been an obstacle in your proficiency and immerse yourself in the topic.
If you are a building materials professional considering your next career move and are concerned about confidentiality, please reach out to the team at Misura Group to help you find the right opportunity.
Be empowered – Tony
April 20, 2020
Professionals are rewarded over a given day or week or month for what they do.
Professionals are rewarded over the length of their careers by what they learn, which requires a much different behavior.
My personal goal: carve out at least one hour every day for thinking and learning.
No one knows what challenges are on the other side of COVID-19. What we do know, in every crisis, the teams with the best people grow and win market share. Sharpening your talent evaluation practices will be an even more critical skill in the weeks to come. Reviewing your tactics to retain your top performers will be front and center as the general market pie shrinks and competition increases.
Lazslo Bock, the VP of HR for Google, grew the business from 6,000 to 60,000 people. He shares his top 10 best practices in his book Work Rules!
Laszlo and Google’s commitment to “hiring people better than you” through their aggressive growth stage is compelling. The best hiring practices have strong data and science elements to the process to guard against biases, combined with a large, high-quality talent pool, this is a powerful combination.
Enjoy this video interview he did with Cade Massey, Practice Professor at Wharton People Analytics.
April 6, 2020
Adversity comes in many different forms, with loss being a central theme. Loss of a loved one, loss of a seemingly certain, stable, predictable lifestyle. Depression is the human struggle with adversity from the past. Anxiety is wrapped around an imminent uncertainty of future events. Left unchecked, our thoughts can take over in unhealthy ways.
Adam Grant, Wharton Professor of Psychology, is one of my favorite authors. He has teamed up with Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, for a sequence of excellent videos sharing specific tools we can implement in our daily rituals as we move through the current events.
The videos promote their co-authored book, OptionB: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy and website, www.OptionB.org, which are committed to helping people build resilience and find meaning in the face of adversity.
Mum Effect – Making people feel invisible by not engaging. “How are you today” can be a powerful shorthand for empathy.
Affective Forecasting – Humans are generally poor judges of their future emotional states, often choosing fatalistic visions. Replace the words “always” and “never” with “sometimes.”
Self-Confidence and Self-Compassion – Approach yourself with the same level of kindness you would show a good friend.
The Platinum Rule of Friendship – Treat others the way they want to be treated.
Take Action and Help People – Don’t ask for permission to help.
Thankfulness Journal – Writing down the positive areas of your life is the key to building more.
Bounce Forward – Psychologists have discovered that when facing adversity, some don’t recover, they bounce backward, but those that bounce forward and grow stronger from the experience gain the advantage.
In normal times, it’s common for people to take on challenges, struggle and make mistakes. We help professionals through the post-traumatic stress behavioral loop of life. What amazes me is the growth that comes on the other side. Helping professionals grow beyond adversity to reach their personal and professional goals is our shared purpose at Misura Group. I hope you find these videos helpful. – Tony
March 27, 2020
Welcome to our 9th episode of Hire Smarter. Our mission is simple: to educate building industry leaders with best practices for hiring talent while helping professionals make better career decisions.
This is a longer episode with some important information we don’t want you to miss – so we’ve outlined some key moments below.
0:45 – Introduction
2:05 – Chris shares how he got into the industry
10:25 – One of Chris’ greatest successes & failures
19:50 – Lessons learned from Chris’ greatest mentor, Peter Dachowski
46:35 – The importance of a blameless culture
49:55 – Leading through a crisis & how to handle the current situation
54:35 – How the coronavirus is different from other economic crashes
56:05 – Chris shares the most critical step to crush your competition
1:12:40 – Closing thoughts & take-aways
In this episode, we address coronavirus (COVID-19) and leadership through uncertain times. Under normal circumstances, most leaders face the challenge of controlling emotions and remaining fact-based and disciplined in their decision-making skills. The current shock over the virus epidemic and economic whipsaw is causing panic, fear and impulsive decisions from many leaders in the industry. Our guest today is Chris Kliefoth, a client but also, most importantly, a long-time industry friend. Over the years, Chris is a proven leader with ice water in his veins – he does not get rattled. His career came up through Morgan Products, the millwork distribution business now owned by Andersen Windows, eventually joining CertainTeed, where he built and led the cement siding business. He then went on to grow Nationwide Industries from $10m to $70m in sales, surpassing the private equity ownership’s profit expectations. Today, Nationwide Industries is a manufacturer of fencing hardware and locks serving contractors, dealers, OEM, and wholesalers nationally. Chris is generous and candid with sharing insightful responses to the following questions:
How were Chris’s most significant success and failure both wrapped in building the CertainTeed Cement Siding Division?
What are the greatest lessons learned from his mentor? (Peter Dachowski – CEO of Saint Gobain Isover/ CertainTeed Corp from 1996- 2011)
What are the core elements of leadership communication?
How do you avoid tunnel vision leading through a crisis?
How do you gain an advantage over your competition during a crisis?
Do you know what your strategy switching costs are?
What are the biggest mistakes you should be waiting for your weakest competitors to make?
Chris’s answers to these questions are direct, simple and actionable for every leader. What steps are you taking to fight PTSD from 2008/2009? What are the many ways this situation is different? Access to cash and market liquidity, relatively low debt in the construction industry, short supply of homes and apparent pent up demand.
In the 2008/2009 crash, the weakest leaders did not react quickly enough. What if in 2020 the mistake is cutting people too fast? Ask yourself, what is the fatal error your competition is waiting for you to make?
Hire Smarter – Tony Misura
March 23, 2020
Everyone is doing their part to “flatten the curve” by staying at home and remaining socially distant. This can take a toll on physical and emotional wellness, for both extroverts and introverts alike. Here are a few resources to help you stay positive and productive during this time.
Working from home? How to stay productive:
- Establish a routine
- Create structure
- Move around!
- Reduce stress
- Stay connected
Stay connected and collaborative:
Working remotely doesn’t have to mean working alone. Here are a few tools to help teams stay collaborative and connected:
Extra time on your hands? Now is a great time for personal and professional development!
Binged about as much Netflix as you can handle? Instead use your free time to update your resume, improve your LinkedIn profile, or learn a new skill!
What we’re listening to:
With the abundance of video and the increasing popularity of podcasts, there is a lot of excellent content to keep you informed and entertained. Here are a few ideas from what our team is listening to right now.
Clear your mind:
Exercising your mind is just as important (if not more) than physical exercise during a time of social distancing. Meditation can be an excellent way to stay sharp, stay positive, and clear your head.
March 13, 2020
Welcome to our 8th episode of Hire Smarter. Our mission is simple: to educate building industry leaders with best practices for hiring talent while helping professionals make better career decisions.
It’s a quickly evolving world in the commercial and residential construction and building products supply chain. The first phase was recognizing the industry’s inefficiencies. Now we are well into the second, which is “what to do about it.” As most already know, McKinsey & Company, the worldwide respected consulting firm, has delivered some great research data and foresight to the industry. https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/private-equity-and-principal-investors/our-insights/strategy-in-the-face-of-disruption-a-way-forward-for-the-north-american-building-products-industry
The truss and component industry is front and center providing solutions. The dealers who are most effectively alleviating the onsite labor constraints for general contractors will continue to gain share. With this new state of the industry in mind, we are excited to have Todd Drummond, who has been an operator, consultant and leader to the truss and components industry for his entire career. Todd is generous, candid and sometimes direct in helping us raise our level of awareness to a few critical questions:
What is the industry average profit for a truss plant, when owned by a manufacturing company?
How is that different from the industry average profit for truss plants owned by a lumber, millwork and building products dealer?
What are the differences in team culture and financial performance between a below average or above average Truss Plant General Manager?
What are the most common misconceptions and pitfalls in running a truss plant?
What would have a greater impact on leaders, a higher IQ or a higher level of humility?
Todd is clear in delivering direct answers. Conservatively, LBM dealers are leaving behind 10 points of profit on a $10m truss plant, that is $1,000,000 uncaptured profit. Todd outlines how most LBM dealers have truss and components that make up 10-20% of their sales but deliver 50% of the entire company profits. The demand for the product, high profit opportunity, and unique specialization of skillset requires dedicated attention. Lumber dealers committed to moving banded 2×4 units in and out as fast they can struggle with embracing the complexity and value of manufacturing. What is more important, a higher IQ or greater humility? Consistently overcoming the need to make other people think you know the answers might the best step in improving your truss plant.
Our clients have been impacted by Todd’s holistic consulting approach of supporting leaders, delivering results for years. Dealer leaders – if your truss plants are underperforming, give Todd a call for his custom playbook tailored to your business. If you have the right playbook and your truss plant leader is still underperforming, give us a call here at Misura Group. Remember, giving me the Green Bay Packers’ playbook is not going to make me an NFL QB, much less Aaron Rodgers. It might be time to embrace the reality that your draft pick was a mistake.
Hire Smarter – Tony Misura
February 14, 2020
We are excited to share our 7th episode of Hire Smarter! Our goal is to educate leaders with best practices in hiring and to help professionals make better career decisions.
How many professionals understand how taking risks is directly tied to personal growth, career progression and compensation?
How many hiring authorities project a candidate’s level of intellect, resiliency, learning speed, trust-building skills, passion and drive by the amount of risk they have taken in their career?
Many professionals and hiring authorities struggle to make the connection.
It’s common for professionals who worked for the same company for 10 -15 years that have reached GM or VP levels to call Misura Group and claim, “I am ready to become the industry’s next President.” It’s not impossible… but it is highly unlikely. The last 10-15 years of your career at the same company have given you the benefit of slowing learning the nuances of the business model, plus 10 years of networking with customers and building the trust of people who all come together to support your goals. Learning fast under pressure and rebuilding a network of trusted people internally and externally are skills that rust quickly.
No one hires a President and says we have a perfect company, don’t change a thing. Presidents are expected to deliver impact quickly; they don’t have 10 years. They must operate at a speed that is 2-3-4-5x faster than you have just spent the past 10 years over your career. Professionals who want to be a president take career risks, working at multiple companies to absorb their best practices. They are constantly driving impact at every position, constantly challenging themselves in new environments and cultures, and improving both the depth and breadth of their skills and expertise. At the first sign of slowing growth, they move on to the next challenge.
Along with being one of my best friends, Allan Breidenbach is the President of Wick Buildings, pre-engineered steel buildings we know as agricultural barns, commercial use and grand toy sheds and garages. Leading about 200 people, designing, distributing and also installing about one-third of their projects allows Allan to leverage his broad industry expertise. Allan’s journey is a great example of taking risks, embracing challenges and continuously growing along the way.
Hire Smarter! -Tony
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