PDF The Leadership Bus

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We want to make sure that we put in the time and effort to find a role that allows their commitment to our culture and their skills to shine. Getting employees into the right roles begins when you are selecting them to be part of your company. We have all seen firsthand how disruptive someone who does not fit the culture can be for the entire organization. When employees feel connected to the vision and values of the company, it is reflected in the work they do and how they interact with customers and one another.

So when hiring, be sure that screening for culture is a top priority. During People Planning, leaders get together to talk about the strengths of each person on their team and any gaps they might have as a group. In your own sessions, identify all the areas in which the team is strong and the areas in which a skill set is missing, then ensure the next hire fills that gap.

You should include conversations about upcoming positions across the company and identify high potential employees who might be a fit for these future roles. While not everyone can or should be mobile — someone who can switch roles easily — look for people who have the ability to assume new or different responsibilities within their current role as well as those who can move to fill various gaps you have identified.

In these cases, I encourage leaders to have a different conversation that comes from a place of care for that person and the situation at hand. This includes helping them write resumes and search for a job. We do this simply because we believe in that person; they have given us unyielding engagement, support, and passion but cannot support our business needs. By treating employees with care and being a partner to them, you gain their respect and can continue to keep that relationship intact. This is a huge mistake. Sometimes you may have the right person on the bus, but they are in the wrong seat.

David our Director of Product had almost every job possible with us when we first started. At one point, he was managing our small team of support reps.

Leaders of great companies ask: First Who, Then What?

I knew that this was not his strength or passion, and it was tough on him. When we talked about where he could grow in the company, he said that he wanted to become a developer for our product. He took it upon himself to get admitted to an intensive coding school. I supported him while he took four months away from work, and he returned with a skill set that we needed to grow. Now he is the leader of that team. Like anything else in your business, you need to build a process to get and keep the right people on the bus. The best way to keep the wrong people off the bus is to not let them on in the first place.

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

You usually have to make some hiring mistakes to learn this lesson. As your company grows, the risk becomes that you are not able to be involved in every hiring decision. This is where process becomes critical. The steps you use are not as important as the consistency in which you use them.

Reading: Leadership Styles

An applicant tracking system is an effective way to ensure that this happens. We use our own CareerPlug system to prequalify candidates based on their application. Then we use our assessments and interview guides to see if they meet our hiring criteria. Then we have two verification steps: reference and background checks. This helps us confirm what we have heard and ensure we did not miss anything.

Who's On Your Bus? | CareerPlug

Finally we conduct a Candidate Defense. Managers present to our leadership team and make a case for hiring someone.

Even if you are the business owner who is making the hire, I encourage you to use some form of a candidate defense. It could be with your existing team or even another business owner. The important thing is that you take a step back and reflect before making a hiring decision.


  1. More Shit that Pisses Me Off.
  2. Leadership Development!
  3. You’re a leader, not a bus driver;

The bus you are driving now is not the same one that you will need to be driving in five years. You will need to equip your team with new tools, processes and skills. Plus you will need to change yourself. You cannot afford to wait on this, so it is critical to build processes to evaluate and develop your team. This can means different things for companies, but at the least you should make sure that:. The way we hire today is nothing like how I hired Garrett and David — which is a good thing! Five years from now, you will be wishing things were as easy as they are today. Your best bet is to embrace change and put your energy into what you need right now.

It has been close to 11 years since I started CareerPlug. Now we are about to move to our third office with enough room for at least our next few years of growth. My role is not the same, and neither am I. We have put a lot of work into our bus, and there were tough times when the bus was hardly even running!

But the work has paid off, and I have never been more excited about the team we have on the bus and where we will go. No manager should ever be without one. Pretty reasonable right? See, you knew this management thing was easy all along! People work within a system and we often ignore that system in favor of easier answers. Edwards Deming. Understanding and changing the system is hard. If teams need your approval to move any project ahead, will the new and improved team members be able to operate more autonomously than the existing ones?

The biggest risk of a talent driven mindset comes with new managers. Newly minted leaders often assume the team they have inherited is weak. These people were here when it went bad — ergo they are bad and need to be replaced.


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