Jay Connor: Hiring Now is a Strong Indicator of an Innovative Business


This is the higher power radio show before we get started let's take care of little housekeeping. Today's world a lot is changing the businesses that will successfully whether those changes are made up of people who are adaptable resilient and emotionally intelligent learn how to measure emotional intelligence to enable you organization to build stronger more resilient team checkout criteria. Corp. Dot Com. Recruiting techniques land the most desirable talent launch, your company massive six. This is the higher power radio show with Rick. Girard. Quite hiring pandemic strong indicator of an innovative business mercury and welcome to the higher power radio show we help entrepreneurs and hiring managers solve difficult hiring challenges by providing solutions to your most challenging hiring problems. We share insights from top performing rebel entrepreneurs, disruptors, and industry experts like our guest today Mr j Connor recognized as an early thought leader and collective impact. Jay is the founder and CEO of learning ovation. The mission of learning ovation's is to have all students reading at or above grade level by the end of third grade jazzy sweet officer with two separate fortune five, hundred corporations. Has Extensive Leadership Experience in business nonprofit and policy areas, which is what makes j. the perfect guest for today's topic J. Welcome to the radio show. Hey, rick just a joy to be here today. It's a pleasure to have you one of these days I'll get my mouth working and I've been doing this for four years and still botch up the interest. It's my trademark now good today we're GonNa be discussing things we're talking about why you should be hiring now, and then we're going to go into how do we evaluate your business and learn how to skate to the PUCK. Hockey today exactly right. Let's talk about the challenge and if you don't mind share a little bit of your story as to what put you in the position of thinking, Hey, look we need to be the people who are hiring right now as opposed to just maintaining the status quo. Well, I think probably for context, the best contextual issue is the fact that we're in early elementary education and almost everybody knows that that has been tremendously impacted all the way from Dui close schools don't close back in the March April timeframe to now the question is, do we open schools don't open schools and the whole impact that it's had on parents and adults terms of kids being home kids being in The school. So we're just there on the cusp of you will of some very important thinking about how do we respond to cove it and I think by being there it's pretty much allowed us to understand. We were either going to sink or we were going to swim in terms of how we responded to the pandemic as I've done in lots of other different business situations is you look at crisis or you look at an issue facing you and you either have one way to do is hunker down or just go and figure out where the opportunity is in the midst of that change and whenever you focus on where the opportunity is is that you really are forcing yourself to think in. Much different ways, and that's really what we've been very successful at and why we're in a situation to be able to hire people. Now, this pandemic has definitely made us all think that we really need to pivot I, value your business, and really look into the fact that do, I have the right people on the bus lot of companies have had to eliminate people. But then as you go through the restructuring you learn, Hey, look at maybe I didn't have the right people in the right seat, and now you have the opportunity to make sure those people are in a different seats or find the right people for that too. Absolutely rick into some extent you almost even have to ask are these. The right seats to have on this bus knows it almost goes back to that preliminary peace and when we were confronted with a pandemic, and this is even before the P P P opportunity from Congress to help us maintain the workforce as we went through a person by Person Review Department by Department review in terms of these, the best folks are these the best ways of organizing our work to move forward into this unknown space. So we started at that review you had the luxury to be able to do that which a lot of us were heads down just thinking. Okay. Well, this isn't going to turn into anything really significant. I think a lot of US got caught with their pants down. Think so and I think some of it is that you realize that you're almost wishful thinking when you make the alternative in terms of what's going to be the easiest resolution by think what you almost have to force yourself to do is what would be the hardest resolution what would be the worst case scenario and then begin to say, well, what if that plays out I think that forces you to not get into that hunkering down environment is that you really think back way this could be much worse. We don't know what it's GonNa play out. We know that last time. There was a pandemic lasted for a year and a half. What do we know now that why it would only lasts for a couple of weeks? It's much better if you plan for the worst because if the worst doesn't happen, there's no downside if you plan for the best and the worst happens, you've wasted a lot of energy and perhaps prevented yourself from responding to that worst. That is very true gone through the phase already where a lot of people have been forced to pivot what are the challenges that you're seeing in your business right now that are maybe hindering or Helping you to find more people well, in terms of finding more people I think the very first thing it's quit you started out rick is you're GonNa make that assessment folks on the bus how are we doing and then the next question that you think you need to ask is are these the right questions you should be asking these the right position descriptions that she should be recruited against because a profile of person that would have been very appropriate six months ago might not at all be the profile and the skill set or the competency that you're going to be looking. For going forward and a Lotta Times, we allow ourselves strategically to move forward but all of our administrative and all of our tactical things stay back where we were and so I think it's very important to make sure that you're aligning yourself with what is the strategy and then you all of those enabling kind of heavy lips writing position descriptions, nobody's Wade of spending a weekend but it's a very important way to think through. Am I gonNA, get the people that align line up with where we WANNA go I. Wish I would have got that memo years ago because I spend my Position this is all the time he brought up a really good point there, which is we've almost been forced to take a step back and actually be more strategic, which is good as a business. Now, you need to start thinking where's this business need to be a year from now like you said, plan for the worst evaluate and then hire for that person that you need to have a year from now let them grow the other thing is. I think a lot of US entrepreneurs. We have a need that needs to be filled, and so we go after that need that one person we're looking for somebody who's Don exactly what you need them to do nobody wants to do that I. have this conversation all the time why would I wanna go take a job with your company doing the same exact than I'm doing right now for less bay they'll go do it in an Amazon because they'll. Get a nice healthy raise in salary, but there's really no reason to hire. Let somebody grow into the role that somebody rise to the occasion they're going to perform in your just get a much higher quality of work out of them absolutely and Rick. The Way I think you can do that. We certainly are a small business. So we certainly have to look at that. How can we be most strategic and opportunistic? Is that you look across your? Spectrum and say what are the competencies that we have to add? What do we need to have that we don't have right now and then as you're looking at that person that boy I hope they grow into this role you're kind of protecting your downside to say but at least and bringing in these competencies that I didn't have before and any position that you look at whether you're talking about a marketing position sales position software development position they all. have a range of skill sets. So if you're filling out your capacity, your competencies like baseball manager thinking about, okay. Do I have the kind of defensive players that I need on the field and at the same time that right balance of offensive players then you're able to bring somebody in might not have the full experience of accomplishing. They've not done nationwide marketing campaign before, but they're doing much better knowledge of social media than you ever had. In the company before. So you're able to buy yourself that additional time for them to grow into the position because they're filling in a capacity that you didn't have. Why is this important to other entrepreneurs to look at it from this perspective? I think the main speaking having done a number of entrepreneurial startups and then coaching and teaching in terms of entrepreneurs is we tend to think about it as the entrepreneur we tend to think about it as us. And as soon as we can get to thinking about it as we or as them and what are the things that I need to support myself with is the faster that you can move from an entrepreneurial enterprise to a real business and it really is how do you move yourself? That's not saying that you're not important. That's not saying that you're not valuable, but you are just one of and how do you move yourself to that as quickly as Possible because that's where your opportunity is going to be, and it's always where the sticking point is with. A lot of US entrepreneurs is that we want perfection. We WanNa have it done right and we think we have the only answer realized that you don't allow other people to do as well. Exactly. You're listening to the higher power, radio show I'm rich Gerard, your host, and for our podcast listeners, we're gonNA take a quick educational moment from our sponsors. Emotional intelligence has emerged as one of the most important qualities to look for in hiring talent today employees who are emotionally intelligent are empathetic understanding and able to motivate others to a higher level of success. It's no surprise. They also make great leaders you modify is the newest game based assessment for emotional intelligence and it's been tied to predictable outcomes like better interpersonal effectiveness, collaboration, and productivity. At Criteria Corp Dot Com. Check out stride search. Dot Com there. You'll find additional content and resources to help you land great hires. Today our guest is J. Connor. He is the founder and CEO of learning ovation. We're talking about why it's important to hire. Now, we just covered a little bit about why it's important Your Business Jay and I talked on the phone we always do prep call beforehand. Jay had this Wayne. Gretzky quote which is one of my favorite quotes but I'll let you go into it and let's talk about why that's been something that you incorporate your business even were touching a little bit on it in the first half rick and that is the sense that as you look at a crisis, a pandemic or whatever, and you're trying to say, okay, what is it GonNa look like on the Other side, how do I get ourselves our organization best prepared to understand the market understand the opportunity. Once this pandemic gets behind us it reminded me and I think it's very analogous to the wing Gretzky quote rate hockey player that they ask them how is he always anticipating and being right worry needs to be and he says I skate to where the PUCK is GonNa be to wear the. Player is hitting the and I think that's so much. What we as good strong business people need to do is we need to anticipate okay in education the field that I'm focused at right now, what are going to be impacts of this corona virus? How's it to play off with home schooling with remote education distance learning in that, and then if it's successful if it's successful than policies for that? Happens. Before I. I. Shame on you. Jay. Does that Oh I know. Way Too often. I God I can't get it quiet happens in the best us. So good good break. Good Laugh. Yep, exactly. So that is the point in terms of envisioning where the industry your market is going to be so that you're setting up structures in recruiting people that are going to succeed in that market next year, not in the market that you knew you understood from last year. So you evaluating where the opportunity is going to be as opposed to what it is. Now, especially, what it was before exactly, how does one do this? How do you? How do you actually force yourself to ask where is this opportunity going first of all assuming that you really know your industry and know the constraints that are in it you're putting yourself in your customers and your marketplace's. Shoes. If they're confronted with what you're seeing in your reality, imagine that it's now multiplied magnified to the people that you're trying to serve, and so you can do it in old classic kind of marketing terms. You can pick up the phone and call somebody and saying what are you seeing at your level point of view you can also look at it in terms of the things that you were working at usually goes things that you're identifying as time clock differences branding or marketing positioning, or whatever are probably considered looking towards the future. So then the question is, do we double down on that future that we perceived or has that future changed and so you begin to have that conversation with the Momentum that you would already established, and that allows you to bring your existing employees on board to this new reality if you make it a complete break point and just think, oh I see what's over the horizon I'm GonNa race there and you don't think about how do you connect that to the work that people had already been joint was this change is important. You can lose the very people that are going to get you to that future. So I think in many ways, it's understanding what has changed why it's changed and then try connect with momentum's or directions that you're already going to have instead of people having the sense and adults really react very badly to Oh my God this is. Completely different than what we thought it was before and they tended then just go home and cry whereas if you say boy, this is an opportunity for us to do what we were GonNa do but do that much faster or do it with this kind of results in the marketplace you have people leaning into it they already say this isn't that. Different. This is just a propulsion or this is just a clarity about what we were working on before because no matter how clear your vision of what that future is it your team that's going to carry there, and so your team has to be the ones that see it in the sense of how it connects to where they were to where. You WanNa go and how that translates into the hiring process is that you have a tremendous opportunity right now people are taking calls from normally would not be taking calls I get call backs. So people are unsure if they don't see that their current company is hiring they don't know what's going to happen. Next and communication is pretty poor across the board with a lot of companies. You have such a clear advantage in being able to say, Hey, number one I'm hiring and we should talk people who normally you wouldn't be able to open up a conversation with our returning calls are talking right now. Absolutely there's the opportunity you don't get this kind of an opportunity very often especially in a strong. Market, which is what we came out of the first quarter of this year. Absolutely I'll testify testified that just in this current search that we have right now vice president of product search candidates that we're talking to are beyond what we would have expected to be able to have even know who we are or even respond to our post. So you're. Absolutely. Right. There's people that are now I think responding to organizations that are continuing to move in grow because they're looking around in their present organization say, my Gosh, this seems like status, but the world doesn't seem status, and so I think you've got at the beginning of the pandemic probably most of the people that we saw were just hunker down they. Were not even thinking about job changes while why would I change jobs in this kind of upside down topsy turvy world where now we're seeing a much different response we're seeing an attraction to those new jobs, those companies that are distinguishing themselves because they have opportunity because they might be more familiar with organizations that see a smaller set of opportunities in the future, and so just the fact that you're the market right now has allowed you increase not only your visibility, but probably the pool of talent you're going to attract just don't get cocky though is an entrepreneur and start making the mistake of having a bad hiring process because that's GonNa turn people off absolutely people are going to evaluate opportunities with. More scrutiny today they just are they're going to make a move. They haven't been laid off. They're gonNA, make a move. They need to know one hundred percent. What's in it for them is more important. Now today than it ever has been absolutely, and that encircles back to the point rick you're making before is that that search committee that you have? Of Your leads of your team that you WanNa do it is incumbent upon them to have that real clarity about what that future picture is because they're the ones that are going to be attracting that new person to the teen and if they're saying well, I know we're hiring but I'm not quite sure why then you're going to close a lot of. Your team that's involved in the recruiting process and they're saying only God this is just so exciting. What we're doing you're creating that kind of propulsion of Saint. Why wouldn't you go with this new company? Do you need the right tools in place to be able to do this? Would you mind sharing what you're doing? Differently that's getting people engaged with you. We talked about seeing what that opportunity is, and then we've also talked about in terms of knowing what has to be in place to deliberate. So those are two very key pieces and I, think the next one is really along the lines of you can't start from scratch in terms of a recruiting and hiring process if you don't have A. Good people process already in place, and so it's also a time for you to sit back and really reflect in terms of the people really have a good sense of their evaluations, a good sense of the work that they're doing and can they then carry that forward. So I think as you're going into that recruiting process, you should also be reflecting on do we have the kind of organization that is going to stand for and allow somebody coming on board to be attracted to you? So it has a lot to do with what is your evaluation process as a lot to do with what your even your ninety days goals are. If you said, we're GONNA recruit you, and then we're GONNA have. A Ninety Day test period. What do you do at the end of the ninety days? Is that what I do with every single one of the people that we recruited this organization is I take that as an opportunity to get on either an email or call him on the phone say I am so glad that you've been so successful with a ninety day trial and are so looking forward to the contributions that you can make going forward and then again Dr Crystallize what it is that we're trying to accomplish why they're addition is so important to that they're ninety day period to it's really important that you build some count ability into play we even put those in the job descriptions do performance. Metrics for the first ninety days if you can define those out I, talk about it quite often. But if you could define those out again, you become that much more attractive to the person that you're trying to hire because you've sat down and thought about it and it doesn't take that much time to do. You can do it in fifteen minutes. You can put together performance metrics again make sure they're measurable not just Hey, learn this and do this. You've gotTa have some metrics involved with it but the fact of the matter has been you know whether or not you have a successful higher than that call from you I'm sure is a welcome call I'm sure they're like great. I made it past. I think at some extent rick, we might have a little bit of leg-up in the sense that our mission is, how do we get more and more children reading at grade level? So therefore, we've really set a criterion. We know how to measure that. We know our accomplishment towards that. So then as we start relaying and in terms of employee evaluations in terms of employees mattresses, we know that there needs rigor to that. Otherwise you're just kind of guessing otherwise it becomes a popularity contest versus are they really contributing and pushing the Company forward. So I can agree with you more in terms of that sense of having real clarity about what it is that you want people do, and if you can't measure it, you probably shouldn't go ahead and hire the person because if you can't measure progress is probably not somebody you need to have onboard sounds like you're saying that if you can't actually tie to the business objectives, dad is not a good performance metric. Exactly. That's a really good point because I think we set performance metrics that are out of the business. When you evaluated your team let's go over that really quickly. What were the steps you went through to evaluate your team to figure out whether or not? You had people in the right seat the first thing is that again, remember right at the beginning cove it. We didn't know whether there was going to be governmental help. We didn't know what that landscape was gonNA look like. So I, was really confronted with I knew how much working capital I had I knew how many months I could keep the door open the question that. I needed to have at that stage was, can I justify for what we needed to accomplish all the roles that we had there there are several roles that we could not justify either in terms of performance or in terms of the value add that we were getting by having that role. So I think you know to some extent. You should always have that as constantly on your mind. Are you able to justify those roles as you try to move forward and so we probably were close to ten plus percent of the folks that. We said boy, we really can't justify moving forward and so that became that first decision and then the next decision became. Now, what kind of resources do we need as we're responding to this changed environment? I probably wouldn't have had the ability to recruit or to bring on those different resources. If I hadn't gone through that I process in terms of saying am I sure that the people that are presently with us are actually going to be the ones that are going to get us to success. That's a great point we're getting. Pretty close on time j what would you say would be two or three key takeaways that you can give the audience that can plug into business today the first one it's never too late to pivot right now, if you've spent the last four or five months hunkering down what I would really say as you can still sit down and say, you now have probably much better sense of what the future is going to be for your organization than I had back in the June timeframe. So that's an advantage take advantage of that. Don't feel Oh. My God I didn't respond or I didn't Act Act go ahead and do that. So that would be the first one. It's never too late to pivot and I think the last one is that whole thing of taking that honest appraisal of the team is that you are not being a bad person by asking the fact is that are we building the best team when somebody decides that where we have to go out on the free agent market and find new second baseman? You're not a bad person you're responding. To what are the things that we need to do to be successful team and I think those are the two things that I would say is really clear on the folks being there is being those that can help the organization as a whole most successful and never be afraid to pivot and that takes us into Russia. Jay thanks so much for your time investment today and I want to welcome you to higher power radio community. What would be the best way in which members of our audience can find your company and reach you. Folks to look at our website, which is learning ovation's L. E. A. R. N. I., N. G., O.'S VAT I O N s dot Com and then we have lots of villa on facebook twitter and linked in as well. So we just love to hear from folks, I WanNa think our listening audience continue this week's upset of higher power. Quick. Thanks to our team Christopher Decker Andrea Balance and illegitimate. If you're listening to the PODCAST, please subscribe review and share hit the like button we welcome your feedback by the way when you take it into consideration, we tried to make the show better you every episode you can join the Higher Power Radio Community, a higher. Power POW, ER radio, or. Dot Com or you drop me a line at Ricketts ride search dot com next week our guest is going to be Bradley Clark. Bradley is co-founder and product strategy of wreck taxed. I'm your host Rick Girard and you've been listening to the higher power radio show although. Thank you for listening to higher power radio. How Lincoln live show every Tuesday at noon for download the podcast on iheartradio I tooth youtube or your favorite podcast platform. We appreciate you joining us on High Power Radio with your guy to regret success. Every. Row. Row Route.

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