4 Hiring Lessons Thanks to the New England Patriots

picI often find that we can learn great lessons to apply to our leadership acumen in very odd places. Such is the case in the murder conviction of NFL stand-out Aaron Hernandez.

Although not personally involved in the trial or specifics, there are so many lessons to learn about common mistakes leaders often buy in to when making important hires.

Here are the top 4 mistakes:

1. Falling in love with a candidate’s skills, ONLY. Skill is the only thing that can be easily learned and the least likely thing to create havoc in the organization. It’s all the other stuff a person brings with them that often determines success or failure.
2. Placing too much emphasis and weight on one person’s opinion in terms of “fit” in an organization, especially when the respected leader had motive for ensuring “fit.”
3. Dismissing the signals, data, and evidence of a failed cultural fit provided by their own scientific and behavioral experts. Ignoring the evidence doesn’t make it go away.
4. Using intuition, gut and most likely ego instead of ensuring the individual would easily align with its organizational non-negotiable principles of leadership on and off the field. Most companies I know cannot afford the bad PR, waste of capital, and interference with the organization’s mission.

We see leader after leader who are just as guilty of making bad hires based only on skill or a “gut feeling” while disregarding a candidate’s ability to smoothly and easily merge into its culture and make a positive imprint immediately. More often than not, ignoring the science and signals ends up hurting the company, productivity and the individual.

There will be many people reply that New England still won the Super Bowl this year. And I reply, you are right. However, how many business leaders can take this type of PR hit, lose millions in a bad hire, have its owner subpoenaed to testify in a murder trial and still win? That’s the stuff of football legend – not a typical business.

What are you doing to ensure you are positioning your team to be successful through smart hiring?

By Patty Azar, Founder & CEO at Vision Alignment, Inc.
Published on April 20, 2015