Tag Teams

Ric Edelman, CEO of Edelman Financial Center, in Fairfax, Va., believes an all-inclusive hiring process helps create a close-knit atmosphere with very low turnover at his company, which had 1998 revenues of $11.6 million. No applicant wins a job in any of the financial planning and investment management company's six subsidiaries without facing grueling office-wide scrutiny.

First, potential hires are screened by telephone. Then, as many as 10 applicants per job opening are interviewed, usually by employees from the division that has the opening. Finally, the top two or three candidates return for final interviews with teams of two or three Edelman employees. The employees who conduct the interviews receive training in the legal issues that surround job interviews, Edelman notes. "We're very sensitive to those rules," he says.

If any team turns thumbs down, not even Edelman can veto the decision. He says the strategy both reduces turnover and yields "high-quality people because employees hire in their own image."

Source: INC.com, 101 Great Ideas for Managing People FROM AMERICA'S MOST INNOVATIVE SMALL COMPANIES October 21, 1999.

Lessons for Provocateurs

Here are some of Larry Weber's provocative rules for new-style leaders. The rules are taken from his new book, The Provocateur.

Build a community, not a company.
The strength of a business is measured by the strength of its relationships. Provocateurs involve customers, partners, and employees in the business, allowing them to feel that they are important players in the enterprise's success.

Roll out the welcome mat for nomadic customers.
Customers are footloose; loyalty is rare. But a community that appeals to nomads can attract and keep customers even when they can find a better price elsewhere.

Good communities are not built on monologues.
Provocateurs try to create a feeling that no walls separate the company from the outside world. The goal is constant interaction with customers and prospects, other businesses, suppliers, and regulators.

Act like a great mayor.
Who better than former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani knows how to bring constituents together and create a common goal? Successful provocateurs, like great mayors, create excitement, engagement, and a sense of belonging.

Marketing is job one.
Communicate with customers to benefit the company, and put the brand before everything else that a CEO does. The stronger the communication, the stronger the brand.

Love your competitors.
Even your toughest competitor serves to validate your ideas and to generate interest in your community. Provocateurs know that they can learn from competitors. And they don't worry that their competitors might learn something from them.

Source: Fast Company, January 2002, issue 54, page 108 by Paul C. Judge.

This article is used by permission from Dr. John C. Maxwell's free monthly e-newsletter 'Leadership Wired' available at www.MaximumImpact.com.