The Leadership Lens: Eagles Don’t Flock…

I am not sure exactly where that quote came from or who said it first.  My first memory of it is from Ross Perot, the legendary founder of EDS (long since sold to GM, and Ross has ended his journey in this life).  This “Leadership Lens: See Outside The Frame” picture was taken at Conowingo Dam in Maryland.  Eagles gather at the dam on their migration south and know it is feeding time when they hear the bell announcing that the dam gates are opening. Fish in the river are forced thru the dam gates and are stunned a bit as them come out, making it an ‘easy meal’ for the hungry eagles.

Eagles Don’t Flock…

The quote… “Eagles don’t flock, you catch them one at a time” … is exactly what it feels like building a Leadership Team and creating ‘bench strength’ for your growing company!  It is also a reminder that,
“if this was easy, anyone could do it”.

Your most significant responsibility as a CEO is building a strong team that is fully invested in your vision and the strategic direction of the company…whether you are a founding entrepreneur now serving as CEO or a ‘hired-gun’ running a company for a Private Equity Fund, or running a publicly held company…

…And, When You Do Catch Them…

Building a great team is your greatest challenge and opportunity. A source of both frustration and tremendous sense of accomplishment when you get it right!  It takes time…and not every decision you make in selecting team members will work out like you wanted.  It also takes a focus on disciplined recruiting and selection on the front end and continuous employee engagement for the long term.   It’s about creating an environment in which, as my friend Don Rheem of E3 Solutions says, people want to give more of their ‘discretionary effort’ to you and your company.

The whole process of creating the team strong enough to take your company to places you could not take it ‘on your own’ is worth everything it takes to make it happen.

I’ve had the privilege to be part of both highly functional, engaged teams and on some that were, well, dysfunctional would be a ‘kind’ description…And, I get to work regularly with CEO’s who are building their teams to take their companies to the ‘next level’…that is some of the most exciting and sometimes daunting work I’ve done.

My colleague, Sara King led the Human Resources team at a technology company. She helped them grow from 100 people to over 600 by designing and implementing disciplined hiring processes for all levels of employees.  She is a skilled organization design expert and coach who has ‘been there, done that’.

Keeping Perspective and Focus When Recruiting

In today’s very challenging workforce environment, making the right ‘up-front’ hiring decisions is particularly important.  It’s tempting to ‘settle’ because you have a job to fill and work to be done.

Keeping your leadership perspective is challenging and staying focused on getting the ‘right person, not any person’ gets frustrating.  You need to be sure you are using the best tools to provide you the deepest insights into ‘will this candidate be successful in our company’… You want to be using more than your ‘gut instinct’.

There is a wide selection of assessment tools available.  If you are already using one and love it… good for you and your team!  Keep up the great work.  If you are not using an assessment tool, or want to explore one that provides both cognitive and behavioral insights into candidate performance, we’d love to introduce you to the PXT Select ™ assessment,  our ‘go-to’ tool to help companies make better hiring decisions and contribute to successful individual and team development in the long run. When you, your HR Professionals and hiring managers are knowledgeable about applying the PXT effectively, it makes building and developing your team a less daunting task.

What are you doing to build…and engage with…your Leadership Team?  Email either of us… Sara King or Ben Griffin and start a conversation.  Or, leave a comment to this post and let us know!

Ben Griffin
Author: Ben Griffin