Hiring a new person for an existing position is always interesting. Hiring a person who is a Team Lead or a Department Head is even more interesting for various reasons. But one thing is for sure. You always look at raise the bar in terms of what the new person bring to the table.
However this becomes highly contextual. Common phenomena is to benchmark against the person who left to see for similar qualities in better packaging. That might be a recipe for disaster. Irrespective of how well one performs one to one match will and can only ensure continuity. While continuity might look stable in some instances it rarely raises the bar.
So what should companies do?
One needs to align the role in the context of organizational strategy and see what sort of a a person is required in terms of both technical competencies and soft skill set.
Also it is important to focus on the softer side of things more as the person is inheriting an existing culture. While the new head is certainly within his rights to create his own culture, how s(he) goes about doing it could very well make or break the team. Companies need to find some level of comfort about the cultural adaptability of the new hire as well.
Technical brilliance could mean nothing in an environment which requires a lot of team effort for the regular running of the business while certain situations demand technical brilliance more than anything else.
Having said that there are occasions companies would look for complete and overall re-hauling of departments!!!
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