Functions | Trends | Strategy

    Scroll down


Making Great Hiring Decisions

Managers want to hire the Best*. This much is understood. The real question is how many managers make great hiring decisions – where expectations match reality. Let’s refer to this as the managers’ hiring effectiveness score and define it as the proportion of great hires within their overall hiring pool. Over the years, I have polled numerous managers of varying hiring tenure across diverse disciplines to get a sense for this metric. The results are intriguing. For instance, a majority of managers claim to make the right hiring decision only half the time, which translates into an effectiveness score of 50%. Think about that for a second; they might as well flip a coin. Moreover, less than 10% of the managers surveyed claimed an effectiveness score of 70% or higher. Bottom line is that while there does not appear to be direct correlation between a manager’s tenure and their quality of hiring decisions, a small subset (top 10%) seems to have figured it out. These are the managers we want to study and draw insight from. This post shares four common best practices that allow these top hiring managers to make great decisions. I hope you benefit from them.

Commit Yourself: Top hiring managers commit themselves to the hiring process; to match a great candidate with a great role. To achieve this outcome, they first, themselves, prepare rigorously to interview. They understand the requirements of the role and are able to clearly articulate it in terms of goals, success criteria, and the skill sets necessary to excel in it. Additionally, these managers compel themselves to bringing out the best in the candidate. This is easier said than done and it takes both experience and preparation. They do not try to trick the candidate or “get them”. Instead they ask insightful, open-ended yet high impact and well-prepared questions that allow them to have two-way conversations with candidates. In doing so, they are able to look beyond the superficial, rehearsed answers and instead engage with candidates to get a true sense of theirabilities and personality.

Hire into the Culture: There is an old Irish proverb, “Your feet will take you where your heart is.” In corporate terms, “feet” defines an organization’s capability and “heart,” its culture. The best hiring managers understand that even the most able candidate will fail if they do not fit with the culture of the organization. They actively assess for the right fit between the candidate and team by evaluating a candidate’s “how” behaviors and fit with organization during the interview process. The exception to this general rule is if the candidate is a Senior Leader or CEO who the company is deliberately hiring to change or to formulate the culture of the team or organization.

Set up a high quality interview panel: These managers not only insist that more heads are better than one (their own), but they also put a premium on getting high quality interviewers on the panel – with a few of them specifically chosen for having strengths that complement the manager’s. This practice generates two specific benefits for the hiring manager. First, the diversity of interviewers allows for a thorough assessment of the interviewee’s candidature across multiple dimensions. Second, it protects the hiring manager from self-induced biases and draws from the collective wisdom of others.

Go back and evaluate yourself: This is straightforward, yet very few managers actually do it. These star managers document both the expectations of the role and the qualities on which they hired the candidate. Then they consistently evaluate themselves on their decisions and incorporate learnings into future interviews. In this way, they constantly calibrate themselves against their own hiring effectiveness score. Moreover, this closed loop setup acts as a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy by which these managers continue to strengthen their hiring muscle that in turn allows them to make great hiring decisions.

The one thing I did not touch upon in this article is a manager’s intuition. In my opinion, reliable intuition is a byproduct of the above practices. Good luck.

*Lets define “Best” as the employees that fit organizational DNA and who deliver results.

Sumit Singh - Director, Worldwide Operations & Strategy, Amazon Fresh



Lean Management Concepts: Operational Excellence, TPM, Six Sigma

Some companies have developed their own production systems in which they describe the general principles, standards, methods and tools that apply worldwide for the organization and the working and production methods in their company. The most popular of these production systems is the Toyota Production System (TPS). Meanwhile, many companies, especially in the automotive industry, developed their own production systems, which are mainly based on the principles that have been developed by Toyota.

Toyota Production System (TPS)

Many of the principles, methods and tools Toyota has introduced first also underlie the Lean Management. Defining the essential contents (waste) of LEAN and eliminate it began around 1980 (MIT Researcher John Kraftczik), first by JIT and Kanban, later on Value Stream-mapping. The essential philosophy or the content of LEAN is the prevention of waste, especially in the 7 types of waste: defects, overproduction, waiting, transport, movement, inappropriate processing and inventory. This improvement approaches are subject to application of certain techniques (5S, TQM, pokayoke) and were later extended by Motorola with the Six Sigma approach (qualitative improvements by statistical methods) to eliminate the types of waste or bring them near Zero.

Successful LEAN Management Organisations

In todays Group's corporate practice, it does not always succeed to turn the often very high investment in "LEAN measures" into economic success of the company. A key success factor for a successful LEAN integration is namely not a high theoretical knowledge (lots of Six Sigma Belts) of the LEAN-managers and directors, but many years of successful professional experience as a responsible LEAN AND (this is important) lines managers as a departmental-, area- or location- (plant) Responsible in detectable successful Manufacturing / Supply organization. The product-, production-, process-, or industry expertise of managers is much less important than highly visible leadership skills in high performing supply/manufacturing organizations. Furthermore, important for these production systems is a common understanding of an end-to-end supply organization and matching S & OP processes. In all kinds of national or global operations, it is depending on the experience of the Chief Operations / Chief Supply Officer (COO or CSO) and the management-team and much more from the support and understanding, she/he gets from CEO and Board for changes.

In this sense, leadership competence is that the leader has not only been proven in the military sense as a manager (officer) or could prove his hard assertiveness in a high line position. Leadership means competing with the best of the best in the detectable high leadership competence embossed organizations (see Best Companies for Leadership) in one of the above-mentioned or similar business in a high-level (HR-, R & D-, sales-, marketing-, finance-, production-, logistics-directors position) to gain a high position. It means professional development of the person "under" different observers/ bosses, not only a good personal relationship to only one boss.

LEAN concepts from P&G and other

More similar concepts such the Procter & Gamble (P&G), the production system IWS were approximated from global FMCG companies because Nestles System "NCE" is P&G's IWS approximated; Beiersdorf, Mars, Mondelez, Unilever etc. have similar systems developed. The P&G System "IWS" is besides the system of Toyota the longest and most detailed developed production systems and therefore forms the basis for some other systems and production organizations. One reason is that many former P&G top executives in CEO-, CFO or COO roles are working for other leading companies as well as in consulting firms like McKinsey and BCG and have transferred the successfully proven systems to the other companies.

Former P&G top executives (CEO, CFO, COO) today i.a. Partner at McKinsey or BCG or are CEO of Beiersdorf, Red Bull, Carrera, Campari, Coty, Carl Kuehne, Pepsico-North-America, Unilever, WMF, etc. or were CEO of Adidas, Beiersdorf, Boeing, Coty, Lindt, Microsoft, Omega Pharma (Perrigo), Reckitt (RB); were / are COO at Campbell-Soup, Mondelez, Eckes, Omega-Pharma; or are CFO at Amazon-EU, Novartis-EU, was CFO of Nestle, Villeroy & Boch. Similar good top managers but much less come from Accenture, Bain, Mars, Pepsi, Unilever, GE, Honeywell and similar global and Anglo-Saxon companies. No officer of P&G ever came from outside, what can only be found at McKinsey and BCG.

Production systems:

Improving production and supply chain performance
Integrated Work Systems
P&G Plant Tour: ML Council Members Say Industry Transformation Won’t Affect the Need for Plant Floor Disciplines
Unlocking manufacturing’s full performance potential
MLG: Lean
Manufacturing’s New Role in CPG U.S. Automakers Show the Way
Kölner Stadtanzeiger: Familienfest in Euskirchen-Großbüllesheim: Die Auszeichnung gebührend gefeiert
McKinsey & Company: Akzente
North American Manufactoring Excellence Summit
Operations Extranet by McKinsey


Businesses require strong leadership as an unconditional factor for any kind of long-term success. The concept of leadership is 'exploited' by many authors and there are hundreds of attempted definitions, however because of the complexity of the human actions per se, there is no clear, exact and universal one. Since the difference between high-ranking, multi-national companies and those striving to achieve such a status, lies predominantly in the skillful potential shown by their leading proponents, it is crucial to study some successful leadership models. A concrete example of such models is Procter and Gamble Company. Thus the highlights of effective leadership model are applied to this company, where the foundations and underlying structure of such a model are shown in a fashion where simplicity is idealized above all else.


  • Customer Obsession - Leaders start with the customer and work backwards. They work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust. Although leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over customers
  • Ownership - Leaders are owners. They think long term and don’t sacrifice long-term value for short-term results. They act on behalf of the entire company, beyond just their own team. They never say “that’s not my job".
  • Invent and Simplify - Leaders expect and require innovation and invention from their teams and always find ways to simplify. They are externally aware, look for new ideas from everywhere, and are not limited by “not invented here". As we do new things, we accept that we may be misunderstood for long periods of time.
  • Are Right, A Lot - Leaders are right a lot. They have strong judgment and good instincts. They seek diverse perspectives and work to disconfirm their beliefs.
  • Learn and Be Curious - Leaders are never done learning and always seek to improve themselves. They are curious about new possibilities and act to explore them.
  • Hire and Develop The Best - Leaders raise the performance bar with every hire and promotion. They recognize exceptional talent, and willingly move them throughout the organization. Leaders develop leaders and take seriously their role in coaching others. We work on behalf of our people to invent mechanisms for development like Career Choice.
  • Insist on the Highest Standards - Leaders have relentlessly high standards - many people may think these standards are unreasonably high. Leaders are continually raising the bar and driving their teams to deliver high quality products, services and processes. Leaders ensure that defects do not get sent down the line and that problems are fixed so they stay fixed.
  • Think Big - Thinking small is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Leaders create and communicate a bold direction that inspires results. They think differently and look around corners for ways to serve customers.
  • Bias for Action - Speed matters in business. Many decisions and actions are reversible and do not need extensive study. We value calculated risk taking.
  • Frugality - Accomplish more with less. Constraints breed resourcefulness, self-sufficiency and invention. There are no extra points for growing headcount, budget size or fixed expense.
  • Earn Trust - Leaders listen attentively, speak candidly, and treat others respectfully. They are vocally self-critical, even when doing so is awkward or embarrassing. Leaders do not believe their or their team’s body odor smells of perfume. They benchmark themselves and their teams against the best.
  • Dive Deep -Leaders operate at all levels, stay connected to the details, audit frequently, and are skeptical when metrics and anecdote differ. No task is beneath them.
  • Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit - Leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree, even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting. Leaders have conviction and are tenacious. They do not compromise for the sake of social cohesion. Once a decision is determined, they commit wholly.
  • Deliver Results - Leaders focus on the key inputs for their business and deliver them with the right quality and in a timely fashion. Despite setbacks, they rise to the occasion and never settle.

  • Leaders relentlessly upgrade their team, using every encounter as an opportunity to evaluate, coach and build self-confidence.
  • Leaders make sure people not only see the vision, the live and breath it.
  • Leaders get into everyone’s skin, exuding positive energy and optimism.
  • Leaders establish trust with candor, transparency and credit.
  • Leaders have the courage to make unpopular decisions and gut calls.
  • Leaders probe and push with a curiosity that borders on skepticism, making sure their questions are answered with action.
  • Leaders inspire risk taking and learning by setting the example.
  • Leaders celebrate!

Definition of leadership
Leader can be anyone who has an empowering vision, ability to motivate and deliver effective results. A little kid who suggests playing a new game which is more cheerful and involves all of the other children is a leader in his playground environment. That little kid encompasses some leadership characteristics which differentiate him from the rest of the group. He is able to propose something different which sounds interesting and promising and which is relevant to that particular group that follows him. A simple analogy can be drawn between that little kid and a grown up in his working environment. The characteristics that one possesses and the input he/she gives to a company determine his/her place in that working environment. For instance an employee, who finds an alternatively less costly way of producing a particular line of products and leads change in the company, distinguishes his/herself as a leader. The fast pace business world we live today does not allow for incremental changes, what you need is fundamental improvements. The person who can lead innovation and produces meaningful results should be at the top of the company's hierarchy. Leadership is a key to company's long-term profitability. But, what do we mean by leadership?

An attempted definition of leadership is as follows:
Leadership is both a process and a property. The process of leadership is the use of noncoercive influence to direct and coordinate the activities of the members of an organized group toward the accomplishment of group objectives. As a property, leadership is the set of qualities or characteristics attributed to those who are perceived to successfully employ such influence. (Jago 315)Basically what this definition implies is that leadership does not constitute only what one possesses but even what one does. The little kid that was mentioned above is not an appointed leader, but by his actions he establishes himself as such. At this point it is important to mention that leadership would not exist if there wasn't a followership. In order for a leader to succeed he needs to be listened to and followed by others. According to professor Stone followership constitutes 50% of the leaders' success. If the little kid would scream and threaten to take the playing ball from the group he would not be exhibiting leadership, and most probably the other kids would not even pay attention to him. However, from that group of kids no one is a designated leader, and since leadership is an evolving process anyone who possesses some basic traits can become one. This represents the basis of the link between followers and leaders, leaders become followers and followers become leaders. At the same time leadership is not a restricted process, there might coexist multiple leaders in groups who are specialist to the function they serve.

Contingency and continuity leadership
What constitutes a successful leadership does not depend on the type of organization or any model that the leader operates. Leadership is a universal phenomenon as mentioned from Jago; "It is the same for a corporation president and for the clergyman." (316). It is universal in the meaning that the two of them have to exhibit some essential leadership traits in order to be effective. On the other hand if we consider the leadership contingency dimension different people can express different patterns of leadership depending on the circumstances. Some leaders can be very effective and others can fail depending on the features of the situation and of the group of people they are leading. The earliest contingency theory pertains to Fiedler who asserts that the contingency of group performance related to the leader is based on the following three variables: "group atmosphere, task structure, and leader's power position."citation Thus there are two important factors namely "leadership style and situational favorableness". For a leader to be effective there should be an interaction between the leader himself and the features of the place where the leader operates.(Jago 316) Meanwhile, it is important to assess the fact that a good leadership model is the one which continuous even after the leader leaves. The continuity aspect of leadership is crucial therefore in determining an effective leadership. For instance if the manager of a company leaves and as a consequence the company fails introducing an assumed new product line, that would be a reflection of 'fake' effective leadership. On the other hand if the company succeeds in introducing the new product line and achieves great revenues that shows that the formal leader was indeed an effective one.


Developing Global leaders, Paul Polmann (Unilever)
Value based Leadership, Bob Mc Donald (P&G)
Gartner, Supply Chain Top 25
Hay Group, Best Companies for leadership
Harvard Business review

Values-Based Leadership Bibliography

Authentic Leadership by Bill George
Built to Last by Jim Collins
Connections by James Burke
The Cycle of Leadership by Noel Tichy
The Dream Managerby Matthew Kelly
Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan
The Fifth Discipline by Peter Serge
Get There Early by Bob Johansen
Good to Great by Jim Collins
How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In by Jim Collins
In Extremis Leadership – Leading As If Your Life Depended On It by Tom Kolditz
Inspire – What Great Leaders Do by Lance Secretan
Leader to Leader – Enduring Insights by Frances Hesselbein and Paul Cohen
The Leader’s Companion by J. Thomas Wren
• Beyond the Charismatic Leader – Chapter 21• by David Nadler and Michael Tushman
• Cultural Constraints in Management Theories – Chapter 37• by Geert Hofstede
The Leader’s Compass by Ed Ruggero and Dennis Haley
Leaders – Strategies for Taking Charge by Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus
Leadership and the New Science by Margret Wheatley
Leadership and the One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard
The Leadership Challenge – How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations, James M. Kouzes, Barry Z. Posner
The Leadership Engine by Noel Tichy
Leadership Is An Art by Max Du Pree
Leadership Lessons from West Point by Major Doug Crandall
The Leadership Moment edited by Michael Useem
Leadership Presence by Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar
Leading Change by John Kotter
Leading with the Heart by Mike Krzyzewski
Lincoln on Leadership by Donald Philips
Managing Across Borders by Christopher Bartlett and Sumantra Ghoshal
Managing By Values by Ken Blanchard and Michael O’Connor
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
Matsushita Leadership by John Kotter
The New Capitalist Manifesto by Umair Hague
On Leadership by John Gardner
Peak Performance by Clive Gibson, Mike Pratt, Kevin Roberts, Ed Weynes
Servant Leadership by Robert Greenleaf
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
The Speed of Trust by Stephen Covey
Squirrel Inc.: A Fable of Leadership Through Storytelling by Stephen Denning
Super Corp by RosaBruce Piasecki
The Surprising Solution by John beth Moss Kanter
The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader by Maxwell
The Way of the Leader by Donald Krause
The West Point Way of Leadership by Larry Donnithorne


This website uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By continuing to use this website you are giving consent to cookies being used. To find out more, please check our terms of use.