Yeong hired Patrick four months ago, and though he seemed a good fit with the right background, Yeong is having second thoughts. Patrick has failed to expand into new markets that were his goal, and he hasn’t addressed some performance issues in his department.

When hiring, leaders have two options:

1. Hire someone who fits the role 100%. This can be a difficult or even impossible task, even if your budget is unlimited and your hiring process is extensive.

2. Hire someone with a high degree of potential to develop into the role. If you choose the second option, there will be challenges for the leader and the new hire. It is important that both parties know up front that development is required and what that should look like over time.

performance over time

First, be clear about the thinking, behavior and results the organization needs. This is the target – the definition of success for Patrick in our example.

Next, assess regularly against a realistic trajectory (the blue line), understanding that it takes time to measure up to the target.

How much time should this development take, you ask? That is something that must be defined up front. In our example, what are the expectations for Patrick at points A, B, and the target, and over what period of time? As your employee ramps up, it’s your job as the leader to fill in the gaps – to make sure that necessary results are being achieved as this new person learns the full role.

You may want to consider formalized post-hire assessments. Your people will have a clear measurement of their progress toward success, and you’ll have a crop of new leaders, ready for the picking.

Let’s grow leaders together.

Photo from iStockphoto. Graph from Humanergy. (Yep, all by ourselves.)