Do Your Staff Have The Capability To Do Their Jobs?

I’ve noticed a trend.

Ten years ago, I selected the term capability as a collective noun for education, knowledge, experience, technical & behavioural competency and track record. I’ve written about this before.

The idea of focusing on scoring capability was new and a bit off the beaten track: interesting but not critical. People spoke about training and development, competencies, skills development, team building, formal education, workshops, seminars, certificates, on the job training, coaching and so on.

But no-one spoke about capability or scoring capability. Performance was scored, training was a possible outcome of a development discussion. The outcome of the training was assumed to be positive.

And we all know what assume stands for.

We have to measure performance and capability to answer a fundamental question: Do your staff have the capability to perform in their current jobs?

And in the recruitment, selection, transfer and promotion space: does this person have the required capability to perform in the role we have in mind for him or her?

The short answer is: we don’t know. We guess, we hope, we think, we estimate, we trust but we don’t measure.

Recently, I’ve noticed that capability is coming of age. From nowhere 10 years ago, the word is creeping into HR and management lexicon. I write this today because an article about tax breaks in the US mentions an increased focus on training and development, not salary increases. Interesting.

I suspect though that the investment will be disappointing while training companies make lots of cash. Why? Because the ROI for millions of training options remains subjective and unmeasured.

It’s time to measure capability per person per job and to implement focused capability development options to improve specific, job-relevant capabilities.

If you’d like to know more, please click here and I’ll contact you. All best.

Read more →
CVs & Résumés_ Get Them Right to Get the Job Infographic

CVs & Résumés: Get Them Right to Get the Job | Infographic

The first step in any job-seeking journey, CVs and resumés play a vital role in finding the right person for the right job.

For most employers, the CV/resumé will provide the very first impression of a candidate. Within moments of looking at a CV, they will know whether or not the candidate is enough of a “fit” to move on to the next stage of the hiring process. First impressions never get a second chance, so it is always valuable to put in a little extra time into reading applications.

With competition for roles so fierce these days, it is crucial that candidates invest extra time and care into their CVs and resumés to stand out from the piles of other CVs. Ayers Management have created a useful infographic which offers some great insights on why CVs get rejected, it also reveals the ten clichéd phrases that are a big no-no for recruiters.

Read the infographic and have a think about how you can tell from a CV if you have found the right person for the right job. Let us know in the comments below.


Read more →

I Was Provoked…

We live in the PC age.

How tedious is it to watch videos like this one?

Over the last 30 years, we’ve become a planet of precious and small minded people hell-bent on exerting our rights. But we’re not terribly good at taking responsibility for our actions.

Sadly, her parents decided to defend her behaviour: “She was provoked.”

I must remember that next time a taxi cuts me off. I’ll drive him off the road into a ditch. When the police arrive, I’ll indignantly shout: “He provoked me!”

It’s a dead end. I feel sorry for the young lady who threw the book at the teacher. Her self-righteous attack on the teacher will not serve her future.

Building a successful life, family and career is about discipline and routine:

  • Discipline: The habit of working in a highly disciplined way with adherence to structure, rules, regulations and time-frames.
  • Routine: the habit of behaving according to set structures and behaviour patterns.

If we are not prepared to accept our places (student, subordinate, son, daughter, learner, newbie, manager, leader, boss, parent) in different life phases, we then have to hope we have massive talent to make up for our poor discipline and refusal to knuckle down to the many daily routines that govern our lives. Whether we like them or not.

The good news (Ed – as usual …) is that we can measure these habits and evaluate their impact on a team’s performance. Let me know if you’d like to find out more.

Read more →

Here’s Some Hard Data To Tell You Who You Are

I first completed Shadowmatch 10 years ago in 2008. I had come across the tool 3 times in a week which I found extraordinary. So I called the inventor, Pieter de Villiers and asked about it. They sent me one to complete online. Something you can do for free here.

Besides measuring 19 of my habits, it also measured my task efficiency: i.e. how quickly I completed the survey and how accurately I answered 10 riddles that are contained in the survey. I scored well for accuracy and poor for speed.

I recently completed Shadowmatch again. But this time, I was more aware of my poor task efficiency from last time and so I focused on completing the task timeously. Hey presto, my task efficiency improved by 45%. How good am I!? (Ed – not that good).

But what it taught me is how much more we can get done, if we focus on our time.

time management

Naturally, there’s an app for that! A guy called Francesco Cirillo invented the Pomodoro Technique. Today, you can find all kinds of apps, clocks and timers to measure your day into 25 minute periods and 5-minute breaks to focus on the work to be done in bite-size chunks.

Of course, besides the timer, you need to develop a routine and discipline to implement the technique, 2 habits also measured by Shadowmatch.

Try Shadowmatch and tell me what you think of it. It’d be great to hear from you. It’s a powerful and useful tool to build teams that perform.

Read more →

Your Reason For Being Equals Career Success

A client of mine took a chance a while back to recruit someone who we classified as a ‘rough diamond’.

He isn’t well educated, comes from a troubled and poor background and before he joined my client had a mixed history of jobs. But, the behavioural tools I use suggested he had potential. He interviewed quite well and, given his family responsibilities, agreed he needed to ‘put foot’ in his career.

So we agreed to hire him and after 2 years of coaching, support, training and mentoring, he failed.

I don’t think he knows what he wants. Herein lies his problem and it’s not restricted to job seekers.

If you don’t know what you want, you’re unlikely to find it.

This is a common problem: we get our first jobs, we move for more money or a better boss, we move again. If we’re lucky, the moves kind of add up to a career path and somewhere in our thirties, it settles into an industry, a career ladder and a more or less successful career.

But for many people (unemployed or not), they’re never satisfied and they never introspect. They never look at their careers to date and they certainly don’t look further than a few months into the future.

We spend more time looking for a car, a holiday or a house than we do in our careers which keep most of us occupied for more or less 50% of our total daytime on earth!

Shouldn’t we spend a little more time asking ourselves crucial questions? In this respect, I like Ikigai1, a Japanese concept meaning a “reason for being”.

It asks 4 questions:

  1. What do you love doing?
  2. What are good at doing?
  3. What will make enough money for you and
  4. What does the world need? (Ed – fewer politicians)

Ikigai is the intersection of these four questions. We do well to answer them as we plan our lives and careers.


Read more →

Do Great Leaders Have Strong People Habits?

On two occasions recently, I’ve met people with strong people habits. What are people habits?

Well, firstly, what is a habit: a long, loose garment … no, not that one! A habit according to my ancient hard copy of the 1992 edition of the Oxford Dictionary (Ed – Impressive, hard copy nogal!)a habit is a settled or regular tendency or practice … that is hard to give up … a mental constitution or attitude … an automatic reaction to a specific situation.

So when people have strong people habits, they find them hard to give up, they react automatically.

According to the publishers of Shadowmatch, an excellent tool I use on a daily basis, there are 5 parts to people habits:

Frustration handling, team inclination, people positive, conflict handling and altruism.


  • You positively deal with frustrating circumstances,
  • You’re inclined to work as part of a team, rather than as an individual,
  • You build relationships with people and influence them positively,
  • You deal with conflict with a view towards to a positive outcome and
  • You do things for others without expecting much in return

You’ll be a man my son.

No, sorry Rudyard.

But you’ll take your impact on people seriously every day. You don’t like negative people outcomes. Think disciplinaries / CCMA, think management team conflict/negotiations, think corporate psychopathy, think firing people or suppliers etc. Not fun for strong people habit owners.

The problem for the manager with strong people habits is balancing the need to get things done effectively and efficiently vs the need to have a happy team/reputation.

That’s why effective leaders have more balanced people habits, balanced between task and people.
If you think you’re a strong people habits manager, be aware of this in your daily decision making. Some of your stress might be generated by trying to be all things to all people. Good managers know when to pull in the rope on the slack team member without getting wrapped up in ‘feelings’.

That’s also why very few sales, marketing, HR and service people become CEO. They’re often more emotionally engaged with customers, colleagues and suppliers.

Finance is a natural pool of talent for CEO because they understand the numbers and they’re not married to the people stuff. But they tie themselves into knots when they treat staff as a necessary evil, customer service as discretionary and supplier relations as a war of attrition with one ultimate winner.

The good news, of course, is that we can measure your managers’ people habits and evaluate their impact on organisational performance. Let me know if you’d like to find out more.

Read more →

Hiring on Experience, Firing for Behaviour

We hire for qualifications and experience and we fire for behaviour.

It’s extraordinary how often we ignore this maxim.

Think of your friends for example: how did they become friends?

  • Did you get buddy buddy with Fred because he has a BCom and 10 years of experience?
  • Do you go book clubbing with Thandi because she’s an advanced Excel user and a SixSigma Black Belt?

Probably not. You make friends on the basis that you get on with each other. This doesn’t mean you have to be personality, interest and character clones. Not at all. I have friends who are extroverted, noisy and drink too much (Ed – yes, we know who you are!). I also have friends who are thoughtful, reserved, patient and independent.

So why do we ignore this at work?

It makes sense for recruiters and people managers to sift through CVs for qualifications, experience and technical competencies. Then, after shortlisting, to have a deep and long look at behaviour and track record. If you hire, develop, promote and retain people who don’t fit their jobs and/or their teams from a behavioural point of view, you’re looking for staff turnover, frustrated teams and lower performance.

The good news, of course, is that we have the tools to measure behaviour in a simple and easy to understand format at R4,750 per person. How does that stack up against the costs of excessive turnover, dysfunctional teams, conflict and sub-optimal performance?

Let me know if you’d like to find out more. I work remotely via Zoom anywhere in the English speaking world. Just yesterday I worked in Johannesburg with a client in Cape Town on Zoom to define the performance and capability requirements for a new role in the business.

Read more →

How To Make The Best Use Of Society’s Bull Terriers

It’s possible that on Tuesday when I wrote about losing customers because you leave them in the hands of assertive, formal introverts, some of you (assertive, formal introverts) may have been offended!

So, before I’m lynched, let’s qualify my views.

Of course, assertive, formal introverts can provide service. But we’re not talking about occasionally. We’re talking about every day!

Generally, that’s tiring for assertive, formal introverts.

But here’s the thing: without assertive, formal introverts, the agreeable, informal extroverts would have nothing to do.

That’s because most products and services are invented, designed, tested, processed, produced and taken to market by … you guessed it, assertive, formal introverts.


Because assertive, formal introverts believe in themselves, focus their creativity and attention on the problem to hand which results in the invention to solve the problem. They don’t get distracted by what other people are doing. They focus for longer, they solve problems and don’t miss important details.

But once the invention is born, then the agreeable, informal extroverts get their turn in the sun: to sell, to service, to build relationships, to handle the PR, deal with difficult customers and socialise past midnight without looking at their watches.

It’s the reason so many successful businesses start with 2 people who had a dream. The dream is fulfilled through partnership. Think Bill Hewlett & Dave Packard (HP), Larry Page & Sergey Brin (Google), Steve Jobs & Steve Wozniak (Apple), Evan Williams & Biz Stone (Twitter), Bill Gates & Paul Allen (Microsoft). The list goes on: Ben & Jerry’s, eBay, Intel, Proctor & Gamble, Yahoo.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to have a partner to be successful. But complementary talents can multiply effort by 3, not 2. And having the right people in the right jobs elsewhere in the start-up multiplies the chances of success.

The good news, of course, is that we can measure all of the above. Let me know if you’d like to find out more.

Read more →

Do You Chase Customers Away Without Realising It?

I view life through the prism of behaviour and almost every day presents another chance to witness the results of the wrong person in the right job. It’s so amazingly common.

We enjoyed a cooking course a while back. We prepared the food and then enjoyed the fruit of our labour on the stoep outside with a few glasses of wine.

One of our party hadn’t booked on time but decided to come along for the ride anyway. So when we arrived, we started with drinks and snacks. Our table could comfortably seat 10 but we were only 9. Dave joined the table and, as informal extroverts often do, quickly found himself in conversation with a few people (He was careful not to eat the snacks or drink the sparkling wine!)

But our teacher for the day found out there was an ‘extra’ at our table. In true formal, rule-bound introvert style, he suggested Dave leave and go down the road to a café.

Technically, he was right. Dave was an unpaid ‘extra’ hanging around. But given the venue was not over-full, how much easier to say: “If your table doesn’t mind, would you like to join us, it’s R500 for the day?” Dave would happily have paid and, knowing Dave, he would have sung the praises of the school across Joburg! That’s what informal extroverts do.

This stuff is really simple, but if you leave your customers in the hands of (what looked like) assertive, by-the-book, introverts, you’re going to find yourselves with customers who say “Whatever!” and don’t come back.

The good news, of course, is that we can measure these things quickly.

Let me know if you’d like to find out more. For just R4,950 (USD495)* per applicant or potential promotee (Ed – no such word!), you can save hundreds of thousands in wasted salaries, training, institutional costs, management time and lost business.

* Prices subject to change and currency fluctuations. Correct as at 19 Feb 2018.
Read more →

Who Do You Hire To Serve Your Customers?

We celebrated our friends’ daughter’s 19th birthday last night at a local restaurant. Yet again the service was ordinary and slow. The traditional birthday song and gift arrived after the bill had been paid which itself took 30 mins to arrive.

A while back, we popped into an Italian restaurant in Kyalami, close to where we live and the waiter arrived, slapped the menus onto the table, simultaneously barking “What do you want?”. He over-estimated our extrasensory perception and speed as the slapping and question followed each other in quick succession.

Last Friday, we went to an Asian restaurant in Montecasino. We ordered from a disinterested waitress, the food arrived, we enjoyed the meal (nothing else) and asked for the bill. Then, unbelievably! The waitress started to pull the tablecloth and motioned for us to lift our arms up so that she could remove it – they were closing!

It seems that many restaurant managers and their staff miss the entire point of a restaurant. Yes, the food must be good but I can cook good food at home (well, think I can!). The whole point of a restaurant is to enjoy good food, great ambience, excellent service, entertaining company and … no dishwashing!
But restaurant owners mostly put the wrong people into the right jobs. People who think that their job is to serve food and clear dishes miss the essential point of Serving the Customer. Serving the Customer implies being:

  • other centred, not ego centred.
  • people positive: enjoying building relationships with people
  • altruistic: looking to give to others without an expectation of anything in return
  • able to handle conflict and frustration: when things go wrong or customers are difficult, people with this talent handle and resolve the resulting conflict without losing the plot
  • patient: restaurant work is repetitive. You need patience and to be happy with routine work to thrive house worker/manager
  • attentive to detail/respectful: remembering a customer’s name and that they love a whisky to start means you’re one up on people who can’t do that

The good news, of course, is that we can easily measure all of these things.

Contact me if you’d like to find out more about the people who serve your customers. It’s a killer advantage over competitors when you get it right.



Read more →