Q: How can I assess if my potential new hires are good at “getting things done?”

A better way to ask this question would be, “What are effective ways to assess if someone is good at ‘getting things done’ and at what cost?”

By “cost” I mean this: If you’re looking to hire someone with a high drive to get things accomplished, then you also need to know the cost of that drive. What kind of cost? It will show up in one of three areas. You can get a sense of which area(s) by asking yourself this question:

“If this person has a high drive to produce results (Producing force), then does he or she also…

1) Overlook the details, order, and structure in getting things done (Stabilizing force)? That is, is the work accomplished but filled with errors and sloppiness? It’s hard to get it done fast and at the same time, get it done right.

2) Overlook the creative opportunities in getting things done (Innovating force)? There’s a difference between lazy and entrepreneurial lazy. It’s hard to be both heads down cranking things out and heads up, looking around for the breakthrough idea at the same time.

3) Overlook the implications to the rest of the team (Unifying force) in getting things done. Are you hiring someone who works so hard to get it done that they can’t relate to or coordinate well with others on the rest of the team?

Everything has a cost. Your job in making the right new hire is to understand what style you need for the job function and to maximize the gains and mitigate the costs of that style. There is no superman or superhire that can be all things at all times. So just be aware of the cost in what you’re hiring upfront and design around it.

Now when it comes to interviewing someone for high drive, it’s pretty easy to do. I’ll explain it below but you’ll get an immediate sense of it using this free 15 second style assessment.

1) Does this person tend to think, speak, and act more quickly or more methodically? What you’ll notice is that people with higher drive tend to lean towards being more quick, fast, and to the point in their thoughts, words, and actions.

2) Does this person tend to focus on getting things accomplished or creating new ideas? What you’ll notice is that people with a higher drive to execute on the work at hand focus their energies there more than finding creative ideas. Those who tend to prefer to find creative new ideas can absolutely show great bursts of productivity but can quickly get bored with the status quo.

Other characteristics of a person with a high drive to produce results include the fact that they take a linear and structured approach to problem solving, they focus on the short run demands more than the long range needs, they value themselves and others based on how hard they work, they abhor meetings that aren’t about solving an immediate pain point, and they can often be poor delegators (for the simple reason that they value themselves on how much work they can produce themselves).

Caveats: each of us is a mix of four primary styles and I’m speaking of a person who demonstrates a really high need to “get things done” at the expense of the other styles. The bottom line is that a highly effective team, or a highly effective person, is surrounded by complementary styles.

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About Lex Sisney

Lex Sisney is an expert at creating breakthroughs in individuals and organizations. He's grown from co-founder and CEO of the world's largest affiliate marketing company to follow his passion as CEO Coach to the world's next generation of expansion-stage companies.