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It's Not the How or the What But the Who Hardcover – 16 Jun 2014
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"Best Business Book of the Year: Executive Self Improvement" -- strategy+business magazine Rajesh Magow, CEO-India and co-founder of MakeMytrip.com names It's Not the How or the What but the Who his favorite book. -- Mid-Day (India) "Few people know more about global leadership than Claudio Fernandez-Araoz." -- Diane Brady, Bloomberg Businessweek "A must read..." -- The Times of India "...a recommended pick for any who would enter the global market." -- Midwest Book Review "An essential read for anyone involved in the hiring of staff." -- Business Traveller (businesstraveller.com) "... practical advice on how to systematically select and develop the right people. Readers will gain surprising insight into their own biases, and learn how to overcome them to accurately assess the skills and potential of others." -- TD magazine (Association for Talent Development) "This is an outstanding book, entertaining and informative in equal parts. I highly recommend it to anyone who is responsible for personnel decisions." -- Leading Business Books Blog (leadingbusinessbooks.com) ADVANCE PRAISE for It's Not the How or the What but the Who: Jim Collins, bestselling author, Good to Great-- "Claudio Fernandez-Araoz has vast experience, deep knowledge, and profound wisdom on perhaps the most vital question facing any enterprise: how to get the right people on the bus and into the key seats. Anyone who strives to lead from good to great would do well to grow by delving into Claudio's work, for he is a true master." Angela Ahrendts, former CEO, Burberry; Senior Vice President, Apple Retail-- "A brilliant perspective into 'the fourth era of people decisions' for all companies striving to keep pace with this rapidly changing, increasingly complex world. Finally, a focus on hiring for insatiable curiosity and the insight to see connections, all to achieve collective greatness. Thank you, Claudio, for enlightening the business world about how great companies are built and transformed, and how they remain at the forefront of society." Daniel Goleman, bestselling author, Emotional Intelligence-- "People decisions are some of the most difficult, yet most consequential choices managers make. It's Not the How or the What but the Who has engaging, practical, and evidence-based wisdom that will help anyone with this essential task. Claudio Fernandez-Araoz offers up a rich collection of his penetrating insights; I can think of no one more qualified to advise us. This is a truly outstanding guidebook, offering every manager sound direction on what to do Monday morning." Jong-Yong Yun, former CEO, Samsung Electronics-- "There is an old Asian adage about '(great) people being everything.' Fernandez-Araoz's book is elegantly written with penetrating analysis and meticulous detail. A significant book on how to execute on great people decisions--extremely relevant for thoughtful executives and CEOs." Herminia Ibarra, The Cora Chaired Professor of Leadership and Learning, INSEAD-- "In this extraordinary book Fernandez-Araoz expertly marshals his vast experience, palpable passion, and a wealth of important research to explain what's really required to get and groom the best talent. Whether hiring a new team member, composing a board, or even selecting the next Pope, anyone whose success depends on making better people choices (and that's all of us!) must read this book."
About the Author
Claudio Fernandez-Araoz is a senior adviser at leading executive search firm Egon Zehnder and a former member of its global executive committee. He holds an MBA from Stanford and has previously worked for McKinsey & Company. He is a global expert on hiring and promotion decisions and leadership development, and a frequent speaker at major business gatherings. His advice has been sought by the CEOs of several of the world's largest companies and many governments. Fernandez-Araoz is a regular lecturer at Harvard Business School, a frequent contributor to HBR.org, and the author of Great People Decisions: Why They Matter So Much, Why They Are So Hard, and How You Can Master Them (2007).
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Interviews are not about asking clever questions. They are all about the skill of the interviewer to look for insights and predictors of behavior in the answers and avoid the cognitive biases that all of us have. For instance it is easy to mistake good articulation as confidence. In an interview, the smooth talkers often dazzle the panel and skid past the people who may be more capable of delivering results. In Don’t Hire The Best”, I found that understanding the personality of the candidate allows us to discover the best person to do the job, but also the person who will be the happiest in firm’s culture.
Claudio Fernández-Aráoz does exactly this for a living. This former McKinsey consultant joined Egon Zehnder in 1986, the search firm that helps companies hire people for leadership roles. Claudio teaches at Harvard, has spoken at the World Economic Forum and is the author of two fabulous books on hiring. Seven years back he wrote Great People Decisions – a must read book if you want to get insights from someone who enjoys teaching people how to hire right.
Seven years later, Claudio is back with a book called It’s Not the How or the What but the Who which I found even more helpful. There are questions in the book that make you pause and think.
“If you were building your company from ground up, what percentage of people would you rehire?”
Most people say that at four out of ten should be replaced. So why don’t we do just that? Blame it on procrastination, loss aversion and compassion. It is not just external hires where we get it wrong, we simply do not work equally hard to evaluate insiders. Even the timing of the interview matters. We make better people decisions in the morning when we our energy is not depleted. The book is loaded with research based insights you can easily implement to improve your hiring decisions.
For example, “Is it better to promote home grown leaders or to hire from outside?”
“… look for opportunities to promote your top internal candidates while also benchmarking against high-quality external ones.”
What is a predictor of talent? Claudio speaks of four factors that show potential as a person who continuously demonstrates curiosity, insight, engagement and the determination to not give up. The insights are built through anecdotes and then summarized.
“In my twenty-eight years as an executive search consultant working across all major industries in more than forty countries, I’ve discovered that the key to outstanding performance and fulfilment – in both work and life – is the ability to surround oneself with outstanding people.” That’s just this book is about. Recommended reading for everyone who believes that hiring is the most important decision they take.
What did I not like about the book? The title could have been shorter and more creatively written than to call it It’s Not the How or the What but the Who: Succeed by Surrounding Yourself with the Best. That’s hard to remember but the lessons in the book are precious.
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