Great People Decisions by Claudio Fernández-Aráoz

This was the first book I read in 2019, finished on January 15. I thought it was great and one that I learned a lot from. I always admire the people that spend years upon years to develop expertise in a specialized area.

The book first focused on failure and reasons that people don’t work out well within organizations. I thought this was a great way to begin the book as most people should be able to relate in some way. Along with the four reasons that he shared, I enjoyed the detail and key things to look for, especially as I intend to have my own company at some point in the future.

Here are the four causes behind executive failure:

1. Flawed executive mindsets, including a distorted perception of reality
2. Delusional attitudes
3. Breakdown in communication systems needed to convey urgent information
4. Personal attributes including deficiencies in leadership

Everyone wants the best people, don’t they? But, an expert in the field of people management and executive search, Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, shares perspectives on hiring best practices

4 of the most important traps/reasons why getting and keeping the best people is so hard:
1. The odds are against you
2. Assessing people for complex positions is inherently difficult
3. Powerful psychological biases impair the decision-making process
4. Misplaced incentives and conflicts of interest can easily sabotage these decisions

One thing that I thought was interesting that many many hiring managers do not practice was what Fernández-Aráoz shared about confirmation bias. Most managers seem to look for reasons to either hire or not hire someone near the beginning of the interview. He writes,

“To assess candidates in depth, try to disprove your conclusions.”

To add to that, he shared the mindset that we should have when working with people and seeking people who might fit well into an organization.

Think about what the person could contribute to the job as well as what could destroy that person within the job

Something else that stood out to me was in the realm of training. People are often thrown into positions in today’s world and might be forced to sink and learn to swim on the fly. Here’s the strategy that Fernández-Aráoz recommended and shared:

3 wave phenomenon, stages of learning and action
1. Taking hold stage, after diagnosis implement a series of changes usually corrective action
2. Immersion stage, acquires greater knowledge
3: Reshaping stage, involves more profound and strategic changes 
Consolidation stage which comes as an outcome

I learned about managers and working them into the culture. Here’s what Fernández-Aráoz shared about working new managers, especially high-level managers:

Integrating a new high-level manager
1. Come up with explicit mandate for new CEO
2. Spend time with CEO to teach them culture in an intentional way
3. Spend time with other members of the team
4. Review successful examples of integration
5. Develop plan to give feedback 
6. Agree on realistic timetable
7. Develop way to score early wins

In conclusion, here is the basis of the entire book,

“The right people come up with the right strategy
The right strategy without the right people is doomed”

I gave this book a 3.5/5

To read this book, get it here

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