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Vol. #10, Issue#103
May 2018
See how my harrowing 'adventure' on a sunny spring weekend morning in the North Georgia Mountains ties to what NOT to do when hiring. Laugh at our folly, but DON'T let our mistakes be your mistakes!

It all started so innocently... The mountain air was fresh and our tummies full, after a scrumptious and leisurely breakfast at the Dillard House Restaurant. Melissa and I were headed out to meet our husbands at the Wanna Go Fast Heaven's Landing ½ Mile Shootout.

They'd left at the crack of dawn to attend the Drivers Meeting for this event, where 2,000 spectators and 125 cars (our husband's included) would zoom down Heaven's Landing Airport's 5069 ft. airport runway, hitting record speeds up to 200 MPH.
Heavens Landing - Location for the Wanna Go Fast Event

Melissa and I were pleased with ourselves. We'd avoided the early morning trek to the track, we'd relaxed over breakfast, we had our Kindles, lawn chairs, snacks and sun hats packed, our guys were happy 'doing their thing' and all we had to do is get there and relax.

We approached our transportation for the day,  Melissa's husband's HUGE Ford 350 XLT Super Duty King Ranch Turbo Diesel Pick Up Truck. It was ginormous and loud, and Melissa is petite and soft-spoken. Seeing her in the driver's seat was like putting a toddler at the wheel. Cute, curious and out of place. We both could have used a stepladder to get in it! 

Our Transportation for the day!
Melissa shared that she was nervous about driving this beast. Even though I'm terrible with directions, I assured her that I'd be her navigator and that we'd be fine.  (Note - don't listen to me when I say things like this!)

Neither one of us had the directions. Somehow in our 'vacation mindset' we'd never nailed down exactly how to get to Heaven's Landing.  Melissa tapped her Find My Friends App on her iPhone, a GPS App that allows you to easily locate friends and family, and with it we were able to pinpoint where her husband was and the directions were promptly mapped out for us.

Off we went, confident that we'd be there safely in no time.

We knew something seemed a little off when our directions from the App said to take a left onto a graveled, twisted and curvy road.  We double-checked the App to make that it would get us to our final destination, and assured ourselves that it must be right.  It LOOKED like we would end up in the right place, but it FELT all wrong.

We were so focused on navigating that beast of a truck up the steep mountain and around hairpin curves, we suspended the early warning signs - that we might not be on the right path.   

Then, all of sudden...WHOA! There was a BIG drop off down the mountain to our left. Because it scared us, we put blinders on and kept going. We half-halfheartedly told ourselves that the gravel road did appear to be going up the mountain and that we were probably were on track.

Then, the terrain got rougher and the gravel became dirt.  The "road" got so narrow that the truck barely fit.  As we took the next hairpin curve and crossed a creek - we knew we were in trouble.  We saw a dirt 'driveway' to our right with a painted piece of plywood nailed to a tree indicating that someone's shack was at the end, though we couldn't see it.   As we started to panic, we finally decided to try to turn around in that dirt 'driveway'.

As Melissa turned the Beast into the 'drive', the right side tires started to sink in the wet dirt - spinning and sliding toward a two foot drop off  - into the creek bed below.

Then she tried to back up. The hitch on the tailgate dug into the earthen wall behind us.  She turned the wheel and tried to move forward again, the right front tire dug deeper and inched closer toward the drop off. 

As my heart raced, Melissa began to hyperventilate. She put the truck in Park. We sat there in shock.

Finally I hopped out to examine the situation, Melissa was so upset she could not move.  As I walked around the truck, I could see that we were definitely stuck. And, we were in the middle of nowhere - this was not where we thought we were going. I concluded that anything we tried at that point was only going to make things worse.  

The good news was that we were okay and that the truck was not damaged, yet. I grabbed my phone and called my husband to come get us. He was worried, got directions and hurriedly drove to the rescue.  (He's always great, especially in a crisis!)

As we waited for his arrival we calmed our nerves by getting small boulders to place under and around the sinking right front tire - hoping to create some traction for when help arrived.   As we were doing this, in between the spooky quiet you find in the middle of nowhere, we thought we heard a familiar sound off in the distance.  We both looked at each other at the same time and said,  "It sound like cars, that are racing..."

I jogged up 100 yards above us.  Off in the distance, blocked by a very tall fence, was our destination: Heaven's Landing!  It was not accessible from where we were, but it was there.

The App had provided directions by way of an abandoned road that at one time did take you to our destination.   We were close, but we were never going to get there from where we were.  We were using the wrong map.

Eventually my husband arrived.  He saved the day by getting us turned around and down the mountain without incident.  We were actually laughing once we got back to safety.  Whew.  But not before we reminded ourselves how important it is to:
  • Have the right map.
  • Pay attention to the things that feel/seem/look wrong.
  • Remove blinders, do not suspend early suspicions.

How about you? As a Hiring Manager interviewing candidates - have you ever done some of the things what we did - like hiring someone whose "map" (their background and interview) looked good and sounded good, but they turned out to be a poor fit?  Have you ever felt like something was "off" during the interview, but because you couldn't pinpoint the concern you put blinders on and just plowed ahead anyway, and later on regretted it?  Have you ever gotten close to hiring great candidates but ended up on the outside looking in, as they accepted a quicker, better offer from one of your competitors?

I think every hiring manager has made some of these mistakes, at least once.

But, if you have a good hiring process (the right map to guide you) that you and your interview team follow closely, you can almost always avoid these problems and ensure that you never again "end up in the middle of somewhere that was not where you thought you were going."  

We got lost and almost went off the mountain because we didn't have the right map, didn't act when it felt wrong and we put on blinders because we just wanted to get there!  Don't make our mistakes when you're hiring!

Hiring Resources to Help You:
- Suzie's Book: How to Hire Superior Performers: 70 Best Practices, Strategies and Tips
-Five Hiring Process-Related Wake Up Eager Workforce Podcasts
-Hiring Manager Workshop:  Dodge the Duds, Pick the Winners The Secret To Superior Performance
- Assessment: How Our Patented Hiring Superior Performance Assessment Process Works
The Wake Up Eager Workforce Podcast 
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This Month - An Inspiring Video - Want It All! 
This inspiring two minute video - Want It All! - is about the hustle, confidence and focus high performers must have. In the film a young kid with big ambitions sees his future play out before his eyes. From the neighborhood streets to the NBA court, he wants it all. Watch the film to see what happens. 

And, while you're watching, think about how much time you take to align with (see/know/visualize) your work as a Leader. 

Do you have a clear picture on where you want to end up - in everything you do?  For example how clear are you about your team's direction, your hiring process and work projects?  Watch Now.

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