In the first article, we focused on defining the two categories of work-related pressures (Positionally Created Stresses / Man Made Fears). We finished the piece by showing you the steps needed to uncover the positional pressures of a particular role, which ultimately gives you a robust list.

Well In article 2, we're going to prioritize that list. This will allow you to concentrate on the areas that are most crucial to this position's success. And to do that, we're going to start with the Positionally Created Stresses.

The Setup

You've put in the effort to create a list of stresses this hire may face, and now it's time to make the list work for you. This can be achieved by creating a simple chart, where the vertical line represents the frequency of an event, and the horizontal line represents the segment of the business most impacted by the outcome of the event.

To give you something to reference, here's what my ranges look like...

Positionally Created Stresses - Deciding What to Focus On

After building this graph, take your list of Positionally Created Stresses and plot them accordingly. Once organized, you can realistically see which task(s) carry the greatest burden. I recommend selecting...

  • 4 to 5 of the most impactful situations (affects the most people)
  • 2 or 3 tasks that are strictly going to impact this hire's role (positional)

This gives you a solid 6 to 8 pressure points that you can focus on during the screening process. If several pressure points are close, you should choose the options that occur most frequently.

Now it's important you don't completely forget about the remainder of the list, as they can be used as a tiebreaker between several excellent candidates.
Side Note: If you find a great person, but they're lacking in an area or two, you don't have to discard them. Look to see if you have systems in place that can help them get over the hurdle. You never want to throw away talent just because it's not fully developed. This, of course, is a gut call. Just make sure it's not costing more to train this individual than what it's worth.

Man Made Fears - Deciding What to Focus On

Once the top Positionally Created Stresses are uncovered, it's time to determine which Man Made Fears are most crucial. To do this, you have to break down your list of Man Made Fears into two categories - Task Related Angst and Speculative Anxiety Points.

Task Related Angst is any Man Made Fear that's attached to a responsibility. An example would be, public speaking for positions that require the hire to make product presentations to clients. On the other hand, Speculative Anxiety Points can't be tied to any specific task at all. An example would be someone's fear of no upward mobility (larger salary, higher ranking title, etc.).
Task Related Angst
Of the two, Task Related Angst will be the easiest to determine. You simply place these pressure points next to their corresponding Positionally Created Stressor on the graph you just created. So for example, public speaking would be placed next to the Positionally Created Stress, product presentations.
Side Note: I understand this takes up a lot of space, so I recommend using a white board for these initially, and then transcribing to a savable document. This is easily done as you can transform everything into a bullet list with sub-bullets. This is valuable as you can easily correct mistakes (underestimations of a pressure point) and use it as a template for similar positions. I also take picture of the white board in case I need a visual aid.
After plotting these Task Related Angst, I recommend focusing on the ones that...

  • are attached to the 3 - 5 most frequently done tasks (Regardless of population impacted)
  • repeats across several tasks (Public Speaking - Client Meetings, Annual Reports, Trade Shows)
  • connect to your top 3 Positionally Created Stresses

The order of this list, is how you should be prioritizing these pressure points. The scenarios that occur again and again are going to take the biggest toll on a person's psyche. You need someone that can mentally stand up to these situations day in and day out. Next, you have Task Related Angst that maybe less frequent but show up in many different tasks. This naturally impacts several assignment, and the many people involved. This is equally true for the pressure points connected to the top 3 Positionally Created Stresses.

Once prioritized, you can develop processes to screen candidates, such as using specifically asked behavioral questions. As I said in part 1, Man Made Fears are the hardest to correct. If you can identify someone who stresses in this situations, prior to hiring them, you've saved the company money, the hiring team headaches, and that person a lot of anxiety. That's the value in doing all of this.
Speculative Anxiety Points
Speculative Anixety Points are not tied to any 1 task. In fact, they're mostly connected to the future. Will I get a raise? What happens if I get injured? What will a merger mean for my position? Innately, these are difficult to identify. People are also in different stages in life, so they care about different things. I was once a young millennial, who cared about time off. Now I'm focused on healthcare for my family. So how do you prioritize this list? How do we know what's going to matter to this hire?

The unfortunate reality is, you're never going to know what's going to matter to the hire. Positions can be filled by people from all different situations at any age, which makes it impossible to predict the Speculative Anxiety Points they'll have. Because of this you need to take your list, and rank them in order of hardest for the company to resolve to the easiest. This gives you lines in the sand that you know you cannot cross. Ultimately, this helps both you and the candidates in the long run, since these are some of the main reasons a person leaves a company.

The good thing about this list is that you only have to make one. You can use this across roles, as these are universal from position to position, regardless of rank. When new policies come into place or more funds are allocated, you can quickly update this list and rearrange accordingly.

Now, despite being difficult to predict, there are methods that can help you discover which Speculative Anxiety Points your company can resolve or is willing to resolve. One of the most powerful procedures is defining your culture. This helps because not all situations can be solved with financial backing. Your company may simply refuse based on certain beliefs. Knowing your culture will make that clear.

If you're prepping for an open position, I would recommend creating a Positional Profile, and a Candidate Persona. This can give you insight into potential Speculative Anxiety Points that are going to affect the new hire.

Suggested Follow-ups:

Article By: Tom Kieley

About the Author

Tom is the creator of Fulfillingly. He absolutely enjoys giving people the tips and tools they need to find a satisfying career or dependable employee. Tom does
this by combining years of experience with incredible outside sources.

Twitter  Twitter

No comments:

Post a Comment