Great reference to Jim Collins’ Good to Great. Couldn’t agree more. Get the right people on the bus, and get them in the right seats on the bus.
By Major General Michael J. Diamond, US Army (retired), author of The Diamond Process
Regardless of what side of the aisle you sit on, from a professional organizational leadership standpoint, we are seeing an ambitious new way to run a transition process. President-elect Trump and his transition team have established some precedents that soon will set a new standard for future transitions. And, American organizations should sit up and take notice of how these processes may apply to their own company.
Three big reasons are evident to be the basis for the strong Trump Team hiring decisions: the hiring process supports a strategic objective for the organization; they are using an approach I have labeled the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSA) method; and candidates fit the ‘new culture’.
That’s right, top leaders in any organization share one major responsibility which is prevalent in this transition process and that is making sound decisions. In order to make effective and sound decisions, leaders should have in place a process for decision making which I like to call a Decision Support System (DSS). It is apparent that Mr. Trump has set a strategic organizational objective [read VISION] to build a good DSS and is using his hiring process for his cabinet and advisors to support that objective, which he has stated as “Make America Great Again.”
It is obvious that we see candidates being screened based on their ability to have used sound judgment under stressful conditions yet performed successfully. We see that with Rex Tillerson from Exxon Mobil in building that company into a global giant and many of the others who have steered their organizations through difficult times on the way to success. Mr. Trump is obviously selecting people that know what right looks like but also know what success looks like as well.
Secondly, his screening process seems to be using a KSA methodology where his transition team is looking for specific knowledge, skills and abilities needed to achieve the vision of “Making America Great Again.” The knowledge required is quite extensive but it must be apparent that strategic knowledge is paramount in the organization they are being considered for. Skills must be proven under fire in successful endeavors. But there seems to be more emphasis placed on the abilities part of the equation for the candidates to grow into the position to meet the vision of tomorrow.
They are following Jim Collins’ strong suggestion to “get the right people on the bus.” KSAs are at the heart of most successful organizations and their leaders must be at the center of driving this process that starts with their top team members.
Some of the KSAs that seem to be prevalent in the hires are: Defense requiring a deep understanding of impacts of combat along with how to lead that effort; State being able to return the US to their previous leadership role and projecting global presence through an aggressive foreign policy; and Homeland Security possessing extensive strategic global counterterrorism experience.
Thirdly, candidates fit the culture of the organization. Mr. Trump is outspoken, not afraid to speak out with what he feels, questions the status quo, looks for what right looks like. Candidates are being screened for these cultural traits as well. He is certainly not looking for any ‘yes people’ as evidenced by his considering many of his campaign opponents [Perry, Carson, et al] as well as naysayers [Romney].
Moreover, some of his selections are critics of organizations they about to lead [Sessions, Pruitt, et al] or have been crossed with some of the policies [Mattis, Flynn] of the previous administration. If nothing else, he and we should expect some very lively discussions with these top-level leaders/advisors. He/we should expect all to speak what they feel is right and stick to their guns.
So, how does this relate to your organization and how you lead. One must first learn that in order to lead an organization, you must get the organization “right”. That means getting everyone toting the load in the same direction contributing toward the same key drivers: Mission, Vision, Goals. Streamlining processes and out of date policies to achieve efficiencies. Properly resourcing these efficient processes to achieve the key drivers. Balance these three components of any organization for long term success.
We see many pieces of this complex puzzle coming together with TEAM Trump. It appears to be a good start to organizational success.
Mike Diamond is a retired Army Major General and is CEO for Diamond Strategy Group. His Diamond Process Model is presented in a book he has co-authored with his son Chris Harding that is being released in April, 2017. You can learn more about the book and this model by visiting their web site: diamondstrategygroup.com.
Major General Michael J. Diamond, US Army (retired) served a combined 35 years on active duty and in the Reserves. He brings this wealth of experience in military, manufacturing, retail, consulting, IT and many other sectors to help improve performance in organizations. His new book, The Diamond Process: How to Fix Your Organization and Effectively Lead People, co-authored by his son, Capt. Christopher R. Harding, presents the Diamond Process Model referenced above. The book will be available in April 2017 on DiamondStrategyGroup.com, Amazon and other fine booksellers. For more information, visit DiamondStrategyGroup.com.