How Great Managers Hire: Fit, Role and Relationship

Dear Manager,
How do you recruit, interview, select and hire (RISH)?

You have a position to fill, and I assume you’ve done your prep work well: You have seized the opportunity at hand to re-evaluate the vacancy completely, whether adding to your team or replacing someone. You’ve played devil’s advocate, asking yourself why you need to hire, and why this particular job is mission/vision/cause-critical: The job is worthy (it’s important) and worthwhile (it’s desirable).

All of that defines the job at hand, but it doesn’t necessarily describe the job-holder. Not completely. When Alaka‘i Managers select someone and hire them, they’ll be hiring for fit, role and relationship.

Hire for the future, not for the past

In my early days of being a manager, I would conduct hiring interviews as most rookies do. I’d look over their job application or resume as the candidate sat in front of me, and I’d ask whatever clarifying questions came to mind, without understanding my first mistake — hiring from their point of reference instead of mine.

It wasn’t until a considerable amount of trial and error, selecting three poor gut-choices as my interview questions for every shot-in-the-dark fortuitous one, that I realized something that would forever change my approach: The fine details of a person’s past experience was not as important to me as the likelihood of what they would do going forward, having the benefit of retaining that experience.

What had they learned, and what would they now do with their most valuable lessons? What would they do with me, and with the job I offered them? How could I imagine the job getting further defined with their personality and character (their Aloha), their signature Ho‘ohanohano distinction, their ideas and probable growth (‘Imi ola)?

Within my interview process I had been filling in the blanks of a candidate’s past. What I eventually learned to do instead, was fill in the blanks of their most probable future, a future I would have a role in. [For more in that regard, read The Role of the Manager Reconstructed].

When the interview was over, there was really only one question I needed to have an answer for: If I hired this person, what was I getting myself into as their manager?

Try This - 1
Try This - 1 by Lululemon Athletica on Flickr

Would this person be self-managed? Would they be a star, comfortable in their own skin, yet eager for more learning, and possible change? Was this person ready for leadership in whatever circumstance the world would place them in, or would I as their manager be required to work with them in their self-leadership arrival process — and if so, to what degree?

Could I feel their energy? Would we constantly be forging a partnership we were likely to both flourish in?

Most managers learn these lessons eventually, but RISH is one of those areas in which you really want to speed up the learning, for mistakes are costly. Trial and error is a lousy way to learn how to hire. So reflect on your own hiring process, and if you manage other hiring managers, have the talk story to help them prepare well, and make better hiring decisions:

  • What is FIT all about in this particular position? We’ll often cover teaming concerns when we first answer the FIT question, but what about values? Values will be the primary behavior drivers.
  • What will be the ROLE of the person you hire, and what then, will your ROLE be as their Alaka‘i Manager?
  • What is the RELATIONSHIP you are expecting to have between you, and how will it evolve in the time they are part of our workplace culture? Will you both be open to welcoming change when it must happen? Will this be a person you will constantly look forward to having conversations with, eagerly giving them your Daily Five Minutes?

Then before you make your final decision and get ready to extend a job offer, ask those same questions of the candidate, restating each to frame their expectations. Do they demonstrate a commitment to deliver on your shared expectations?

When all is said and done, it will be their job, not yours.

Aloha! Just joining us?

Talking Story is the blog home of those who are learning to be Alaka‘i Managers — those committed to managing and leading with Aloha. Read a preview of the book which inspired this movement, and visit our About Page.

Talking Story with Rosa Say

Mea Ho‘okipa Live Their Aloha Every Day

Talking Story has given me pure joy over the last month when I think about our Ho‘ohana Community. This was our eleventh forum on these pages and our twelfth one when I count A Love Affair with Books this past March on Joyful Jubilant Learning, and one might think that I have over-extended my welcome with you, and that you would start to ignore my requests to participate, especially with so many other forums to choose from as the blog-scape has grown. Not so.

You are stars. Your writing improves with every new entry, and beyond the pure BEing of the Mea Ho‘okipa you are, you dazzle me with your talent and your insight!
You give ideas freely, you open yourself to conversation about them, and you support each other author-to-author with such intuitive empathy.

Know this: Your aloha spirit gets evermore enriched with the warmth of lokomaika‘i, the generosity that comes from good heart. I hope you feel this too; that you have received while giving.

There are times I think I could continue writing about the values of our lives forever, and this is one of them. They ARE universal, and they DO shape our lives because of the way they have shaped our CHOICES. Yet every day it becomes much clearer to me that I will never be able to learn all there is to learn about them in my lifetime —even those values which I am most passionate about.

These forums illustrate something for me that I say to my coaching clients and the managers and leaders I mentor over and over again, without a care about the possibility they may be tired of hearing it from me: We learn best from other people.

When others lay out their welcome mat, willing to share their experiences with you, stuff your pockets (and your head) with every shred of humility you have, and take off your shoes so your bare feet can feel each thread of that welcome mat. Open up your spirit and listen well, for another’s willingness to teach you their life-lessons-learned is the greatest gift they can give.

Mahalo nui loa. From my learner’s heart and the aloha of my soul’s spirit, my deepest gratitude to the very talented and giving authors and Mea Ho‘okipa who wrote for us this month. You are KÅ«puna, my respected teachers.

Remember that these authors are your neighbors in our Ho‘ohana Community, and in this, my recap listing for our essays on Ho‘okipa, the value of hospitality, I have linked both their articles here and the sites at which they normally write so that you may visit them often. I know they have their welcome mats waiting for you there too.

So remember, step onto them with bare feet!

Our learning about Ho‘okipa:

Ho’okipa Via The United States Postal Service by Deb Estep, author of Deb Inside.

NEVER, EVER let anyone tell you that snail mail is a thing of the past. It’s almost as if the paper of the card or letter is ~charged~ with the Spirit of Ho’okipa. From your hand and heart, to the receiver’s hand and heart. A most powerful thing indeed!

Build Energy then Go Where the Energy Is by Lisa Haneberg, author of Management Craft, 2 Weeks 2 A Breakthrough, and Essay a Smile.

I just came back from a 40 day, 9,400 mile motorcycle book tour. I
visited 34 states and connected with thousands of people. Long trips
are great for helping us see patterns and insights we might otherwise

Hospitality: Our Gatherings Seek to Meet a Need and Our Gatherings Nudge Us Toward Collaboration, both by Reg Adkins, author of Elemental Truths, Hero of the Week, and Faith Based Counseling.

Well guided gatherings have the following characteristics of hospitality … A good meeting host knows the aspect of a meeting which embodies the feeling of professional hospitality.

Successful hosts guide discussions to involve all viewpoints and make sure group members know they have open-door access.

The Mingwe (Mingo) native peoples of the Appalachian mountains had a
wonderful method for insuring every member of the group had an
opportunity to participate in meetings and yet no one individual could
monopolize the attention.

When matters were of significant importance to require a meeting of
the group the host (usually the eldest member of the group) would begin
the discussion by holding a symbol of attention (the talking stick).

Hospitality: The Key to Peace on Earth by Maria Palma, author of Customers Are Always, and The Good Life.

As I sit here and reflect on what hospitality means to me, I start to
wonder how much better the world would be if each and every one of us
was taught hospitality at a young age.  What if it were a class like
English or Math?  Do you think the business world would be different?

Ho’okipa: A Mother’s Love by Dave Rothacker, author of Rothacker Reviews and Radioback.

She was dog tired.  Worked nine hours, picked up Jen and Liz from
day care, stopped by the grocery store, got home and made dinner,
cleaned up and gave the kids a bath.  The kids weren’t ready for bed so
she read a little Dr. Suess to them. She heard the words coming from her mouth, but her mind began to drift…

Dissecting Hospitality and The Business End of Southern Hospitality by April Groves, author of My Beautiful Chaos and Making Life Work for You.

Hospitality is an idea. Ho’okipa is a series of events. A manner of
treatment. A dedication to excellence. Take a new look at an old
practice with fresh eyes.

Living in the South, the word "hospitality" gets used a lot. It is a
badge of honor to be considered a good provider of "Southern
Hospitality" in your home. This comes in the form of cold tea, hot
biscuits, a good meal, and warm pie. You would never be rude to company
– maybe family, but never company. A covered plate to take home would
always be offered. Don’t mind about returning the plate – you can keep
it. Wonderful friendships are formed in these circumstances.

Writer, reader, place: writing with ho’okipa by Joanna Young, author of Coaching Wizardry and Confident Writing.

Hospitality has to start with ourselves.  …That ho’okipa
is about knowing who you are and where you’ve come from.  And more than
that it’s about respect and love for the place where you find
yourselves.  That means creating a sense of  place: helping people to
understand and love the place they are visiting, that sense of being at
home. It’s about knowing (and loving) the place that you’ve come from.
And it’s about respecting and sustaining the environment that has
brought us together, has brought us here.

Hospitality is more than façades by Dwayne Melancon, author of Genuine Curiosity.

You walk into a hotel, and it has a terrific lobby – clean, comfortable, well-kept, and inviting. So far, so good. You walk up to the check-in desk for the next layer of hospitality
opportunities. This is your first opportunity to see the hotel’s true
colors …

No Requests Required by Carolyn Manning, author of Thoughts & Philosophies and Productivity Goal.

When Rosa first brought up the subject of hospitality, I thought it
would be an easy topic to cover.  After all, we’re surrounded with all
manner of hospitality in our lives.  Ah, but therein lay the rub,  It’s
almost too much subject for one subject.

After some thought, though, the filament in the mental lightbulb vibrated to warmth and the brightest word was "surrounded".

Hospitality: It feels like home, by Phil Gerbyshak, author of Make it Great! and becoming widely known as The Relationship Geek.

I thought first of organizations that don’t make me feel like home. … Then, I thought of the organizations I give up more too. They often
have a personal cry for help, make real connections with me, and I know
a few of the others in the group. Occasionally when I see my friends
that are involved, we mention the group, their mission, if it’s still
worth our time, and usually we agree it is, so I’ll go to a fundraiser
and give a bit more of my talent, treasure, and time.

Be worth copying by Rebecca Thomas, author of Rebecca Thomas Designs.

I was flabbergasted. As far as I knew, we’d just sat there, processed people in to the event, snacked, chatted, and generally had fun while we worked. I asked her what specifically she would be stealing, and she said it was all about my organization and the spirit I cultivated around the gate by including food and encouraging people to come visit and entertain us. By doing so little, I’d made the gate crew, the first people seen at the event, a lively, efficient bunch. Sometimes, providing good service is as simple as taking care of those who are supposed to be providing the service.


Maria Palma brought us an added treat: Welcome to the Customer Service Carnivale! with the ho’okipa generosity of eight more authors.

  1. Matt Hanson presented Building Visibility with Promotional Umbrellas posted at Matt’s Creative Advertising Blog.
  2. Jason Rakowski presented CRM Software posted at Learn Good Customer Service.
  3. Meikah Delid presented CustServ: Customer Relations: The New Competitive Edge posted at CustServ: Customer Relations.
  4. Charles H. Green presented Soliciting Customer Service Feedback: Motives Matter posted at Trust Matters.
  5. Kate Baggott presented A Child-Friendly Restaurant for Grown Ups posted at Babylune.
  6. Carolyn Manning presented Business Productivity Has Responsibilities posted at ProductivityGoal.
  7. Robyn McMaster presented Hospitality Stirs Serotonin posted at Brain Based Biz, and
  8. Service Untitled presented Does Customer Service Come Naturally To You?

My own writing for you this month:

  • Make Sunday your Day to Comment. If Sunday commenting became your new practice, you would learn and gain much enrichment from our month within hospitality.

My last link for you is that for Rapid Fire Learning on Joyful Jubilant Learning this month: Keep in mind that you can learn with us there in the welcoming arms of 19 contributing authors — and still counting! See Dean Boyer’s August Challenge.

BE Mea Ho‘okipa. Aloha.

I WILL ask again! Our next Ho‘ohana Community Forum will be on Joyful Jubilant Learning through-out the month of September. If you want to be sure you are sent an invitation to contribute there, let me know!

Do you really need more convincing? Try these, all found at Joyful Jubilant Learning:

  1. Learning through Blog Forums
  2. Writing, Blogging, Business, and Learning Through it All
  3. Write to Learn; Slow, Steady, Sure

Hospitality: It feels like home

When Rosa announced she was making Ho’okipa, the Hospitality of Complete Giving her theme for the month, I knew I had to get involved. After all, Rosa’s Ho’ikipa is why I love to hang out at Talking Story; Rosa shares her hospitality and makes her blog feel like her home.

I thought first of organizations that don’t make me feel like home. The ones who, after I sign up and or give a donation, put me on their anonymous mailing list that they send out quarterly and otherwise don’t connect with me, unless they want more money or for me to volunteer for one of their fund raisers. Not very hospitable in my opinion, and thus they get very little of my time, talent and treasure, except for maybe once a year when I’m feeling generous (or is it obligated) and I send them a check for a few bucks to re-affirm my interest in being part of their “community,” which is a community in their minds only.

Then, I thought of the organizations I give up more too. They often have a personal cry for help, make real connections with me, and I know a few of the others in the group. Occasionally when I see my friends that are involved, we mention the group, their mission, if it’s still worth our time, and usually we agree it is, so I’ll go to a fundraiser and give a bit more of my talent, treasure, and time.

Lastly, I was thinking, are there any organizations that give me true hospitality? Are there any organizations where I feel like a part of the family, not just a community of givers? And I thought of 1 organization that I gladly give my time as often as I can, my talents, by speaking at their chapter events around the country even though I have to take a day off work to do so, and my money, as I usually barely cover expenses with my speaking engagements and often don’t ask to be reimbursed for all the expenses that are involved to be the local chapter president.

This amazing organization is HDI, leading IT service and support. As an IT Help Desk Manager, it could be very easy to get beat down and feel completely alone, as in each company, there’s usually at MOST 1 person holding the position I do, and some companies don’t even have a formal titled leader, they just have the team report up to some manager who, as part of his/her responsibilities, includes making sure all the metrics for the team are complete and that they’re squeezing all the value out of the desk that they can.

So how does HDI do it? How do they create a Ho’okipa with an organization of IT service and support professionals? I’ll share 4 great ways they do it for me:

Continue Reading

The Business End of Southern Hospitality

Living in the South, the word "hospitality" gets used a lot. It is a badge of honor to be considered a good provider of "Southern Hospitality" in your home. This comes in the form of cold tea, hot biscuits, a good meal, and warm pie. You would never be rude to company – maybe family, but never company. A covered plate to take home would always be offered. Don’t mind about returning the plate – you can keep it.

Wonderful friendships are formed in these circumstances. Conversation is lively, trust is established, and support is made available. Children, while rowdy, are well mannered. Adults, while opinionated, are respectful.

These life lessons learned have translated beautifully into my everyday business practices.

  • My reputation as a real estate agent that conducts business with ho’okipa is my main priority. I consider it the greatest compliment for a client to say my service "must be that Southern Hospitality."
  • Respect for others is a necessity. Really can’t elaborate on that. It just is.
  • It is important to give the client "a little something extra." If you are in a profession like mine, you know that there are others out there that can do what you do. Why should a client chose to 1) do business with you 2) continue to business with or 3) refer you to others? Because you did something special to make them feel special. Scott Ginsberg does an excellent job of brainstorming some phenom ideas.
  • Your clients would like to get to know you. They want to know that you, likewise, are interested in them. Conversation is important – have it! Talk with your client, not at them. You will find that the entire relationship goes smoother because you have taken the time to truly understand them and build trust.
  • Everybody benefits from good manners. These are simple common practices that say, with actions, "I respect you."
  • We don’t have to agree with everyone, but there is a way not to disagree. My mom always taught us, "You can say whatever it is you want to say, as long as you remember who you are saying it to." Clients come to us for direction. Sometimes that requires some education on things that are being done wrong. Be honest, but you can be constructive within the spirit of ho’okipa.

Creating a business practice centered on ho’okipa is not only an effective way to grow your client roster, but it is a display of personal character – and the world would benefit from a little more of that.

About our Guest Author: April writes both My Beautiful Chaos and Making Life Work for You, a blog written for her real estate business. Her southern hospitality is very much in evidence on them both!

This is the second article that April has generously written for our Talking Story community forum on Ho‘okipa, the Hospitality of Complete Giving. Her first was called Dissecting Hospitality.

~ Rosa