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The Cure for the Management Migraine

by Mark Deavall - November 2011

Just this morning I was sitting with a client chatting through the management challenges that he experiences in his company. I don’t have to tell you the long list of problems that he brought to the table – you have them all every day too. They were all related to people management!

As we were talking I found it curious that this is the same discussion that I had had with this manager last year and the year before. Probably even the year before that as well! And on reflection, whenever I speak one on one with managers, these same problems rear their heads. And this, year after year!

So it seems that a client of mine was right a few years ago when he said, “if it wasn’t that I have to employ people in the business, it would be quite fun to work here!” what a sad lament, that the very activity that is meant to make our lives as managers easier, is in fact the very activity that makes our lives more difficult. And stressful too!

So while we were talking and my mind was wandering down memory lane, this client says to me, “Mark, I find it very interesting that in just about every article that you have written and every course that you give, you stress the importance of employing the right people in the first place. What am I doing wrong?” I said to him “John, you have a strategy for just about every single thing in this business. But what is your recruiting strategy? Do you have one?”

“Recruiting strategy? Sure we have. We know how many people we are going to need where at any time, we have a succession plan in place, and we make sure that we keep the talent pipeline full.” “So where do you think is the problem?” I asked. John shrugged his shoulders and said “I’m not sure but we must be doing something wrong!”

Well that’s the bit that John had right – they were doing something wrong. They just didn’t know what it was. So John and I decided to take an afternoon and try to “unpick” this problem and find what was causing it.

This is what we found:

1)      Recruiting is one of the most expensive and strategically sensitive activities in any company. The cost of recruiting the wrong person is huge and the cost of placing the wrong person in the wrong position is even higher!

2)      We are in a hurry to fill a position. Recruit hastily, repent expensively.

3)      Line managers are not directly involved in the recruiting process and decisions, and if they are they are inadequately trained in how to run the recruiting process as well as interviewing skills.

4)      We don’t have a clear understanding of what it is that the prospective employee is going to be expected to do. The job of debtor’s clerk for example will be different from one company to the next.

5)      We tend to employ people because we like them. The “like factor” should be one of the reasons to appoint a person. Not the whole reason.

6)      We employ people that have competence, but we ignore, or pay scant attention to the qualities that they would bring to the job and workplace. Competence tells us the person can do the job. Qualities tell us how well the person will do the job.

7)      We don’t pay enough attention to the use of reference checks as a means of short listing potential candidates.

8)      We don’t have a properly constructed interview process with questions designed to uncover the candidate’s strengths, weaknesses, abilities, qualities and ambitions. 

When one employs the right people, the vast majority of the “Management Migraines” don’t even surface. Then managers can get on with what they are supposed to do – reach productivity targets through their people. 

So a well-developed recruitment strategy and process goes a long way to relieving the “Management Migraines” that we as managers so often experience. Take the time to develop this strategy and process. The dividends that you will reap are priceless. 

When we start the new year we are going to find people resigning and moving on to other places of employment. We have to replace them! Best we learn the skills now, in order to be well armed when we have to employ these new people.

I trust that you have found benefit in this article. If you would like to contact me or have me talk to the people in your company, please call me on 27 11 609-1264, or e-mail me

This article is protected by international copyright law. If you would like to copy this article for any reason, please be sure to copy the entire article including this line.

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