Rick Phelps

Synchronous Solutions

Roger joined the Zoom call with Coach Rick, right at 10 am, looking like he was in the middle of something.

“Good morning, Roger; what do you feel like expressing”? Rick asked.

“What I feel like expressing is that my Leadership Team really likes how the Labor Cap forces us to focus our resources! We had a great conversation about whether we could afford to hire additional front office help – turns out, we can, and then we had an even better discussion of whether we should, and we shouldn’t! I am really proud of my team!” Roger paused. “And that’s what I feel like expressing,” he concluded.

“Thank you, Roger! What I feel like expressing is I am excited to hear about your leadership team’s discussion and conclusions. It’s been a hectic week for me, but some of our new clients are really making strides, and that always makes me feel good! And that’s what I feel like expressing!” was Coach Rick’s response.

WIFLERoger concluded the WIFLE with “Thank you Rick.”

“Alright, Roger don’t keep me in suspense! Tell me about your Leadership Team’s discussion!”

“With some help from Bob, I was able to explain the concept of the Labor Cap to the Leadership Team. It took a while, but everyone eventually understood the logic of it. It was clear from the ‘Labor Cap – Labor Gap’ portion of the PCP [Protective Capacity Planner] that there was room to hire an additional employee. Sarah, our office manager, was really pleased, at least until Brian, our production manager, insisted we look at the Capacity section of the PCP to see if there were any processes, other than the front office, that were short on capacity in the near term.”

“What a great call! Turns out in about four months the PCP is predicting we will be getting really tight in the Template department. After much discussion, the team agreed we should first focus on expanding Templating capacity. This in turn led to further discussion of how adding a second Template person will impact $OE- OTHER, because we will have to buy and wrap a new vehicle and purchase a second laser.”

“The best part of the Labor Cap is it makes my job so much easier! I don’t have to be the referee and make all the decisions. I just turn it over to my team and make them decide!” beamed Roger.

“Which brings me to what I want your help on today. Just before the Zoom call I was looking at our most recent hiring ads, and remembering how many useless resumes I had to sort through to find someone who was actually interested in working AND was qualified. There has got to be a better way!” Roger said, waiting for my response.

“It just so happens there is a much better way! ActionCoach has developed what we call the ‘4-Hour Hiring Process’. I think you’ll like it, and I’ll send it to you as soon as our session is over.”

The right skills for the job
Coach Rick continued, “Let’s use today’s session to explore how it works and why it was designed the way it is. Would that be the best use of today’s time?” he asked.

“Absolutely! If you can keep me from wading through applicants that are not serious, that would be amazing!” responded Roger.

“Let’s start with looking at who you are hoping to hire. Talk to me about what you are looking for” said Rick.

“I guess I am looking for a measure tech who knows how to use our laser system… Someone who will show up on time, and represent us well at the customer’s home. Ultimately, I just want someone who wants to do a good job and knows what they are doing, you know?” Roger responded.

“Is this person already working or are they unemployed and looking for a job?” asked Coach Rick.

“That’s an interesting question!” Roger paused, and thought for a bit before continuing. “If they were good, I guess they would already be working, wouldn’t they?”

“They would, so how might that change the way you advertise for the position?” asked Coach Rick.

Again, Roger thought for a while. “It would change everything, wouldn’t it? We always approach hiring saying what WE want, not what a good candidate might want. If I want to poach a great employee, I better come across as a great employer…” Roger trailed off into thought.

“Exactly! And if they are not actively looking for a job, we are going to need their friends and family to help us, aren’t we?”

Roger looked puzzled. “How would we do that?”

“You are going to write such a vivid description of the person you are looking for that your ideal candidate’s friends and family will read it and think ‘that’s Uncle Bill!’ and forward the ad to him. Then the ad will describe how your business is the ideal place for him to thrive and grow,” explained Rick.

Roger was grinning, now. “Wow, that might just work!” Roger paused, then continued, “But how does that stop me from getting all the garbage resumes of people just fulfilling their unemployment requirements?”

“Simple. We create hurdles to applying that only the truly interested will bother overcoming. You let them weed themselves out!” was Rick’s answer. “It’s all in ActionCoach's ‘4-hour Hiring Process’ which I will send to you immediately after this call. You don’t want hundreds of applicant – you want just a handful of great applicants!”

“Alright, let’s look at another possibility: the possibility that there is NOT a person with the specific skills you are looking for, currently in the marketplace. This is actually the more likely case. How would you advertise for that situation?” asked Coach Rick.

A little deflated, Roger replied, “I guess like we always do: post the position and skills we are looking for, and pray the right person sees it.”

“Absolutely not! Can someone be trained to be a Measure Tech?” continued Rick.

“I suppose they can, if they have what it takes,” Roger replied.

“Of course they can! So what exactly is ‘if they have what it takes’, in this case?”

“Well, they need to be technically savvy, punctual, polite, able to be comfortable around strangers…” Rogers was looking up as he thought about it. “Able to get the details right, organized and clean.”

“That’s a great start!” interrupted Rick. “Get your leadership team together and flesh out the list of characteristics or attributes that the candidate would have. Then work with marketing to develop a version of the ad that describes that ideal candidate, so THEIR friends and family will recognize them.”

You could tell by his expression that Roger had just had a BFO, a Blinding Flash of the Obvious. “That makes so much sense! Why didn’t I think of that?”

“Because like everyone else, you recruit for skills that you want, but could actually teach, and not for the personality traits you need, but could never teach!” was the coach’s response.

Rick began to wrap up the call. “I think this will give you plenty to do before next week’s call. Why don’t you summarize your goals for working ON your business this coming week?”

“I am going to read the ‘4-Hour Hiring Process’ and then get with Ruth, my HR manager, and foreman Brian to write the description of who we are looking for, one version for an existing Measure Tech, and one for a trainee. 

“Then we will brainstorm on what we have to offer as a company, and draft our ads for you to review.”

“Good. Add your marketing person to the discussion since you are writing to ‘sell’ working for your business to your prospects. Marketing is bound to have some good ideas that will help there!”

“Great idea – I’ll do that!” responded Roger.

“Excellent. Value of today’s coaching, and number one takeaway?”

“I guess it’s another 10. My takeaway? Recruiting is just another form of Marketing! Who knew?”

With that, Roger waved goodbye and logged off of Zoom.

Contact Synchronous Solutions for more information about how our Synchronous Flow Operating System can transform your business, and to learn more about our ActionCoach Executive Business Coaching offerings.

For more information, visit their website at www.SynchronousSolutions.com .

Rick Phelps has been applying the concepts of Synchronous Flow to difficult industrial problems at dozens of businesses and organizations around the world, since the early 1980s.

In 2009, as Cleveland Cliffs’ Director of Continuous Improvement, Rick took on a failing Lean Six Sigma organization, refocused their improvement work using Synchronous Flow, and created a shop floor, engagement driven, continuous improvement process that Cliffs credits with creating a sustained $100M per year reduction in production costs.

Now, back working with Ed Hill at Synchronous Solutions, Rick is once again applying Synchronous Flow in the countertop industry, and having a blast! Rick lives with his family in the Cleveland, Ohio area.