Are You a Coach or a Tyrant?


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to lead others and how this gets measured in the interview process.

Two recent things have caused me to really ponder this issue about leading/managing/coaching a group of people.

First, I am high school girls basketball coach. In my first 5-6 years of coaching at the high school level I obtained mediocre results. The last couple of years, I’ve obtained extraordinary results. The quality of the kids coming into our program is no different in the last few years that it was 5-6 years ago.

So, if player quality is essentially the same, what’s the factor that accounts for the performance difference. I believe it’s my understanding of how to coach a high performing team. How do I extract a level of results from a team or group that exceeds their individual capability – the SUM is greater than the individual parts? It took me 5-6 years to get to that place.

Layered on top of those epiphanies of how to lead high performing teams comes a burning desire to “sharpen the saw” as Steven Covey called it when he wrote his book on the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. I am a life-long passionate learner. I can’t go to enough workshops, seminars, conferences about leading and coaching. I can’t read enough books, blogs, and magazine articles about leadership.

My current leadership focus is on teaching mental toughness. I just finished the book Jay Bilas, the ESPN commentator, wrote on the same subject. I am continually watching, observing, and documenting what other coaches and leaders do. I reading everything I can on resilience, ability to overcome obstacles and challenges, and handle criticism and negativity. I want to MASTER the process of teaching my team mental toughness. I’ve actually put a plan together of how I’m going to teach mental toughness to me team this coming season.

Completely different perspective: My son is taking an AP World History class in high school. We’ve been having lots of discussions about leadership styles since reading about all the failures of dictators and autocratic rulers. Suddenly, it set me to thinking about all the CEOs and “C” level executives I’ve worked with over the past 30 years. What’s their dominant style: are they passive, dictatorial, or coaches of outstanding teams? I have found a specialist who is helping people take practical steps to make positive changes in work and personal life at

Take these two divergent areas of thought, and I’m re-thinking: how do we measure great leaders of teams in the interview process? What do the very best leaders DO that the average and mediocre leaders DON’T do? How can translate that understanding into specific interview questions that yield strong, quantifiable, rich, detailed, and specific examples?

I’ll be sharing some of these personal observations –  from the basketball court to the executive suite – over the course of the next few months.

Here’s what I would like to hear from the readers of our blog:

When was the last time you became deeply introspective about your style of leadership?

How much time do you spend “sharpening the saw” for your own capability and impact? What grade would you give yourself in the leadership department?

What’s the ONE thing you could be better at as a leader – more importantly, what are you doing about it?

Your capability to hire and retain a great team is directly correlated to your capability as a leader. Average leadership capability yields an average team.

Let’s work together in the framework of this blog to wrap our arms around the issue of measuring “real leadership” in the interview process.

Barry Deutsch

How Small Companies Can Compete Against Larger Companies For Talent

Q. We are a small growing company. How do we compete for talent with larger companies, since we can't pay as much as they do?

In my search practice I have placed people in small and large companies. The main issue is rarely compensation. In fact, if that is the primary issue then you will never win, as there is always some company willing to pay more, and that goes for large companies too.

First off, should you even be competing against large companies for talent? Their culture, resources, support, systems and budgets often will not align with a small company. That isn't to say never, but often, so you might be searching in the wrong pool for candidates.

Secondly, especially in this economy, money isn’t everything. Candidates today are seeking much more than just compensation. The are seeking stability, work-life balance and a company where they feel they can make an impact. Smaller companies tend to have a lot less bureaucracy, there is hard work but it's a fun place to work, there is a personal touch where everyone knows everyone, it's a growing company with an exciting vision for the future and so much more. It has been my experience that smaller companies don't think about these things when hiring. They go right to compensation, when for many candidates these things have a value or trade off to compensation. Granted, there is a fair compensation for every position and person, but once that level is met other things come into play.

Finally, don't ignore the seasoned workforce. I constantly hear about how age discrimination is happening. Many of these people would be outstanding employees and bring a level of expertise no younger worker could bring and also do it for a very reasonable compensation package. This workforce is underutilized in today's market by many smaller companies.

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, “You're NOT The Person I Hired.”  Just CLICK HERE  and you can download our free eBook under the FREE Hiring Resources section.

Retaining your best talent is always the best thing any company can do. Download our FREE  Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognitions Matrix. It will help you retain your best people without additional compensation. CLICK HERE to download under the Free Resources section.

I welcome your comments and feedback.

Brad Remillard


Should Human Resources Be Responsible For Hiring?

In many companies the answer to this question is, “Yes.” I believe that this is the wrong answer. HR may be accountable for  hiring and working with managers to provide candidates, but responsibility for hiring is not HR's. Especially since the vast majority of companies don't even have an HR function so what would they do if HR is responsible for hiring?

The only person in the company responsible for hiring is the CEO. They are responsible for everything that happens in the company. Remember back to management 101A in college, you can delegate authority but you can't delegate responsibility. The CEO can't delegate the responsibility for hiring in the company to HR or anyone else. Since hiring often fails, many CEOs want to blame HR, but the CEO needs to take responsibility for the failures.

If the CEO decides that their company will be known for the best quality products in the industry, what happens to quality? If the CEO decides that customer service will be the best in the industry, what happens to customer service? If the CEO decides hiring top talent is critical to the company's success, what happens with hiring?

Too often when I speak with CEOs they just accept hiring failure. They give many different reasons from we can’t afford top talent to we just can't find good people. However, they wouldn't do this for quality or customer service. The fact is companies don't have to accept poor hiring. All they need to do is the same thing they would do to improve quality or customer service; define hiring standards, develop an effective process, train people, re-enforce the standards and hold people accountable. Obviously the first three steps are the keys to successful hiring.

The CEO needs to step up and make sure that there is an effective hiring process in place and that competent and well trained people are using the process. Then hold managers and HR accountable to a standard of performance, just like they do with any process in their organization.

Hiring responsibility belongs with the CEO. Once they decide that hiring failure will not be tolerated and put a process and well trained people in place, then they can delegate the authority to HR for managing the hiring process.

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, “You're NOT The Person I Hired.”  Just CLICK HERE for your FREE eBook.

Download this free assessment of your company's hiring process to see if your company will attract top talent.

I welcome  your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard

What Have You Done to Develop Your Team?

Are you developing a team of motivated, engaged, happy, satisfied, and stimulated direct reports?

Lack of training, development, and growth is one of the primary reasons your best talent might walk out the door on you sooner than you think!

Last week I presented to a group of CEOs who were shocked that I was suggesting they spend any time with their direct reports talking about development, training, engagement, satisfaction, intellectual stimulation, desires, hopes, and dreams. They considered that “HR Talk” and felt it would be “below” them to have to engage in a “career aspiration-type” dialogue.

I can guarantee that these CEOs are in for a rude surprise in the near future when some of the talent they depend on most – start to leave. Once a few start to leave, the rest fall like dominos, and word gets out on the street that your company (YOU)  does not develop, groom, and prepare people for bigger challenges.


What Does Top Talent Expect?

Are you focused on developing your team – is this idea constantly bubbling up into your thoughts, OR are you praying that since everyone shows up for work everyday, they must enjoy their job? Don’t be lulled to sleep by false impressions.

Contrary to popular opinion, just showing up does not mean contented cows, engaged employees, and satisfaction levels that are the envy of your competitors.

Top talent expects to be continuously trained. They expect to be given challenging assignments that stretch them to the next level. They want to come to work to be stimulated, intellectually turned on, pushed to excel, and forced to do their very best work to high standards.

When they are not being trained, developed, and given projects that add to their skill and knowledge level, they’ll start taking calls about other job opportunities from their friends, former business associates, and recruiters. Worst case, they’ll proactively go on-line to the major job boards and start seeking out opportunities.


The LIB Curve of Employee Motivation

My partner, Brad Remillard, wrote a job post, which you might title “Those Darn Recruiters”. Many companies try to impose elaborate schemes and security measures to prevent recruiters from talking to their employees. Unfortunately, Brad and I have never been able to recruit a candidate who was happy and content in their current job.

You know that a large part of being happy and content is being trained, developed, and challenged with higher level work. This is really basic Abraham Maslow concepts from decades ago. What’s surprising to me – is that most companies and executives VIOLATE on a daily basis the basic concepts of employee satisfaction, engagement, and happiness (Maslow termed a big part of that satisfaction: Self-Actualization).

If you’ve seen Brad or I present our workshop titled either “You’re NOT the Person I Hired” or “You’re the Person I want to KEEP”, then you know we use a model of employee satisfaction called the LIB Curve – which is a variation of Maslow's Self-Actualization. Feel free to check out some of our previous articles on the LIB Curve of Employee Motivation.

Basic Common Sense in Generating Smiles

Do You Inspire Others to Self-Motivate?

Why You Should Measure Self-Motivation

Here’s the key question: Do you know where every single one of your direct reports sits on the LIB curve? Are they at +8, –12, or flat-lined? If you don’t know where each one sits and where they want to be, perhaps it’s time to put your “career mentor” hat on and have a serious heart-to-heart with your direct report about their current and desired level of learning, impact, and becoming something better (LIB).

OR would it be better to wait until they come into your office and tell you they are planning on giving their 2 week notice?

When you walk in the office tomorrow, what’s the first thing you’ll start doing to develop your team?

Barry Deutsch

P.S. Download our Internet Radio Show Podcast on Non-Monetary Reward and Recognition where we discuss the internal processes required to inspire your staff to self-motivate, to engage and stimulate your top talent, and to retain your best performers.

Your Current Team Might NOT be the Right Team

Is your current team that got you to this point the same team that can take you to the next level?

In working with thousands of companies over the last two decades, I’ve discovered a limiting factor for most entrepreneurial-to-middle market companies:


The team that got you to one place may not be the team to get you to the next place.


A team that is incapable of taking you to where you desire to go – is a team that acts like a glass ceiling – limiting your opportunities, compounding your problems, and preventing you from “breaking through” to the next level (I was watching a Doors documentary the other day and the catch-phrases keep turning over in my mind).

If you have a typical team of 5-7 direct reports, perhaps 2-3 are incapable of delivering the results required to achieve your vision, strategy, or expectations. This pulls the entire team down to a lower level. Since everyone’s work is inter-related, the success of your team is collective – not individualistic.

The result is that you’re now 2-3 years further behind from where you wanted to be at this stage, and your slipping backwards at an increasing rate.

So, why haven’t you done anything about your team’s inability to get you the results you require?

We’ve touched on some of the reasons in a few of my past blog articles, such as:


When Did Accepting Mediocre Performance Become the New Normal?

Are You Playing the Game of Let’s Give it Another 30 Days?

Are You Over-Paid?


There’s a fundamental problem in recognizing whether or not your team is the right team to get you to the next level.

Most of the time, the CEO, Key Executive, or Manager has not defined for their subordinate the performance or success required in the job. Therefore, unless the subordinate is a complete idiot, you have NO way of discerning: Do I have the right person on  my team?

If you’ve had the opportunity to see Brad or I present our award-winning workshop, “You’re NOT the Person I Hired,” then you know the correct solution can be found in being able to craft a SUCCESS FACTOR SNAPSHOT (SFS) that directly links back to business goals. Without a SFS, you’re like a rudderless ship at sea.

The SFS gives you the roadmap, guideline, and measurement tool to keep individuals and teams on track toward achieving your desired results.

You can download a few SFS examples from our website by clicking here.

Are you prepared to discover whether you’ve got the right people on the bus as Jim Collins terms it in Good to Great? What’s holding you back from preparing Success Factor Snapshots defining expected results for each member of your team?

Barry Deutsch

P.S. You can also put together a draft of your Success Factors for either a new role or an existing position, and we’ll be happy to conduct a complimentary review.