Sunday, November 25, 2007

Police Dogs and Recruiting

By John Maver

You may very well be asking "what does that have to do with me and the issues I face in building my team as a CEO or senior executive."

A leader is judged in terms of what others do to obtain the results he is placed there to get.
Vince Lombardi

I spoke this week with Pat Duggan, a police officer who had recently got a new police dog. He explained how they find and select the dog to get the best fit and chance of success. They used to rely on high quality German Sheppard breeders and select the dogs that looked and acted the best. After about a year it became clear as to whether the dog was a good fit or if it had to be passed on to a new owner. The track record of success was about 50%.

That has all changed. “Recruits” are being brought in from Europe where they have been specifically bred as police and guard dogs. They have had at least 2 years of training and thinning out the ranks. There is a premium cost to these high potential recruits. Here, they are tested by their handlers to select the right skills, temperament, smarts and ability to be trained for the specific needs. The handlers have very specific criteria and know exactly what for what they are recruiting. Some dogs just need to be aggressive guard dogs. Others, like the police dogs, need to have the ability to rout out suspects and capture them as well as visit schools and the elderly as part of show and tell. The track record is now 90-95%.

Oh yes, since they were trained in Europe, they speak the native language of those countries so English is their second language.

So what does that have to do with me running my company successfully? A lot, it is a great lesson in recruiting. If you are going to be successful you have to have the right people in the right jobs.

Here are some lessons:
* If you aren’t going to invest in training at your company you have to be willing to pay more to get the talent. Plan and budget for it.
* You have to know specifically for what you are looking. Create tight specs.
* You can’t afford to have less than fully operational employees. Be willing to decide quickly and cut non performers loose.
* English as a second language presents some challenges if you are to mine the talents successfully. Find a “translator” process.
* Bringing in experts to coach and train increases your chances of success. Use the pros.

One last thought. I feel a lot more comfortable knowing just how good these dogs are and that the dogs will make so few mistakes. Just be careful when you pat them.

John Maver
Maver Management Group
(925) 648-7561

No comments: