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Great People Decisions: Why They Matter So Much, Why They are So Hard, and How You Can Master Them

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Praise for Great People Decisions

"Fernandez-Araoz has captured the essence of building great teams with a masterful and entirely practical study of what goes into getting people selection right."

"Fernandez-Araoz does a great service with this wonderful book, teaching us how to accomplish the first task of any exceptional leader: get the right people on the bus, and into the right seats. His enduring passion, deep practical experience, and analytical methods make his approach refreshing and powerful."
--JIM COLLINS, bestselling author of Good to Great

"No matter your business or product, your service or strategy, it's all done with people. Great results only come when great people fill the right roles. In Great People Decisions, Fernandez-Araoz clears away the fog of myth and fad that has long clouded people decisions, bringing passion, sound experience, and wisdom to these all-important questions."
--DANIEL GOLEMAN, bestselling author of Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence

"Great People Decisions is a groundbreaking, myth-busting, and standard-setting work. To prepare yourself for the dramatic workforce changes that are expected in the next decade, the first thing you should do is read this book. The second thing you should do is put Fernandez-Araoz's advice into practice immediately."
--JIM KOUZES, bestselling coauthor of The Leadership Challenge and A Leader's Legacy

"Too many people say 'people are our most important assets' but then don't act on it. In this important and eloquent book, Fernandez-Araoz provides compelling evidence for why making great people decisions is essential for anyone who aspires to become a great leader or build a great company. If you follow the sage advice he offers in this book, you are sure to make great people decisions."
--NITIN NOHRIA, Senior Associate Dean of Faculty Development, Harvard Business School, and coauthor of Paths to Power and In Their Time

352 pages, Hardcover

First published May 25, 2007

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About the author

Claudio Fernández-Aráoz

14 books7 followers

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Displaying 1 - 21 of 21 reviews
Profile Image for Denis Vasilev.
631 reviews92 followers
May 28, 2017
Отличная книга по подбору менеджеров. Основные принципы, методы, что работает, что нет. Писал профессионал с широким кругозором и обширным опытом, не теоретик.
Profile Image for Vasiliy Sikorskiy.
84 reviews5 followers
December 9, 2017
Книги по найму сильных людей в команду схожи для меня с книгами по стратегии, инновациям, долгосрочному личному финансовому планированию. Они говорят: «Эй, друг! Это мегаважная задача, не забывай держать ее в фокусе постоянно». Сразу скажу - в книге нет готовых фреймворков по собеседованию, хантингу и т.д. несмотря на то, что автор мегафанатичный партнёр международной компании по подбору людей на топовые должности (EZI). Но есть хорошие выводы, которые, как правило, подкреплены статистикой. Мысль, на которой все строится: подбор правильных людей - самая значимая и ценная функция ЛЮБОГО руководителя. Чем выше, тем важнее. В начале много поясняется почему это так и почему это непросто. А далее про все шаги: воронка кандидатов, не что смотрим, как оцениваем, как интегрируем в компанию и т.д. Много интересных мыслей. Например, IQ, опыт и EI (эмоциональный интеллект) - те блоки, на которые мы смотрим. Если есть возможность «взять» только два, то EI и опыт даст сильно большую вероятность успеха, чем IQ и опыт. Самыми важными характеристиками на верхнем уровне считает результатоориентированность, командное лидерство, стратегическое мышление и «сотрудничество и влияние». Ещё из интересного: если ты увольняешь сотрудника и ждёшь дальше значимых изменений в отделе, то на замену лучше брать человека извне, а не изнутри. Автору веришь, учитывая, что в друзьях у него всякие Джимы Колинзы и Джеки Уэлчи, задушевные беседы с которыми он периодически вставляет. Первый, кстати, в очередной раз напомнил устами этой книги, что важнее «кто», чем «куда» или «что» (соберите команду, а что делать - разберётесь). А второй считает, что рекомендации это мастище , но «я не верю ни одной рекомендации, которую дал непосредственно кандидат». Я в очередной раз взгрустнул, что мы плохо выделяем компетенции при подборе людей и подумал, что подобные книги должны читать все руководители в компании.
Profile Image for Turki Younis.
57 reviews19 followers
July 9, 2015
This book is is essential for anyone taking any sort of decision about selecting employees for any sort of capacity. mainly senior position. the author is very experience in executive research as consultant in Egon Zehnder International. The boos is well balanced between theory and application, full of example from real life. i have enjoyed each chapter of it to the maximum.
3 reviews3 followers
April 23, 2008
There were a number of things that impressed me about this book. Starting with the author: He is one of the top executives at one of the best worldwide executive search firms, an in demand lecturer, and an accomplished writer with famous articles in Harvard Business Review and MIT Sloan Management Review (directly on the subject of people decisions). So he has an impressive resume, but the book makes clear that he has spent the last 20 years dedicated to becoming a world-class expert in this area. The book is backed up with many references and summaries to the best academic and industry studies, this is not just one man's war stories (although there are interesting stories to back up points) but it is instead a carefully thought out and researched framework utilizing his own extensive expertise but also that of other experts in the field. He is successful at taking a very fuzzy subject and organizing it, simplifying it, making it understandable and actionable, and even providing key "watch outs" based on his experience.

It is interesting reading with a number of interesting points made along the way. Some of my favorites include a description of how dramatic an impact a good vs. bad CEO can make on a company's performance, and as a side note he remarks that this may justify relatively high CEO pay (although he is careful to point out that it does not justify some of the outlandish packages that have been in the press in recent years). My other personal favorite was a comparison of the disciplines of personnel decisions and advertising, the later of which decades ago was also thought of as purely an "art" but over time has become more and more based on "science", and his prediction that personnel decisions will also bend to science over time. Certainly this book helps push that process along significantly.

It's hard to find any significant faults with the book. It is mostly illustrated with examples from upper management and the discussion is also focused on upper management but the author acknowledges this focus and suggests that many of the same principles apply to lower level management. The author lets slip that English is not his first language, but there is no way to tell that from his writing, which is fluent, clear, and very well organized.
19 reviews
November 26, 2020
كتاب جميل ومهم لكل من يعمل في الموارد البشرية خصوصًا في التوظيف
يأخذك الكاتب في أعماق اختيار واستقطاب المرشحين المناسبين. يتحدث كذلك عن أهمية تحديد الهدف من التوظيف وأن الاختيار السليم أحد مصادر المهمة لرب العمل والمؤسسة وأنه رأس مال يضيف للمنظومة الكثير. كما تطرق إلى صعوبة إيجاد الموظفين المميزين واستقطابهم. وقد تحدث عن أسباب تغيير الموظفين ومتى يكون الاستقطاب الخارجي أم الترقية أفضل.
كما يضع أسباب تغيير الموظفين. ويضع معاييرللكفاءة (حاصل الذكاء، والخبرة، والذكاء العاطفي، والإمكانيات الكامنة، والقيم) لتقييم المرشحين. وقد ذكر أن هناك مدرستان لتقييم المرشحين: الأوروبية والأمريكية الشمالية.
وقد وضع مراحل لدمج المدراء ومن في طبقتهم مع بيئة العمل الجديدة.
انصح كل من يعمل في التوظيف واستقطاب الكفاءات أن يقرأ هذا الكتاب..
Profile Image for Pavel Annenkov.
438 reviews113 followers
August 31, 2018
Фундаментальная книга по подбору персонала. После нее вышло еще пару интересных работ, но для меня она остается базой.
Profile Image for Omar Halabieh.
217 reviews62 followers
September 15, 2012
The book's main premise is that "Making great people decisions is a craft, and it can be taught and learned". Here are ten lessons I learned and excerpted from reading Great People Decisions:

Lesson 1: People Decisions Are Vitally Important to You and Your Organization

"If you prove to be skilled at solving "people puzzles," your career prospects will almost certainly get brighter. Conversely, if you repeatedly fail to get the right person in the job your career will suffer(...)Mastering great people decisions will do both. It will enhance and improve your personal relationships, and increase your professional satisfaction."

Lesson 2: The Success Formula

"...The formula for career success includes at least four other factors (besides luck). They are: 1) Genetics, 2) Development, 3) Career decisions, and 4) People decisions. I am convinced that these factors reinforce and build upon each other, and create a multiplier effect. I also believe these different factors have different weights in our life."

Lesson 3: People Decisions Are Hard

"Collectively, these factors help explain why making people decisions is so damnably difficult: 1) Statistical Odds 2) Difficult Assessments a) Impact of assessment errors b) Unique jobs c) Changing jobs d) Intangible traits e) Inaccessible candidates 3) Psychological Biases a) Procrastination b) Overrating capability c) Snap judgement d) branding e) Evaluating people in absolute terms f) Seeking confirmatory information g) Saving face h) Sticking with the familiar i) Emotional anchoring j) Herding 4) Wrong Incentives a) Candidate circumstances b) Political pressures."

Lesson 4: The Great Paradox

The majority of us are not equipped with the right tools to make great people decisions - "...we get little formal training in making the right people choices, both because of a lack of initial awareness about its importance and because of the false belief that this skill is not learnable. Then, when we're in a position to learn from experience, we often can't learn from experience. And to top it all off, we think we're far better at people choices than we really are(...) And great people decisions need active management. They are less like a physical infrastructure, and more like money: They achieve their true potential only if you figure out how to deploy them effectively."

Lesson 5: Knowing When a Change Is Needed

"In order to successfully implement a strategy, not only do the right leaders need to be chosen, but those leaders need to be aligned across the different hierarchical levels of an organization(...)Even when people changes are justified, it's usually very difficult to implement them...your goal should be to define your decision-making process in advance, so that it will be as disciplined and objective as possible."

Lesson 6: What to Look For

"1) Knowing what to look for is important because a) Some characteristics are better predictors of success. b) You need to focus youefforts. c) You will avoid discrimination. d) You will be faced with difficult tradeoffs among real candidates. 2) All of the following characteristics are important a) IQ (although most candidates for senior positions already have high levels b) Relevant experience, particularly for senior positions c) Emotional intelligence-based competencies, particularly for senior positions d) Potential, particularly for junior to middle-management levels e) Values, in all cases 3) A highly disciplined process must be followed a) Confirming the managerial priorities b) Identifying the key competencies required c) Clearly defining them in behavioral terms d) Agreeing on the required levels and relative weight for each key competence."

Lesson 7: Where to Look: Inside and Out

"Large companies should continually invest in succession plans and inventories of talent and key competencies. In addition, special internal and external efforts should be made for specific needs, particularly at the top. Despite the proliferation of advertising options and the promise of the Internet, direct contacts continue to be extremely powerful. Clever sourcing is both an extremely effective and efficient way to identify highly qualified real candidates. In many cases you can generate most candidates on your own. Professional help can be useful for senior positions, new jobs, when you need to cast a wide net, or for confidentiality reasons."

Lesson 8: How to Appraise People

"You can significantly increase your organizational capability in this critical area by: a) Selecting the right assessors b) Training them following proven practices c) Reviewing assessments before confirming the hiring or promotion decision d) Following up over time the results of these decisions, for individual as well as organizational feedback purposes."

Lesson 9: How to Attract and Motivate the Best People

"Best practices for attracting and motivating the best people include a) First, understanding the candidate's motivation, concerns, and alternatives b) Sharing your passion about the opportunity c) Paying competitively for the relevant market, without overdoing it d) Setting up the right incentives, with great care in their design e) Properly dealing with any special risks f) Having enough courage to do exceptional things in exceptional cases."

Lesson 10: How to Integrate the Best People

" a) Companies can do several things to support integration: 1) Being proactive at internal communication and candidate preparation 2) Properly preparing the ground within the organization 3) Closely following up the process at regular intervals, monitoring the level of organizational support, relationship building, working of the business model, and setting the stage for early wins. b) Candidates should also take charge of their successful integration: 1) Ensuring the right sponsor 2) Realizing that the integration work is harder than expected 3) Asking up front for the type of organizational support required 4) Focusing on a few key areas 5) Properly managing expectations 6) Confirming the new team 7) Spending enough personal time with all relevant stakeholders."
Profile Image for Anthony Korolev.
15 reviews
November 22, 2018
This book gives great overview of the way Egon Zehnder approaches executive selection challenge. It is not only a source of valuable insights. Author gave great number of references which shed light on the evolution of thought. It makes the book not only an interesting and valuable reading but a starting point of a journey for everyone who would like to trace the way of the extremely effective firm back to its basic premises.
Profile Image for Alvin Soh.
106 reviews
January 10, 2021
This is the best people management related book I have ever read so far.

Holistic, methodological, yet written with a soul behind that convinces people decisions are important beyond what I used to know.

A must read for every leader and aspiring leader.
Profile Image for Tal.
10 reviews
June 8, 2021
I only read a couple chapters, but it was pretty helpful
February 21, 2017
Very good tips on personal and professional development, clear strategies but applicable mostly to large organisations.
Profile Image for Ben Galbraith.
42 reviews33 followers
November 15, 2022
I discovered this book one day by perusing the bookshelf of my company's CEO, a seasoned international executive with tours of duty at some of the world's largest retail concerns. For some reason, of the hundreds of titles in his bookshelves, this is the one book that stood out to me. I'm pleased to say that it didn't disappoint.

I've struggled with hiring for most of my career. I find that my track record has been hit or miss with evaluating and predicting future performance of candidates. The book properly diagnosed problems I was experiencing, validated that they're quite common, and presented a comprehensive framework for achieving success at not only evaluating great talent, but also how to retain and properly integrate talent.

It also helped that I found the author's voice to be clear and entertaining throughout the book. He brought to the work a professional intensity that shone through without taking himself too seriously or slipping into obnoxiousness.

I recommend this book to anyone whose job involves hiring and people managing.
Profile Image for Gustavo Tavares.
17 reviews2 followers
September 27, 2013
É um bom livro que traz fundamentos e princípios muito relevantes a respeito dos processos de seleção e avaliação de pessoas. Além disto, as sugestões a respeito das definições e decisões anteriores a estas etapas são as que considero mais importantes. Entretanto no meu ponto de vista existe um ponto negativo: A perspectiva direcionada aos cargos de alta direção torna as lições muito limitadas, com pouca aplicação fora deste escopo. O que deve ser respeitado e aceito como uma escolha do autor, mas não pode ser descondiderado.
Profile Image for Leader Summaries.
375 reviews45 followers
September 8, 2014
Desde Leader Summaries recomendamos la lectura del libro Rodéate de los mejores, de Claudio Fernández-Aráoz.
Las personas interesadas en las siguientes temáticas lo encontrarán práctico y útil: recursos humanos, atraer, motivar y retener a los empleados.
En el siguiente enlace tienes el resumen del libro Rodéate de los mejores, Cómo identificar a los mejores candidatos para un puesto de responsabilidad: Rodéate de los mejores
Profile Image for Maxat.
35 reviews3 followers
June 22, 2016
Great book. Well structured book on why people are the greatest assets in your company. Highly scientific approach on estimating values of people in corporate structure. Mostly book is focused on C-level execs, however it does cover what it takes to become a great professional in the company. A bit boring and dry, but definitely worth it.
Profile Image for Stanley.
147 reviews
December 13, 2015
naucna knizka o potrebe spravnych ludi na spravnych poziciach, vyskum a zbierka informacii hodna minimalne PhD titulu, bohuzial asi 1/4 bola nic nehovoriaca vata

+ zaujimave pribehy s poucenim z praxe
Profile Image for Frank Kelly.
438 reviews25 followers
July 31, 2012
A good advisory book on finding and retaining th e best people possible for your organization.
Displaying 1 - 21 of 21 reviews

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