Great leaders, regardless of needs, should give credence to the fact that history repeats itself. While this is important to note throughout the year, this is especially true at the start of the first quarter.

It is important to ask:

  • Did you achieve the results you were pursuing?
  • Have you reviewed the past year?
  • What worked?
  • What didn’t work?
  • What needs to be done differently?

I was the consultant for an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) where the hiring manager, desperate to fill a position and, due to poor planning on her part, wanted to hire a candidate who had a decent resume. The candidate had the requisite years of experience, education and skill-base. However, the candidate was not an absolute fit for the position or the culture of the organization.

Upon further review of the candidate’s file and interview notes, there were gaps to consider. Additionally, some of the interviewers did not think this was the best hire for the position. After thorough background checks, including drug testing and criminal checks, a couple less-than-stellar items were discovered. This included abandonment from previous jobs and credit issues (especially important because the client supplied company credit cards).

Even though most of the interviewers did not think this person was a fit and the background check was questionable, the hiring manager, desperate to hire, brought the candidate in.

When hiring, it is essential to keep in mind that people do not often change. History is often an indicator of current and future behavior.

The candidate, now new employee, was sent to conduct training for a client at an out-of-town venue. The new employee arrived two hours late without calling to notify anyone of the delay. He did not have all the materials needed for the training, was not organized and appeared to be “hung over.” To add insult to injury, the client had brought people in from many different locations throughout the country who witnessed the sad state of affairs. At the end of the day, the client asked the new employee be taken off the project and requested they never be assigned to work with the client again.

Afterwards, on the drive home, the new employee generously used the company credit card for personal expenses.

The CEO approached the hiring manager: was firing a possibility?

Not showing up on time without notification or explanation is equal to abandonment, a trait that was previously identified. The credit card abuse was also red-flagged before hiring.

There is a reason for other team members to participate in the interview process, for conducting background checks, and completing personality surveys. If one decides to make hiring decisions in a vacuum without incorporating data collected during the process, why invest the dollars and time into these activities? And, in this case, get a negative return on investment?

Albert Einstein once said that, “Expecting different results doing the same thing over and over again is the definition of insanity.”

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How many people on your team have been there for the past three – seven years or longer?
  • How many of these people do you know — deep down know — should have moved on or need to be fired?
  • Have you obtained results (less than stated expectations) in the last year that are basically the same as the prior three years (or more)?

History repeats itself! Make a difference this year and change your lineup. It’s your choice: “insanity” or creating possibility for the future.

Stuart Friedman is president of Progressive Management Associates. He guides organizations through cultural shifts, getting people aligned to strategic outcomes. Reach Stuart via email: