The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.
—Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Vital to the success of every executive hire is a crystal-clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the job, as well as the physical work environment in which the job will be fulfilled. While Michael and I were there primarily to vet the job description we'd been provided with, line-by-line, we also wanted to tour the plant and meet some of the staff as we had in Los Angeles. It's absolutely critical to thoroughly understand the opportunity you're selling if you want to attract the best people, because candidates are tired of being “pitched.”
The visit to Milwaukee did not disappoint us. It was clear Fred ran a tight ship. The buildings, from the factory floor to executive offices, were neat and tidy, clean and well organized. Touring the factory floor with Fred was a real lesson in employee engagement. Fred stopped and spoke with dozens of employees we crossed paths with. He was sincere and interested in what was happening in their lives—inquiring about little Suzie's softball game or John's college graduation. Little wonder the plant's turnover was near zero and they had a long list of people waiting to join as older workers began to retire.
It was clear to us that whomever we recruited would have very large shoes to fill. Not only did they need to understand the machinery as well as Fred, but would also need to be as approachable and as personable. ...