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Monday, 5th April 2010

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As you probably know, there are people in all walks of life who are the greasy pigs.  They have an amazing ability to slip away and not be held accountable.  They say they will do something and then when accountability time arrives, they are gone or looking at someone else to blame.  Often these representatives will say their responsibility is a mistaken perception in others.  It can be confusing working with them because of the forceful conviction they’ve done their job the whole time. The more there’s doubt of what they were supposed to do the more power this person has.

So what does Donald do to weed these people out?  He forms testing grounds where conflict is almost eminent.  The difference between the audition at the beginning of the process is these latter small projects are more in depth and intense, looking further into how the individuals perform.  These small projects will help you know who are the greasy pigs, especially since Donald makes sure the task is due in an impossibly short amount of time.  This puts the pressure cooker on to see if people can remain high functioning, calm, and productive, thus proving their skills and capability for bigger jobs.

Through giving these project management assignments, Donald is able to put his Guerilla Fighters on assignment to be his eyes and ears collecting information on both the subtle and not so subtle.  Through these exercises people reveal true character.  For example Rebecca (season 4): she broke her ankle on an ice skating event and on the heels of that volunteered to be project manger, taking her team to a victory by doing everything necessary and accepting responsibility when things failed, proving she could handle herself well under pressure.  This contrasted nicely with Brent (season 5) or Jim (season 4) or Clay (season 4) who became raving control freaks the moment they came into a position of power and yet blamed others when things didn’t turn out.

We can apply this to our people selection, making sure before we commit we have hard core experience with how they operate when things count.  One simple way to do this is to suddenly change the time of the job interview and sit back to see what they do.  Another way is to give an unexpected assignment with almost impossible deadlines (with the business world the way it is this shouldn’t be hard).  A third possibility is to create a subcommittee and put the people you are considering on the team.  Give these people a challenging but short assignment then watch how well they perform and take responsibility.  They will reveal themselves.

Further Investigation Due to Political Weather

The third stage Donald engages in after weeding out the show horses and slippery pigs is to discover the cunning foxes.  These individuals shift when the individual doesn’t just change what he says, but changes what he is depending on the political weather.  This is how they try to manipulate their agenda.

This type becomes exposed when the political weather is tumultuous, brewing, and everything seems to be a stake.  A perfect example of this was seen in some of the last episodes in season 5 where Allie and Roxanne, best friends went to the board room.  It seemed that one of them had to be eliminated.  They fought to remain on the show.  At the end both girls set aside their friendship and tore each other apart.  Donald was so disgusted he fired both of them on the spot.

Donald was able to reveal from these tense situations the true loyalties that these individuals had.  So how do we create similar test grounds for people we are thinking about hiring to a big position or people we are considering promoting to an important position?  There are many possibilities.  Hiring a workshop leader that puts these potentials through exercises that reveal people’s nature.  One idea is to have the potential team member play a game specifically designed to show peoples’ loyalties.  Another possibility is to create a task that the success of it would put friends on opposing ends then sit back and watch.  Let the political weather uncover who the individuals really are.

Pay close attention to people’s behavior, especially when they are under stress or feel like they are being attacked.  If the person shows disloyalty or willingness to do other things that lack character, think about what Donald Trump does and dismiss them.  He takes no chances with shaky behavior and if you want a strong company neither will you.

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