Finding Comfort Zone in Recruiting Top Brass

Published: Jul 16, 2016

Author: Amit Banka

During the last two decades of association with the business ecosystem and now with Business Doctors (, working with Startups, SMEs and large corporates - I have witnessed numerous recruitment errors. I believe that as humans, errors do take place and are acceptable. But some of these errors are a function of our Comfort Zone, which can be avoided    by doing some forward thinking and scenario analysis. Ask yourself - what if...

Some common examples: Across the life cycle of a company – a start-up to a mature enterprise, some of the common errors that I have witnessed closely driven by “Comfort Zones”, “Costs” and certain “Obligations” are listed below. We hear very often that -

"I need the most trusted person for the next level that helps me reduce my work".

"Let's get this guy for now, as he is “known” and is coming at a very “good cost”, we will see in 6 months where it goes". 

"He is my friend and co-founder, how can he be asked to step down or can be asked to recruit a good second line".

Decisions, such as these, have often led to misfits, which impacts business in one or many ways. Some listed below -  

More time to train if the incumbent is not from the appropriate background.

Getting into an obligation to make an effort to let the person grow and hence accountability takes a back seat

Stretched relationships if performance is not up to the mark which in turn is driven by expectation mismatch

Most importantly, business suffers while HR management becomes stressful & the only priority

Personal problems slowly become the problem of the organisation, etc.

Such instances are not only seen in smaller outfits/ SMEs, but quite prevalent in a lot of large Indian enterprises too. Looking back at our corporate history, I could figure out some of the examples in India, including -

One of the leading IT company where the job of the top man was entrusted by turn to the co-founders, which according to me wasn’t a wise decision. Result of the same was visible within quarters with the business going south.

A few large traditional houses, as a policy, recruited top management from the same community or same family. Which changed much later, when they realised that the business is suffering.

In another case of a large enterprise, the business was sold as soon as the entrepreneur figured out that there is no able successor within the family. Wise decision, I guess!!

Time and again such examples have re-emphasized on -  it’s always, the best qualified person for the job and not the best known or trusted person.

Having said that, in today's world of high-tech façade and in the quest for high growth, we often forget to build strong foundation for the company – which is visible in many companies (“start-ups”) these days. Taking short cut is a common phenomenon - either to save cost, time or face :).

But this is changing slowly and as a part of this ecosystem, we all have to think differently, radically and long-term. So that it’s a sustainable change leading to better value creation for all stakeholders. Team selection is the most critical part of this. 

"All my views above are based on some learnings and related experiences across various engagements in past. Its not as black and white as it seems to be or presented in the note above and the note cannot be considered as-is without applying various yardsticks and evaluation criteria."

Views and Feedback welcomed... especially contrary ones!! 

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Posted In: Businesses Health Checkup



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