The two great passions in my life (not counting my family of course) are human resources and horses. And while it’s hard to imagine that these two topics could have anything in common, you might be surprised to find, as a business leader, you can learn a lot from a horse.

No matter what your passion is with horses: roping, cutting, showing, or trail riding, you have to know what job you want the horse to perform, the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) needed to perform the job successfully, where to find the right one, and the criteria you’ll use to evaluate both the technical skills and cultural “fit” necessary to succeed. Then you have to actually find and purchase the best horse you can afford that meets your criteria.

As with horses, in any organization you have to attain the best talent (human capital) you can afford that has the KSAs and “fit” needed to succeed. Talent in any organization can be an asset or a liability; thus the talent acquisition process is critical.

The talent acquisition process:

The talent acquisition process, like the horse buying process, begins long before you start considering potential candidates.  If you rush into it and acquire the wrong talent for the job needed or a cultural misfit, it can be life – or career – threatening.

Acquiring the right person (or horse) for the job is a leader’s $1,000,000 decision; hire the right person for the position and you have a real asset in the organization – but hire the wrong person and you have a serious liability – both in terms of financial success and employee engagement.  Yet most leaders spend precious little time and effort securing the right talent for the needs of the organization.

What’s your most unforgettable moment acquiring talent for your organization’s success?

Horse-ism: Selection is critical to success!