Posts tagged ‘entrepreneur’
Sometimes someone in a group email discussion says something so well, you have to wonder why they haven’t been blogging about it. Mark Talaba, blogger at Talabesian-Coordinates had this to contribute on the issue of experience as an indicator in hiring decisions:
“Some people – in the process of acquiring experience – have made lot of other people miserable, and have caused teams to underperform. Such persons may yet have a ‘history of success’ – but as success can arise from many factors, not the least of which is a team’s ability to perform despite handicaps, even successful exploits are not a reliable indicator.
“One real tragedy of making “experience” a primary indicator in hiring decisions is that, during the past 20 years, there has been such fluidity in the job market that some really bad team players have had the opportunity to turn a series of short-term jobs (which used to be a red flag) into an enticing story of “broad-based experience.” (A good topic for some investigative reporting!)
“As the concept of Coherent Human Infrastructure takes root, and as organizations come to realize that Coherence and Role are the ‘missing pieces’ of the Quality-of-Hire/Talent Management puzzle, I believe that demand for a pre-hire assessment of ‘teaming characteristics’ will grow exponentially.”
I have to agree. It’s pretty well known in entrepreneur circles that many of the CEOs who’ve failed in that job a few times are more desirable recruits than the virgins, at least to less Coherent VCs. In contrast, the interns, collectively, have virtually no experience. It’s their teaming and their Coherency that make them so amazingly productive. (Another episode of The Intern Diaries will be here shortly…)
Another amazing week with the Super Six. Watching them become a subculture is fascinating. They work intensely on their own, then pair off, then they cluster. They draw each other in and something wonderful happens. You can see the attachments as if they were drawn in the air above their heads. And because they are all so very Coherent (such a special quality, we have begun to capitalize it,) this crazy entrepreneurial world we inhabit doesn’t faze them, even when we are approaching warp speed.
After only two weeks, during which the first five were oriented, given assignments, put through our standard four hour consultant/agent training, and let loose, we asked them to present their projects at our weekly management meeting. (Our sixth, only being with us for two days operated the technology – they integrated her into their subculture right away!) And present they did, PowerPoints and all.
So what did I learn from them this week?
Most of the time, Role trumps age and experience.
In plain English, who you are is more important than what you’ve done. Yes, I did know that in the intellectual sense. But it never ceases to amaze me, and amazement is the substrate within which you get new appreciation. You no longer just know. You *know*.
I think about ‘keeping the beat’ a lot these days. It’s at the top of the Founder’s job description when the enterprise gets to the point where there is so much activity that someone needs to keep it pointed toward the far off Vision. It’s like trying to sing three parts at the same time – theoretically impossible, but when it somehow works, quite magnificent.
So it was a special treat last night to hear Steve Goodman (by day, Morgan Lewis’s guru to emerging growth companies and, earlier that evening, speaker on board governance at Entrepreneurs Forum of Greater Philadelphia) play the kind of jazz piano that I can only hear in my head but not reproduce with my hands. Even more interesting was his ‘conversation’ with other players, chiefly the string bass.
In a solo, the music is in the spaces between the notes. But in a combo, it is in the energy – the negotiation – of the time and space between the players. Not unlike the difference between working yourself and working on a team.
I have no doubt that the timing in his legal negotiations is likewise impeccable.
As a coda to the conference on women entrepreneurs, last night there was a gathering at the Innovation Center in Philadelphia to hear the results of a survey on the same subject. I was still on a roll from the previous day, which was a flashback to my first consciousness-raising group in the early 70′s.
As I went on about finding alternative ways to do business when you get blocked, Gloria Rabinowitz, the managing director of Golden Seeds in Philadelphia, an angel venture group that supports women entrepreneurs, said to me “I like your ‘take no prisoners’ attitude.”
So I have to ask myself, why do I not take prisoners? Are women expected to? I haven’t ever been accused of ‘emotional blackmail’ but I guess that would be the equivalent of prisoner-taking.
So here it is, the whole truth, albeit according to me:
If you take prisoners, you take on burdens and distractions.
You will become the imprisoned one.
And my simple advice, whether you are an entrepreneur or not:
Take No Prisoners.
I’m thinking about tomorrow’s event at Fox School of Business (Temple University) – Where are the Women Entrepreneurs? I’ll be on the first panel and will doubtless be expected to come up with some sage advice for the young women there.
Since this is an academic environment, I’m thinking ABC, so here’s a sneak peek:
A – Admit you’re a beginner.
This one has always served me well since there are so few things I really know how to do. At least I’m always willing to try. This should explain why my lifetime highest bowling score is way lower than President Obama’s lowest one.
B – Be willing to learn from anyone who is willing to teach you.
This goes double if you are conventionally smart. Other people are just as smart but in their own way and you will be amazed at what they know that you never even thought of.
C – Communicate to everyone who you think can help you.
Even if they can’t, they may know someone who can. And if they don’t, you’ve put your needs out to the Universe.
Maybe in a few more years I’ll learn enough to go from D to Z…
Ask Dr. Janice has a new look and a new page. That’s what happens when there are fresh inputs, both from the environment (feels like Spring at last in Philadelphia!) and the growing human infrastructure in my entrepreneurial life.
I took music instead of art in college (it was a choice in those long ago days) so I figured I was remembering wrong when I thought, form dictates function. Googled it to educate myself on who said it and what they meant by it, vaguely remembering it had something to do with buildings designed to house manufacturing plants. It’s actually from this, by American architect Louis Sullivan who coined the phrase in 1896:
It is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic,
Of all things physical and metaphysical,
Of all things human and all things super-human,
Of all true manifestations of the head,
Of the heart, of the soul,
That the life is recognizable in its expression,
That form ever follows function.
I think he meant form should follow function. Because in the real world, I see much more form dictating function. That is, we have a form – often in the guise of a policy or procedure or even an architectural structure like a cube farm outside a corner office – that tells us how we should interact. Consider the hierarchical organization where cross-level discussions are frowned on. This creates horizontal silos and limits the natural human urge to interact – to function.
For the human infrastructure to be strong there needs to be no limit on thinking, on synergizing, on the production of the fresh and new. It needs to follow Vision.
Do you remember those sped-up photos of cells dividing and multiplying until they reach the point where they change direction and something new and different emerges?
It’s like that with visions. When two visions come very close, when they are mergeable in some way, if they are fed the energy of both sources they too become something new – a living, breathing organism of some sort. Whether that is one being or an enterprise involving thousands of individual organisms acting together is less important than the mechanism: two original, pure visions, each dedicated to bettering the world in some way. coming together in an ecosystem that supports the human spirit, producing revolutionary progress that benefits the far off future.
I think sometimes when it is about to happen, one or both visions are overcome with the fear that they will be engulfed or destroyed by the other and the natural drive to merge them fails. The trick is not to erect walls to keep fears out but to make them visible for what they are: the hobgoblins we keep alive with our distracted energy.
I’ve just started working on one – I think of it as a VisionMeld – and will keep you posted on my progress.
Happy Labor Day to all who are off today. As an entrepreneur (who at one time in my life was not only a union member, but the grievance chairman for my location!) I’m celebrating my ability to work today. And mostly, I’m celebrating that at least one of my team is right there with me going back and forth over the web working on presentations with me.
A couple of hours ago I was working on a presentation for a panel on talent management. I found an old handout I’d used before and sent it to Jackfor his opinion. He IMed back, “I have something better” and this is what he sent:
Develop and Keep Your Best Employees. Follow The Ten Commandments for Running an Organization:
1. Assume that your staff has the best interests of the organization in their intentions.
2. Be forgiving, even when they make mistakes.
3. Be merciful when they make big mistakes.
4. Be compassionate: don’t place them in tempting circumstances.
5. Be gracious, even to those who don’t return it.
6. Be slow to anger when people disobey.
7. Be abundantly kind and assume people mean well.
8. Never renege on your word.
9. Remember the times when people do something right.
10. Always allow people to repent their error, carelessness or apathy and forgive them.
At the end of the list was my name. I don’t remember writing it though I have no doubt that I did.
This is the advantage of having a Curator on any corporate team. Curators are amazing. They know what’s worth saving and what’s worth tossing out and when they save something they can actually find it. They’re the corporate keepers of the wisdom and I fear they are an endangered species, allowed to leave organizations without passing on the keys to the kingdom.
Thank you, Jack valued friend and team member. You make this entrepreneurial life so much easier.
Today, in Pennsylvania at least, everyone’s a hiring manager.
I ran into an old friend at the NY HRO show last week and he asked me why there’s been so much about politics in my blog lately. I hadn’t really thought much about that. After all, this blog is about leadership and ordinarily I don’t get to select the chief executive of just any organization so it seemed logical. But today it seems more than just logical. It seems, well, just. As in justice.
Today’s the day that ordinary people, the ones who work for someone else and have never had the responsibility for hiring someone, get to have some say in who we hire for our next president. The hiring process isn’t that much different than any other (except for the assessment part) – sourcing (networking really works well here!), scrutiny of resumes, multiple interviews, references, the winnowing of the field – all leading up to the final selection. The difference is, today we are all equal. Everyone, whether CEO, manager, solo entrepreneur or line worker, gets the same power in the hiring process.
I voted early this morning. I’m a hiring manager today. I hope you are too.
It’s no surprise Barack Obama just racked up his 10th straight victory. He’s a Founder. That’s his Role. And he does it well.
In business, it’s Founders who are the entrepreneurs, the risk takers who have big dreams and can inspire other people to get on their team and make it happen. They are the original Yes We Can people.
In contrast, Hillary Clinton is a Vision Mover. Not very inspirational, but Vision Movers are good strategists. They figure out how to get to the Vision, how to fund it, how to make it happen. They’re great to have in business (not too many on your executive team or they start butting heads) and they’re rampant in politics.
The good citizens of the US have gone way too long without a Founder, a leader who inspires them. The last one I can remember was John F. Kennedy, but then, I’m old enough to remember that primary.
The time has come. This generation needs inspiration and we need to make sure they get it.
He’s got my vote.