Hiring to Get Started

Michael Lopp, on A Hard Things is Done by Figuring Out How to Start:

We’re addicted quick fixes, top ten lists, and four-hour work weeks, but the truth is – if it wasn’t hard, everyone would be doing it and a hard thing is never done by reading a list or a book or an article about doing it. A hard thing is done by figuring out how to start.

You’ve been spending a lot of time thinking the result is what matters. You have a bright and shiny goal in mind that is distracting you with its awesomeness. It is this allure of awesomeness that is the continued reason why you keep searching around your house looking for that mischievous walking dial.

Recently, I linked to Kyle Baxter’s wonderful piece about [Slaughtering your Golden Gooses](Slaughter your Golden Gooses). However, working at a big company day in and day out, I wonder why this is so hard.

Lopp’s article put it all in perspective – starting is damn hard. In a big company, it’s people’s job to maintain the status quo.

No, not in the sense that they feverishly protect existing businesses, but because existing businesses take time to maintain. There’s meetings, fire drills, emails, presentations, customer demos – the list could go on and on. These things consume a lot of time – plus, they’re urgent! True, but how many of them would fall into the Urgent but Not Important quadrant.

It’s unintentional, but the allure of working on the most in your face project, whether it be 30 minutes of email checking or picking out fonts and clip art for your presentation keeps people from getting started with slaughtering their existing businesses.

The fix?

Hire new talent with no preconceived notions of how to do the job. Ditch the old idea that you need to hire someone with “8 years of experience.” Bring in a person who is smart, curious, and passionate about learning. A person that will ask questions. A person that will find a new way of doing things and not simply seek to learn and replicate what the person before did. Bring them in and give them a playground and authority to try something new. Just because you’ve been doing something for decades doesn’t mean it’s the best way.

That’s a way to get started.

April 8, 2011