One of the things that’s surprised me over the last few years: most people are coachable, but the majority of managers/leaders are looking for people they don’t have to coach.
This shows up in job descriptions regularly. Sometimes it’s arrogant, like when a founder or executive says “high performers only, we are not here to babysit you.” Other times, it’s more subtle, with a bullet point or two emphasizing the search for someone who is “highly autonomous.”
On the surface, this makes a manager or leader look/feel smart. You’re hiring someone who’s ready to go to work, they are motivated, and they will deliver results without needing much ( or any) support.
There are a few problems with optimizing this way… Read More
It’s hard to overstate how much power online platforms now have across the globe.
They enable us to easily book a room in São Paulo, scan the news headlines in Nairobi, search for a job in Wellington, and connect us to the people, products, and services around us.
The dominant model for all of this activity is the modern marketplace.
Amazon, Airbnb, Didi Chuxing, Uber, Stripe, WeWork, these are all marketplaces, designed for people to buy and sell products and/or services. The model also extends to social media, where platforms like Facebook have marketplace features and are also viewed as a marketplace for information, ideas exchanged, views shared, beliefs tested etc.
But a marketplace isn’t a community, and as it turns out the difference matters quite a bit. Read More
For many companies fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion are considered an extra, something you do on top of the business model you already have.
In others, it’s a competitive point, one that opens the door (and tries to keep it open) for talented folks in customer service, engineering, marketing, design, operations, and more.
In a very small number of companies / organizations, it is a core part of their DNA from the start, doing the work it takes to not only recruit and keep a wide range of talent, but also put ownership, responsibility, and impact into those hands.
If you’re not in that last group, but you want to be, you may be asking yourself “where can I get 100% amazing talent that is also diverse and inclusive?”
Having worked on it as a hiring manager myself over the years as well as closely observing others, my experience is that there are two ways to do it. Great companies do both. Read More
One of the first pieces of startup jargon you’ll hear when creating a company is the importance of focusing on pain points, and adding value.
It’s a simple idea: talk to potential customers, find out what’s not working, create an experiment that addresses that pain point, and see what happens.
In lean startup language this is often called a MVP (minimum viable product) but it’s been around since the scientific method was invented, and maybe even longer.
For the most part, big data sets aren’t necessary at this stage. If you listen to your customers, look at their habits with respect to your product vs. what they do otherwise, you’ll find out quickly if you’re adding value to their life and/or work.
But adding value can work in a lot of ways, not all of them are real and/or sustainable on even a medium range much less long-term. Lyft and Uber used claims of revolutionizing transportation to create artificial growth and “solve” a pain point for consumers. Yet, both companies have heavily subsidized the cost for a majority of riders, and lost billions of dollars each year. Read More