4 Steps To Hiring People You’ll Never Have To Manage

Resumes Are Nearly Useless

Most of our hiring practices were developed for the Industrial Age. But it turns out resumes are nearly useless and our hiring process is backwards.

1 – Business Beliefs and Culture
Business Beliefs determine your culture. Beware the picture on the wall of an eagle with a clever saying. You don’t create a culture; you just live out what you believe.

Before you ever look at a resume, test for Business Beliefs. Your best future Stakeholders will believe they should Make Meaning at work, not just money. And they’ll believe that taking ownership of their job, processes, teamwork and results are fundamental responsibilities. Traditional employees believe they trade hours for money. Stakeholders believe they go to work to create Significance in the world around them.

Business Beliefs and Culture are everything, and you don’t find these on a resume.

2 – Talent
Unlike skills, talents are those innate abilities that can’t be taught; a sense of urgency, attention to detail, silver-tongued communicator, ability to work alone or in teams, etc. Every job requires unique talents. Figure out what those are and hire second for talent, before you look at their resume. You don’t find talent on a resume.

3 – Skills (Demonstrated)
Resumes are a terrible place to find talents, too. You don’t test for skills by sitting across from someone asking them if their resume is true. Have the person demonstrate whatever they are being hired to do. If they are good at it, they have the skills. If they don’t, you have to decide if training them makes sense. My company focuses on hiring talented people, because you can teach skills, but talent can’t be taught. People who are highly skilled but untalented will never be great contributors.

4 – Experience
If someone passes the first four tests, only then should you bother to glance (yes, glance) at their resume. Resumes are just obituaries about what someone used to do, and like obituaries, they are always embellished while downplaying shortcomings. Use resumes at the end of the hiring process to see if someone is a job-hopper, and to help you talk to their references.

We have it all backwards.
So to hire someone who you’ll never have to manage, who will take ownership and become a contributing Stakeholder, interview for these four things, always in this order:
1) Business Beliefs and Culture
2) Talent
3) Skills (test for them, don’t look at the resume)
4) Experience

But how does the traditional Industrial Age process do it? Backwards:
1) Experience – “We need someone fast. We won’t have time to train.”
2) Skills – “Their resume says they’re good. They must be good.”
3) Talent – Rarely looked at
4) Business Beliefs and Culture – At best, an afterthought

Is it any wonder we end up hiring Industrial Age style employees who need to be herded into office day care centers and supervised like seven year olds?

Key-Word Searches Are The Worst Possible Hiring Practice
Using software to do key-word searches as the first step is broken. The rationale is that there are always too many candidates and “it eliminates the 90%” who won’t be a fit. But what it eliminates is great people who could be a perfect cultural fit, with all the right talents and possibly even the right skills. Instead it selects BS’rs who wrote the best, and possibly most exaggerated obituaries.

If you want to hire people you won’t have to manage, throw out most of what you’ve been taught about hiring. Hire first for Business Beliefs and Culture, second for talent, third for demonstrated skills, and use experience as a tiebreaker. You, and the people who you hire, will all be happier and more productive.

Article as seen on Inc.com

Why You Should Hire Stakeholders, Not Employees

Let’s retire the idea of an employee. These days, your company needs something different.

The Factory System gave us cool toys and a cushy life, but it also came with business diseases, and one of them is the Industrial Age concept of the employee. That version is a very new idea in the history of man, and one that needs to go away. Let’s replace them with Stakeholders.

Employees Are Silent
The Industrial Age recreated people as extensions of machines. If people left the messy, creative human part at home, they fit into the Factory System much better. Sadly, people adapted, to the point that the generation that entered the work force at the very peak of the Industrial Age (1945-1965ish) was given the worst generational label in history—The Silent Generation. They understood the Factory System mantra, “Be loyal to the company. Do what you’re told. Show up early, leave late. Shut up, sit down, don’t make waves, live invisibly, and go out quietly. The company will take care of you, from cradle to grave.” They bought the promise hook, line and sinker.

Employees Are Children
This view of work (and life) turned adults back into children. The most respected person was one who obediently took orders, did what they were told, didn’t question authority, was blindly loyal to those in charge, and lived passively as others directed their life. Pretty much what we want a five-year-old to do.

To keep the children from ruining the house, the Industrial Age herded people into company day care centers, penned them in with clear and narrow rules on performance and hours, and endless limitations on being human and adult at work. Machines didn’t need them to ask why, or to create, or to solve problems. Machines just needed them to “do”.

Childlike Employees Are Replaced By Adult Stakeholders

The notion of an employee is a business disease which turns people back into children, and it should be eradicated. Some companies can’t even use the word anymore. They don’t want to hire children who need to be supervised so that they don’t run into the street. They want adults. Enter the Stakeholder.

Stakeholders bring the whole, messy, creative person to work. They can think, take initiative, make decisions, carry responsibility, take ownership, be creative, and solve problems. And they incessantly ask the most human of questions, “Why?” They are self-directed and creative, and they solve problems. They don’t expect the company or other adults to take care of them.

Stakeholders Are Owners

Ownership is the most powerful motivator in business. Adults own stuff. Even if they don’t own a piece of the company, Stakeholders own their work. And as Stakeholders, they receive profit sharing, just like an owner should. To create ownership, Stakeholders in Participation Age companies own some of the fruit of their labor.

Stakeholders Require Leadership, Not Adult Supervision (Management)
If you hire adult Stakeholders instead of childlike employees, it changes the way you lead people. Participation Age companies with Stakeholders don’t have office hours, vacation time, or personal days. They’re not interested in whose car was in the parking lot first or who left last. In these companies, Stakeholders don’t need adult supervision, they need leadership.

Stakeholders Make Meaning and Money At Work, and More of Both
Industrial Age employees traded time for money, and then went home to Make Meaning. Stakeholders won’t settle for a j-o-b that just pays the bills. They want to be able to go home at the end of the day knowing they made a difference, not just a product. And everyone is a lot happier because they all work with adults who contribute and pull their own weight.
In the Participation Age, employees are always a bad idea. Stakeholders will replace them. There is a growing wave of companies looking to replace employees with Stakeholders. Don’t settle. Find one you can join, or build one yourself.

Come join us in the Participation Age.

Article as seen on Inc.com

Leaders and Managers Have Nothing in Common

Manage stuff. Lead people.

Managers are one of the core business diseases of the Industrial Age. They are sacred cows who have been around only for a little over a century, but who should go away as quickly as possible. Few things are as disruptive, unhelpful, and unproductive in the workplace as managers.


Solve and Decide, or Become Less Important?
The manager’s worst habits are to a) solve things and b) decide things. No other actions are as debilitating to others. When a manager solves and decides, the only thing left is to delegate tasks to be executed—“put this nut on that bolt, at this rate.” But when we delegate tasks, people feel used. Managers who solve and decide things are fundamental in the dehumanizing of the workplace, because tasks are for machines.

Leaders do it quite differently. They train others to solve problems and make decisions, and then they get out of the way. If you’re becoming less and less important in your position, you’re leading.

The Best Business Leader Makes the Fewest Decisions
The art of traditional management involves planning, organizing, staffing, controlling, and manipulating human capital. In the awful assumption of traditional management model, people are “capital” to be manipulated and controlled.

In contrast, the art of leadership is to know how few decisions the leader needs to make.

Ricardo Semler, the architect behind Semco, an $800 million Brazilian Participation Age company (with 3,000 stakeholders, but no managers), just celebrated his 10th anniversary of not making a decision. That is tremendous leadership, the kind we should all aspire to by training others to “solve and decide” and then, by getting out their way.

It works because Semler and other Semco leaders have trained others to solve problems and make decisions. Having gotten out of the way, the leaders are now free to stop solving and deciding, and instead to ask questions and think about the future. If you’re making decisions for others, you’re managing. If you’re just asking questions, you’re leading.

What Are You Delegating; Tasks or Responsibility?
We said earlier that when managers delegate tasks (“put this nut on that bolt”), people feel used, because tasks are for machines. But leaders delegate responsibility (“make a great product”)—a much broader request that requires thinking, solving, and deciding. When given responsibility, people take ownership, and ownership is the most powerful motivator in business. Are you delegating tasks, which simply require action, or delegating responsibility, which requires the whole messy, creative person to show up?

Management Is Not Leadership; Leadership Is Not Management
Management is a very recently invented construct, but leadership has been around for centuries. We’ve conflated the two. Here’s a simple reference for pulling them back apart:

Manage Stuff. Lead People.

The traditional business model we inherited from the factory system of the Industrial Age made the flawed assumption that people need to be managed like stuff. They don’t. They need to be led, and the difference is not semantic, it is gigantic.

Stuff needs to be managed. People don’t. The factory system reinvented people as extensions of machines, and when people are extensions of machines, they are “stuff” to be managed. But if they are fully human, they require leadership, not management.

In our company, we only manage stuff; computers, numbers, software, processes, systems, delivery of goods and services, accounting, marketing, sales, etc. These are all “things” to be managed, and everyone in our business manages stuff. But we don’t need someone with the title of “manager” to hover over any of us to ensure the stuff will get managed. People manage the stuff, and we lead each other by vision, guidance, training and support, and then, most important, by getting out of the way.

The manager’s quest is to be as helpful as possible for as long as possible. The leader’s quest is to relentlessly train others to solve and decide, and become less necessary every day.

It’s important enough to say twice: the art of leadership is to know how few decisions the leader needs to make. Become a leader—stop solving and deciding, and focus instead on asking questions. Everyone will be better off if you do.

Article as seen on Inc.com

Companies Without Managers Do Better By Every Metric

Participate and Share

Last week we described Participation Age companies – Stakeholders, who work in self-managed teams, replace employees; Leaders replace managers; there is profit-sharing for everyone, no work hours, etc. But how do they perform against traditional, management-centric companies with Industrial Age hierarchies?

Quite well, it turns out. They don’t just hold their own; they blow the lid off! Let’s start with tiny companies and work our way up to huge.

Crankset Group
Our little seven-year old company, Crankset Group, with 20+ full and part-time people grew 704% in the last five years, and growth is accelerating. Nobody reports to anybody; everybody is a Chief (Relationship Officer, Results Officer, Transformation Officer, Connecting Officer, etc.). Everyone leads in their area of expertise, and we all know exactly what result we are supposed to produce, and if you get the result agreed upon, nobody cares WHERE you are or WHEN you are. And everyone has the ability to grow, learn, start things, and make more money by expanding their impact.

Menlo Innovations
Menlo Innovations, a software company with over 100 Stakeholders, has a manager-less Participation Age culture, and is well known because it’s founder, Richard Sheridan, wrote a book called, Joy, Inc., that tells how they built a company with almost no hierarchy. They now have courses teaching other companies how to do it.

Valve Corporation
Valve, a software/game company has 300 Stakeholders. There are no managers. People transfer to other projects without “permission”, choose what to work on, decide each other’s pay, and go on vacation for a week together every year (Hawaii last year). Valve is significantly more profitable per Stakeholder than either Apple or Google.

Semco Partners
Semco, a Brazilian company with 3,000 Stakeholders, made washing machines in 1951, but is now in multiple industries including real estate, banking, and web services. In a 10-year recessionary period in Brazil, Semco’s revenues still grew 600%, profits were up 500%, productivity was up 700%, and for the last 20+ years, employee turnover remains at an incredibly low 1-2% per year. They have no managers, no HR department, no written policies (just a few written beliefs) and no office hours. Everyone works in small, self-motivated, self-managed work teams who make their own decisions regarding salary, hiring, firing, and who leads the team for the next six months. There are no managers to involve in the process.

W. L. Gore, Inc.
W. L. Gore (Gore-Tex), with 10,000 employees has been a Participation Age pioneer, functioning without managers since the 1960’s. Stakeholders at Gore say it takes 6-12 months for new hires to believe there will be no manager looking over their shoulder. One Stakeholder said, “If anyone here ever told someone else what to do, no one would work with them again.”

Fortune 500s and Internationals
Thirty Fortune 500’s are also moving aggressively in the direction of being Participation Age companies and are growing an average of ten times faster than the average S&P 500 company over ten years. Forty-one other international companies and organizations comprise the WorldBlu list of “most democratic” manager-less companies.

A Big Duh
These examples just scratch the surface. The Participation Age company isn’t a fringe idea, but is the wave of the present. In ten years, this will all be a big “duh”. And those that don’t embrace the Participation Age will be left behind.

The results are in. If you want to make a bucket-load of money going forward, you will want to join the Participation Age, and replace managers with exponentially fewer leaders.

Next week we’ll look at the radical difference between the two, and how most companies that think they have leaders, actually have managers.

Article as seen on Inc.com