Manage Stuff. Lead People.

The end of management.

Management is good. Managers are bad. There is no room for them in a Participation Age business. People don’t need to be managed; they need to be led. The difference is not semantic, it is gigantic.

The Industrialists did their dead level best to re-make people into simple extensions of machines. 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 business, we only manage stuff; processes, systems, delivery of goods and services, accounting, marketing, sales, etc. These are all “things” to be managed. Everyone in the business manages stuff of some sort or another. But none of us needs someone with the title of “manager” to hover over us to ensure the stuff will get managed.

Manage Stuff
Stuff definitely needs to be managed. Unlike people, stuff is inherently stupid and lazy. It needs to be told what to do; it doesn’t have a brain of its own or any motivation to assemble itself. The packaging material and the product just sit on the counter until someone picks both of them up and puts them in the box. Someone who is smarter and more motivated than the stuff needs to manage that process, but the smart and motivated person doing the packing does not need managing – they need to be led.

Accounting numbers are also stupid and lazy. They just sit on spreadsheets until a smart and motivated person comes along to update, organize and report on them. That process needs to be managed, but not the person doing the accounting – they need to be led.

Every process, system, product, and service in a business is inherently stupid and lazy and needs to be managed. Unfortunately, managers don’t see much difference between the people, and the stuff or processes in the business. To a manager, people are extensions of machines or processes, and both of them need the hovering involvement of a third party to force them to work. That other person, called “manager”, doesn’t actually pack the box.

The manager assumes the person is as inert as the packing materials, and must be “managed” to ensure they will actually pick up the packing materials and put them in the box. The manager exists to ensure the person doesn’t just sit there like the packing materials. It’s a waste of two good lives; the life of the manager who does nothing, and the packer, who is treated like a nine-year old incapable of being responsible.

Lead People
A leader will do it quite differently. They will not hover over or manage the adult Stakeholders. They will impart vision and guidance, including why we do what we do, metrics for success and metrics for exceeding the objective. A leader will train and provide the necessary infrastructure, and they will create a process that requires the packing person or the process itself to proactively report to the leader regularly how things are going.

Then the leader will do something extraordinary that the manager would rarely do – they will GO AWAY AND BE PRODUCTIVE, TOO. Instead of hovering over the children in the day care center, they will go somewhere and do something themselves that adds to the bottom line. Or they might just be one of the packers or one of the accountants, and join right in being productive; leading and motivating by example, not by threat, persuasion, cajoling or hovering.

A manager justifies their existence by making other people productive more than by being productive themselves. Managers “feel” productive – they have tons of monitoring on their plate. But a leader will lead by example, get in the trenches and be one of the productive people.

Leaders can afford to do this because they hire Stakeholders, not employees, and don’t need to live in a day care center where they are watched like nine year olds. Most of the work of the manager disappears or gets dispersed among all the adult Stakeholders.

Everyone is a Leader
Stakeholders are adult leaders, too, and understand that if they have all the training and equipment they need, and clearly understand the objective required, they will gladly take the bull by the horns and “own” their tasks, job, process and result. Why? Because they also know they own part of the compensation (profit-sharing) that will come from that level of ownership. Taking on the former tasks of the manager is one more way for them to Make Meaning, not just money.

Adults Without Managers – An Old Idea
The idea of managing stuff but leading people is not a new concept. A store owner prior to the Industrial Age hired someone else to stock shelves, trained them and gave them the tools they needed to do it. Then that leader went back to being productive themselves. If the stocker wasn’t productive, they were let go and the leader got someone who could self-manage. After training the new person, the leader went back to being productive again. Managers hang on to employees who need to be managed because it justifies their existence. A leader fires them and finds a Stakeholder.

In a great modern business, as before the Industrial Age, everyone produces something, whether it is maintenance, accounting, packing, new product development, or vision and leadership. No one stagnates around watching other people do the work. Stakeholders are all leaders, and all of the manage stuff.

Fire All The Managers – All of Them (Including Yourself)
You can replace five or ten managers with one leader, easily. It’s a great money saver and you’ll find out real fast who are the chidren (employees) who need to be moved along, and who are your adult Stakeholders who will take over the very few things the manager was doing that were of any value.

Keep Only The Stakeholders
Are you managing employees/children? If you are, my guess is you’re really tired of it. Stop it. Tell the nine-year olds it’s time to grow up and be adult Stakeholders. Show them the stuff that needs to be managed, then tell them everyone is responsible to lead in their area of expertise. Then go get a job and be productive yourself. If you have employees who don’t want to grow up and at least lead themselves, find someone who will. There are plenty of Stakeholders out there.

Managers – A Business Disease of the Industrial Age
Managing people (not stuff) is a disease of the Industrial Age. It’s a recently invented construct and is a dead end process that maintains people at the nine year old level. And it dehumanizes them as if they were an extension of a stupid and lazy machine.

Leaders – What People Have Always Needed
Leading has been around since the dawn of man. It was not invented, and is the time proven method for motivating people. Everyone in your business should do it in their area of expertise. It’s rewarding and humanizing.

Get out of the Industrial Age into the Participation Age. Manage stuff. Lead people.

The Three S’s Of The Industrial Age

Safety, Security, and Stability

My mother, who was born in 1921, grew up in the Great Depression and entered the workforce in 1943 after nurse’s training, taught me to pursue three things in life, the three S’s of the Industrial Age:

1) Safety – live in the suburbs, don’t live downtown with the icky people.

2) Security – have a big wad of cash in the bank.

3) Stability – every day should look the same, no surprises. Get a job with a giant corporation; they are the best prepared to give you a life with no surprises.

The Ozzie and Harriet Dream
Just about every mother of that generation was teaching their kids the same things. So it’s no surprise that at the height of the Industrial Age after World War II, the suburbs exploded with cookie cutter Cap Cods, white picket fences, men who all left for work in unison with their white shirts, ties, suits and briefcases at 7:30am and got home at 6pm, working for Giant Corporation, Inc., and living as predictable a life as possible. That cohort is called The Silent Generation.

Their manic pursuit of safety, security and stability made them the best extensions of machines in the history of the Industrial Age. It also dehumanized them to the point of silencing their voices, their creativity, and their legacy (remember, no Presidents and no Supreme Court justices came from this generation; the only generation without a number of them.) But where are these three S’s on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? They are at or nearer the bottom.

The Bottom Looks Pretty Good When It’s Above You
Why did my mother teach me to chase these things that were at or near the bottom of what we as humans need in life? Because having gone through the Great Depression and World War II, she was looking up at the bottom. She didn’t have any of the three, and a life with all three would have been Nirvana for her.

Straight the Fourth S
But Millennials who only grew up in the shadow of the Industrial Age do not understand the language of Safety, Security and Stability. They are one of the first generations in history, at least in the west, to be born with all three of those things provided for them at birth. They aren’t looking up at the bottom, and are instead reaching for the fourth S of the Participation Age, Significance. Making money is no longer enough. Being an extension of a machine to do so is not attractive, and the idea that every day should look the same and that life should be predictable and without surprises is not challenging to them. They want more.

It’s Simple, and Maybe Hard
And as the cultural influence of the Industrial Age and the Factory System fades behind us, we are all waking up to the need to re-humanize the workplace, reintegrate it back into our lives, and build lives to Make Meaning, not just money. To do so we must eliminate the arcane business practices that we dragged out of the Industrial Age into the Participation Age that turned men into machines and silenced our drive for significance. Addressing the business diseases of the Industrial Age is not complex; it’s simple. But for those who have built businesses and lives around the inherited constructs of a bygone era, it will be both simple and hard.

The Will To Chase Significance
If we recognize that we have inherited some of the business diseases of the Industrial Age, all we need is the will to change. But it needs to be a strong and determined will, because our past is a strong magnet and will pull us back in if we lack vigilance.

We should be grateful that the Industrial Age provided us with the first three S’s, Safety, Security, and Stability, on which to build the fourth S, Significance. But we must also recognize that the practices that brought us those three will not bring us the fourth. We have a choice to make. Stay with what we know and slowly atrophy as the world moves on without us, or join the Participation Age and start sharing together in building companies that Make Meaning, not just money.

Which do you choose?

The Participation Age

Are you?

We’re out of the Information Age and well into the Participation Age. It’s your time – are you participating?

In 2006 two of us were flown out to Silicon Valley to accept an award by Sun Microsystems for branding, messaging and design work. At this conference some Sun leaders and outside consultants were talking about the new “Age”, called the Participation Age. Quite a few other leaders and publications have used it as well, and I found it to be a compelling description for the new Age in which we find ourselves. The hallmark of the Participation Age is “sharing.”

You First. No, I Insist, You First.
The Participation Age has seen the organic and viral growth of a dizzying array of sharing systems; from weekend software projects tackled by people all over the world who don’t know each other, to co-creation of products and services by companies interacting directly with their customers, to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and a myriad of other sharing platforms.

Linux, an open-source software operating system, owned by no one, runs the fastest computers in the world and tens of millions of cell phones. The development of Web 2.0 was based on sharing of information, services, products, knowledge and opinions to the point that companies don’t own their brand anymore; those who participate in sharing about it on the internet are the owners.

Small Is Now Big
United Airlines discovered this painfully when Dave Carroll wrote a song called “United Breaks Guitars” (they broke his) and posted it on the internet. Within a four days of the posting, it had received millions of hits and United’s stock value plunged $180 million. Before the Participation Age, companies like United regularly wrote off one badly treated customer at a time, knowing they had a limited reach. But now, one person’s shared view of the world has a power that it never had before. The Participation Age has made your small voice more powerful than any time in history.

We’ve also seen sharing create massed responses to a single person’s plight from all over the world, and the proliferation of crowd-sourcing and crowd-funding companies that help people in ways they could have never imagined.

Participating Through Work
The Participation Age has changed the way people relate to each other, but most importantly it is changing the way we relate to work, allowing us to go back to a more natural relationship to work that was dominant for thousands of years before the strange and interruptive blip in history we call the Industrial Age.

Past generations that grew up in the intimidating shadow of the Industrial Age were taught to react, respond and at times even to contribute, but not to participate and share. Participation demands that we be proactive and creative, which is our basic human nature. The Industrial Age did not want us being proactive and creative; it wanted us to be extensions of machines and loyal and almost indentured servants to the company (via the golden handcuffs of in-house retirement plans).

I Double-Dog Dare You
At our core, we are not made to be extensions of machines. We are made to Make Meaning, not just money, and the Participation Age, more than any time in human history is daring each and everyone of us to find our voice, be uniquely you or me, and encourage the world to participate in what each of us is building. Get after it; create, innovate, bring something unique to the world around you; share it and let others participate in making you and it better. How much fun is the Participation Age? It kicks the Industrial Age’s ass, for sure.

My next book will share a lot about our move to the Participation Age, and how too many companies are still stuck in the Industrial Age.

Share with us – what are you building?

Take the Test; Are you an Employee or a Stakeholder?

(hint: employees drool)

We believe employees are always a bad idea, and that people at work should all be Stakeholders instead. Read through the side by side comparisons and see how see how you stack up as a Stakeholder or as an employee.

If you look at the above and say, “I can’t trust my company to compensate me like a stakeholder”, you’re in the wrong company. Leave and find one that rewards performance and results, not growing mold sitting in your chair. You’ll have a lot more fun.

If you’re an employer and you think it would be great to do have Stakeholders but most people aren’t like that, take a look at your own leadership style and/or your belief system. Most people actually want to make a contribution to the world around them and be adults. Are you letting them be, or are you assuming they can’t be adults? If you believe people are most likely to be employees, you’ll treat them that way and they will respond that way.

The Industrial Age is over. Stakeholders rule. Employees drool.

Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer Is Officially An Industrialist

Home Alone.

After I wrote my last post on why working 9-5 is a bad idea, I found out Yahoo’s CEO Mayer was killing telecommuting. It’s a classic failure of leadership and will get her the opposite result than she hopes.

This last week, Marissa Mayer ended telecommuting for all Yahoo employees. The few retro voices in the archaic wilderness trumpeting this move as “good”, say it will make Yahoo more “innovative” and “collaborative”. Uh…cubes. They’re being stuffed back into cubes.

More Productive?…No.
This definitely won’t make them more productive. All the data old and new confirms this. Until after 1850, the majority of all manufacturing and other productivity was done at home. research shows people waste an average of 25% of their day in the office doing nothing. Other research shows that people in an office waste up to 50% of their time “managing up” (brown nosing). Telecommuting is proven to increase productivity.

More Innovative and Collaborative?…No.
And there is no data that suggests that putting people back in cubes makes them more innovative or collaborative. Mayer’s decision was lazy and lacked any innovation on her own part. There are a hundred better ways to make sure telecommuters are touching base in an innovative and collaborative way with each other and the company, but that would have taken some energy to figure out. Reintroducing the brass steam whistle and the time clock was much easier, but is a short-sighted decision.

Yahoo Employees Are Now Stupid and Lazy
But the worst reason for doing this is that it reinforces the traditional understanding of the “employee”. In 1903, Frederick Winslow Taylor wrote his views of work that became the foundation for Scientific Management theory, which governs our view of work today. He said there are two basic assumptions you must make about employees, 1) they are lazy (he called it soldiering – doing as little as possible to keep from being fired), and 2) they are stupid “the average employee is so stupid that they more nearly resemble the ox than any other type.”

If employees are stupid and lazy (a view not common until well after the 1850s and convenient for Industrialists to believe as they treated them like indentured servants), than you need smart and motivated people to manage them – thus the modern separation between “employees” (stupid and lazy), and “management” (smart and motivated).

Mayer Is An Industrialist
Mayer’s move is a confirmation that she is a modern Industrialist (click to see my post defining this), and believes her people are definitely lazy, and almost certainly stupid (can’t figure out how to be productive on their own). But the problem isn’t with her employees; it’s with her leadership. Great leaders inspire and motivate people to be owners or “Stakeholders”; self-managed and proactive adults who take ownership of their jobs and the company’s future, and are consistently creative and innovative, always working to make the whole “system” better.

Mayer lacks leadership. She can’t inspire and motivate adults, so she has gone to the fetal position of Industrialism, requiring that all the stupid and lazy children now check themselves into the day care center that is the office so that managers can keep them from running into the street or messing on the carpets.

The Opposite Result
Yahoo needs engaged Stakeholders – adults who can work with her to pull Yahoo out of the morass. Instead she is creating employees – children who will be managed and told what to do. Innovative and collaborative, my eye.

A classic failure of leadership, made worse because her actions blame the Stakeholders for her own lack of vision. This is nothing more than calling all the elephants to the graveyard for Yahoo’s last rites.

Industrialists Are Not Capitalists

but they’re all over the place, even today.

People love to throw stones at Capitalists, but it’s the Industrialists who are the problem. And they are a very different animal. I’m a fire-breathing Capitalist, and I don’t relate to these guys. Let’s throw stones in the right direction.

I’ve been working on and blogging about my next book on the Industrial Age for 18 months. The production area of the modern company has changed radically, having left the Industrial Age forty+ years ago. It’s full of clean suits and nano-technology. But the front office is still dragging its knuckles through practices developed in the 1800s for the Industrial Age.

Dilbert still reigns in the front office. And it’s largely because old-fashioned Industrialists are still in charge of the businesses.

Following is a chart from one of the chapters in the upcoming book showing the stark difference between true Capitalists, who are regularly doing great stuff, and Industrialists, who are more often up to no good. I can only find one thing they do in common (take risks), and even that is driven by entirely different motivations.

Do you work for the Industrialist on the left, or the Capitalist on the right?

If you want to work with the guy on the right, but you’re working for one on the left, get moving. Start aggressively looking for the company on the right, because they’re looking just as hard for you. They’re out there – don’t settle for less!

Live Longer – Don’t Retire.

Golf is bad for your future.

A 90-year study of 1,528 Americans called The Longevity Project shoots holes in the retirement dream. Turns out goofing off for the last thirty years of our lives is a really bad idea.

The idea that work is leading you to an early grave is a myth. This massive study proved what we’ve been saying for years now.

Know where you’re going.
People with the most focused long-term paths in the study were the least likely to die young. Looking at the participants in the study who were in their 70s, those that had not retired were looking at much longer lives than their golfing counterparts: “The continually productive men and women lived much longer than their laid-back comrades.”

Also, those who moved from job to job without a clear progression were less likely to have long lives than those who went deep and long in a focused direction with their business lives. We call this a commitment to the long term, “conation”.

Conate, You’ll Live Longer.
Conation is the most important business word you’ve never heard, but is central to a long life. We define conation as, “Committed Movement in a Purposeful Direction.”

“It wasn’t the happiest or the most relaxed older participants who lived the longest,” the authors write. “It was those who were most engaged in pursuing their goals.”

Knowing where you’re going, and being committed and focused to get there (conation), is going to make you live longer.

Conation – Committed Movement in a Purposeful Direction.

Live With Purpose, Not Just to Play.
This study doesn’t mean you need to go to work for 90 years. It means you need to rethink going out to pasture at 65 to play golf. Amusement isn’t the goal. Think of the Latin roots of that word – “a” means “without”, and “muse” means “to think”

Amusement – something you do without your brain.

Make Meaning
A commitment to a life of retirement leisure is a great way to die sooner. You don’t have to go to work; you just need to figure out how to continue to Make Meaning even if you’re done making money.

Retirement is a bankrupt Industrial Age idea. Live a life of significance your whole life, not just the first 2/3rds of it.

Conate. You’ll live longer.

Employees will hate where the world is going.

Hire Stakeholders (they’ll love it)

We’ve talked a lot about the cultural damage of the Industrial Age. New studies are jumping on board suggesting that the workplace is headed in directions that will make “employees” and Industrial Age companies very unhappy.

The Evolving Workplace: Expert Insights is one such study. It has a technology bent to it, but does a great job of identifying where “work” and the “workplace” are headed. Some thoughts from, and about, the study:

Trend #1: Crowdsourcing and Crowdsource service – people will work from all over and some will never meet. Just-in-time labor will reduce the number of permanent employees. Productivity will become more important than hanging around the boss. 30% of Japan’s workforce is already crowd-sourced. The big elephant in the room is that kissing up to cover up for lousy productivity will be much harder for employees to do. The lazy guy w/ a great personality might actually have to start working.

Trend #2: Productivity measured in outputs, not hours – we call this a Results-based culture vs. Time-based culture. In our company we have no office hours, and no vacation or sick time. We expect people to produce, and then go play with their dog (or vice versa). This study says the whole world is moving in that direction. We believe it is because the Industrial Age taught us to trade time for money, but that in the post-modern economy, time is the new money. People want freedom from the 9-5 and will produce more if treated like adults who are in charge of their productivity.

Trend #5: Values versus rules – this trend highlights the importance of hiring people who reflect your values and who you can trust (since you’re no longer measuring time, but results). Stephen Covey conducted research which showed that employer/employee trust is one of the most valuable factors in someone being productive. Values, which guide and encourage personal initiative, will be more prevalent than Rules, which box people in, dull their thinking and keep them from innovating.

Trend #7: Employee-led innovation – when we lead with values and not rules, we turn employees (children who need to be told what to do, when, and where) into Stakeholders (adults). Stakeholders will take responsiblity for their time and will produce results without being monitored, and more importantly, will take responsibility for helping the company improve. They will come up with great ideas on how to move the company forward. Management won’t be telling employees what to do, the Stakeholders will be the innovators that move the company forward.

My favorite funny line from the report: “Strong resistance is expected from many parts of the labor force [to measuring output instead of hours]…. The gap will widen between the best workers and the worst in terms of opportunities and earnings, contributing to greater income inequality and therefore potential social unrest.

In other words, a time-based culture lets people appear productive by simply having a car in the parking lot, and they will protest having been exposed as a drain on the company.

Going to work vs. working; Time-based vs. Results-based
The future doesn’t bode well for Industrial Age employees who don’t mind going to work (time-based), but don’t want to actually work while they are there (results-based). But it looks very bright for Stakeholders who want to “make meaning”, not just money, to take ownership, and get a life at the same time.

The world continues to shift in favor of those who want to do something, contribute, create, innovate, make meaning not money, and own their lives. It will encourage all of us to move from being employees to Stakeholders.

Every Business Owner Should Have Freedom Days

Do you?

The business owner’s game: “How do I make MORE money in LESS time?” Profit AND Freedom. The practitioner only gets Profit (at best). The business owner gets both Profit and Freedom Days. What are Freedom Days?

The Industrial Age gave us great toys, but stupid ideas about success. The Industrial Age assumption was that if you made money, you somehow would magically get time, too. “If I just had $10 million dollars, I would have a great lifestyle.” It never happens. Never.

You get what you intend, not what you hope for.

If you intend to make money and hope for time, you’ll only get money. I know a lot of very rich people who bought the Industrial Age assumption that money would buy them time, and they never have any.

What is a Business Owner?
I reserve the title “business owner” for those who intend to have both time and money, not just money. Money makes you rich, but only time and money together makes you wealthy. Freedom is the ability to choose, and it takes both time and money to create freedom (wealth). Without time, you don’t own the business, the business owns you.

If you have time, but no money, your choices are very limited. If you have money and no time, you’ll never have the life experiences you “hoped” money would buy you.

Most conventional wisdom would consider a business that continues to produce more revenue every year “a good business”. But unless it also produces more time, it’s just a fancy hostage situation.

You get what you intend, not what you hope for.

Any Business Owner Can Do This
We’re seeing business owners all over the world changing their intentions and throwing out the Industrial Age assumption that money would buy them time. They are now very intentional about their business producing both, and they’re getting both.

When I started this, my sixth business, I was tired of not having time. This time I intended for Crankset Group to make me both time and money (wealth, not riches). In order to get both, I decided I needed to be ambitiously lazy, which means I would have to be willing to work really hard on the front end to get more time on the back end.

A Day a Week, A Week a Month, A Month a Year
I worked 6-7 days a week the first year, 5-6 the second year with a handful of Fridays and two weeks off, five days a week the third year with a lot of Fridays and a number of weeks off, and in the fourth year almost every Friday off and six weeks.

In the fifth year of the business I get what I intended – every Friday is a Freedom Day – I can choose what to do with it. The fourth week of every month is a Freedom Week and once a year we take a Freedom Month as well – a day a week, a week a month, and a month a year.

Bonus – I didn’t intend it, but I also get a couple Mondays a month and the 13th week of each quarter. Add it all up and it’s about 60% of the work days in a year.

Freedom to Go On Vacation, or Whatever
What do I do with that time? Somebody might use it all for vacation, but that would never work for me. I use a lot of it to do productive things outside my regular business – running a second business in Africa, writing more books, traveling and doing keynotes and workshops to build 3to5 Clubs around the world. Over half of the work year I can choose (freedom) to either travel and help other business owners with their business, or take that time off.

Get What You Intend
In my first five businesses all I got was money. That’s all I intended to get. In this business I intended for the first time to get both time and money – I now get both.

Freedom Days rock. You get what you intend, not what you hope for.

What do you intend to get out of your business? You’ll get that.

We had dozens of employees quit last week…


To make sure we never hired another employee (employees and resumes are both bad Industrial Age ideas), we created a hiring process that makes employees quit before you hire them.

About 18 months ago I wrote a blog on hiring our Chief Results Officer. She and I are now hiring a Chief Supporting Officer, so she can focus more on growing our national and international speaking opportunities.

The Industrial Age gave us employees. We think the Industrial Age should have kept them; we’re not interested. Why?

Employees are stupid, like an ox
The concept of an “employee” largely came from the work of Frederick Winslow Taylor in 1903. “Employee” and “manager” didn’t much exist before his work. Taylor started with an unbelievable assumption. He said an employee is “so stupid that he more nearly resembles the ox than any other type.” When you’re that stupid, the only hope is to create “managers” who are smart enough to control every movement of the employee. Welcome to modern management theory. Really quite amazing that we’ve created an entire business culture on this nonsense.

Employees vs. Adults
With that backdrop for the whole concept, it is no wonder that employees are essentially children who are to be managed and told exactly what to do, where to be, how to perform, how to think, etc. It’s degrading, but “employee” has become synonymous with “child”. The Industrial Age can keep her children – here’s our process for hiring adults. It makes Industrial Age children/employees quit before we ever hire them. We were able to filter dozens of people out before we even saw a resume and easily a hundred others quit the process right after reading our ad.

Never Get Recommendations
At least not directly. If your best clients/friends/employees/neighbors send you people directly, you end up doing a lot of “courtesy interviews” with people you know aren’t what you’re looking for. We sent an email to everyone we know asking them to refer people directly to our Craigslist ad. If they’re good, they’ll show up at the end of the process and you won’t waste time being political.

Never meet people until you’re down to just a few – meeting people personally up front will color your view of how they might fit. There’s a much better way.

The Five-Step Process
Step One – Culture – Never hire for skills. Skills can be taught, culture (beliefs, principles, view of the world) cannot. We did a five-page ad that focused mostly on who we are and our culture, described the work sufficiently, and asked them to answer seven culture/value based questions. Buried in the middle of the ad was “please do not send us your resume”. We were looking for someone highly detailed, so that was a great way to get started. We deleted dozens of emails with resumes in them without even looking.

Step Two – Talent – After finding a few dozen people we thought were great culture fits, we tested for talent. Like Culture, Talent is largely innate (skills can be taught). Hire for Culture first, then Talent. Talents required for our position are high attention to detail, a sense of urgency, and the ability to work under pressure, so we sent them three assignments to complete in a limited amount of time, including finding errors, solving problems, formatting docs, etc. This caused a few more “employees” to quit and not return the work – they were looking for a job and we had the audacity to see if they wanted to work, too.

Step Three – Skills & Experience (Resume) – Once we had it down to a little over a dozen, we asked them to send us their resumes, which we call obituaries – a highlight reel full of glowing history about the best things people did in the past. We quickly scanned their stated skills & experience for any big issues, then scheduled interviews. Don’t ever look at a resume any earlier than this – it will mess with your judgment.

Step Four – Intangibles (Interview) – Tomorrow we’ll give each of the eight a 15 minute interview and meet them for the first time. We had already formed strong opinions based on the things we’ll actually have them do, and their culture match with us. This first interview is to help us intuitively and quickly see which ones we can enjoy being around daily for years to come.

Step Five – Confirmation Interview(s) – we’ll cut it down to three and have them meet with various people in our business to reconfirm the culture match. It’s the most important thing.

Seven Great Adults for Hire
The eight people we’ve never met are all rock stars. They’ve already proven it. We can’t possibly miss. We’re looking forward to bringing on one for a wild ride and wish we could do it with all eight. If anyone needs seven great adults in their business, please contact us.