Innovators share a handful of core traits. They are creative and optimistic; comfortable with ambiguity and brave enough to build new-to-the-world things. Above all, they possess something called “informed intuition,” a highly developed sense of what is awesome and what is not, what will work and what won’t. Steve Jobs had informed intuition in spades.
But that quality can be hard to hire for, especially if you’re looking at classic measures of experience, like years in a job or titles. There’s a better way.
My point of view on hiring for informed intuition comes from something
Indiana Jones said to Marion after being shot at, punched up, and dragged under
a truck. In the scene (from the first movie, the really good one), he
was explaining to her that, while getting older, it was the physical wear and
tear that was the issue:
“It’s not the years, honey;” he said, “it’s the
Back to informed intuition, a sixth sense that comes from participating in
the entire innovation process, from start to finish. Each time you take
something to market, you experience a complete cycle, learning from failures
along the way. That’s mileage. As you rack up more of it, your
intuition sharpens. And it builds the confidence you’ll need to get through the
tortuous ambiguity and self-doubt that come with bringing new stuff into the
So when I’m looking to hire someone, I use a positive spin on Indiana Jones’
mileage maxim: You don't need years of experience to have earned high mileage.
The key here is that mileage—the number of times you’ve taken something to
market—trumps years on the job. By the way, mileage can come from anywhere: I
look for life experiences where people created something from nothing. For
example, before arriving at IDEO, MBAs I’ve hired as business designers have
built everything from a clothing brand to an entire house.
Unfortunately, in certain organizations, you can work for years and never
ship anything. It’s not unusual to find a computer programmer with 10 years in a
Fortune 100 setting who hasn’t experienced a complete product development
But that junior programmer, the one who’s been hacking iPhone apps from a
dorm room for the past five years and shipping something new monthly? In my
world, she’s a veteran. She’s experienced the real highs (people love it!) and
lows (nobody bought it!) of product development. Though on paper she has very
little traditional job experience, from an Indiana Jones point of view, she has
much more innovation mileage than that big-company programmer.
And, all other things being equal, she’s the one I’d hire.
Originally Posted On : Linked In By: Diego Rodriguez
In my over 40 years as a business leader in the corporate arena, it’s been one of my distinct joys to lead and be a part of some amazing, cohesive, high-performance teams. When you’ve assembled a team that gets things done, and does so with integrity, it is deeply fulfilling to watch as everybody works together to shoot the lights out. But it can be tricky to get the balance exactly right. As a senior leader in the Fortune 500, I’ve had the opportunity to think a lot about this crucial leadership question: What are the ingredients to a successful team?
It’s an important thing to understand. Leadership is the art and science of influencing others. As we strive to responsibly cultivate our influence with teams, and earn their trust, we must first be able to identify what the key components of highly-functioning teams are. In my experience, a great team boils down to three key things. You can evaluate any team – one that’s working, or one that isn’t – using these three areas as a tool to assess what the issues, or strengths, may be.
Competence.This may seem like a blinding glimpse of the obvious but leaders must start with competence when building or evaluating teams. Ask yourself, can the people assembled perform in their specific area of responsibility? Competence is not necessarily a given so it’s always worth considering this carefully. You hope that the process you’ve set in place to attract, hire, and place talent has worked -- but nothing is guaranteed. Sometimes talented people can find themselves on a team where their skill set is not being fully or appropriately leveraged, or sometimes there’s a mismatch between style and culture etc. In reality, there are many factors that can undermine a team’s ability to perform.
That’s why it is imperative to think closely about whether or not a team has the capacity and competence to get the job done. When you observe an outstanding team, it’s not surprising to see that its members are highly competent; great teams are always comprised of extraordinarily capable and motivated individuals with the right skill set for the job at hand. They’ve got to have the chops.
Character.This is where things become more complicated. Competence alone is not enough to guarantee good results. Not by a long shot. Unfortunately, high-competence, low-character contributors do exist; it’s important to weed them out because their misdeeds can poison the entire effort of your team, or even your entire organization. If you have a superstar salesperson who pursues the sale with questionable ethics, or a communications whiz who undermines teammates in a desire to look good externally – their skills will not be enough to save the team. Maybe they can perform in the near-term, but not in a sustainable way. Ultimately, the low-trust environment created by a lack of integrity will jeopardize the team’s ability to deliver.
Can your people count on you to show up for them when it matters?So how do you assess character? We’ve developed a comprehensive leadership character checklist here, but the for the purpose of evaluating teams, it’s as simple as asking this question: does this person, or group of people, do what they say they are going to do? Do they deliver when it matters? Can I count on them – and can they count on each other? While there is a rich tapestry of behaviors that can contribute to a person or team’s overall character, it all really comes down to people doing what they say and having each other’s backs. Again and again. That’s how you build trust. And that’s how you gauge character.
I would also add that – as the leader, you’re part of the team, so you must hold yourself to the same standard. Can your people count on you to show up for them when it matters? Do you walk your talk? Make sure the answer is yes.
Chemistry.It is maddening, but perhaps fitting, that the final (and arguably most important) component of highly successful teams is the hardest to define. You might not be able to articulate exactly what comprises chemistry, but most people will tell you: you know it when you see it. And it’s important to think about as you’re crafting teams and building high-performance relationships.
Although chemistry can be an elusive thing to measure – in my experience, there are two things to think about: are their skill sets complementary and do they genuinely care about each other? You can’t have one or the other. Neither component alone guarantees the extraordinary work output that chemistry creates. You must have both. When each person can contribute fully to a team in a way that uniquely supports and improves the efforts of the other team members – and when each team member gets along and reallycares about the other individuals as people, not just as colleagues – that’s when a team is truly poised to make magic. There may be some trial and error; sometimes you’ll have to do some tinkering to a team to get the chemistry just right, but it’s worth it. A high-chemistry team will astound you with what it can achieve.
Chemistry can be an elusive thing to measure but you know it when you see it.How does your team measure up? As leaders, we’re depending on other people in a deeply significant way. And they’re depending on us. This is the truest in the case of teams. We can’t do our jobs without the support and skills of the teams we build, join, and grow. There’s an elegant symbiosis when we get it right. Everybody wins when we carefully ensure the triumvirate of Competence, Character, and Chemistry are in place. And, that doesn’t just apply to our teams; it applies to our own leadership in equal measure. We should assess ourselves inwardly using the same criteria we use to evaluate teams outwardly. Just as people need us to create the conditions for them to thrive in high-performance teams, they also deserve a leader who has the skills and character to lead and who genuinely cares about them.
About the Author:Douglas R. Conant is an internationally renowned business leader, New York Times bestselling author, keynote speaker, and social media influencer with over 40 years of leadership experience at world-class global companies. For the past 20 years of his leadership journey, he has honed his leadership craft at the most senior levels – first as President of the Nabisco Foods Company, then as CEO of Campbell Soup Company, and finally as Chairman of Avon Products. In 2011, he founded ConantLeadership: a mission-driven community of leaders and learners who are championing leadership that works in the 21st century. Learn more about leadership that works from Doug personally at his upcoming Boot Camp or join the leadership conversation by tweeting @DougConant, connecting with him via Facebook or LinkedIn, or exploring the suite of leadership resources at conantleadership.com.
Contact John Assunto for all of your Education Recruiting needs! Johna@worldbridgepartners.com or 860-387-0503
At the end of the meeting, my soon to be ex-colleague sat across the table from me and said something I will never forget “I didn’t know what my job was, why I was doing it and how I was doing.” It was those words that summarized almost exactly why the cliche “People leave managers, not companies” is true. Reality had set in, she was leaving me, not the business.
As hard as that was to deal with, the only way I knew how to handle it was to never let it happen again and start doing things differently from a leadership perspective. Fast forward 5 years and its become my purpose to not only improve my own leadership skills, but help others as well.
Just this week, I had Patrick Lencioni (author of 5 Dysfunctions of a Team) on the Follow My Lead Podcast and asked him, "Why do people leave their manager" and his answer was simple, yet profound.
“If people don’t get what they need from their manager they can’t possibly like their job and are eventually going to leave. At the end of the day, people need 3 things from their manager:
The Team Member Conversation
It doesn’t matter if you are a 20 year leadership veteran or you are a brand new manager, you should burn the following these words from Lencioni into your head and say this to any and every team member.
“I want to know all about you and take an interest in you, because I care, I want you to know why your job matters, and I want to give you a way to measure how it matters”At the end of the day if your people feel anonymous, irrelevant and unmeasured you stand roughly no chance as a leader. Once these kind of servant leadership conversations start happening with your people, you can turn your attention to the behaviors, actions and habits to ensure you execute on them. Because we all know actions speak louder than words.
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About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft and host of the Follow My LeadPodcast. He is also the author of F.M.L. Standing Out & Being a Leader, and is passionate about the development of modern professionals. You can find him on instagram @johngeades.
Being emotionally intelligent is without a doubt, one of, if not the most important trait in being an effective leader. Various studies throughout the past decade have shown that having a leader who is able to get results by tapping into both the positive and negative emotions of others, whilst being acutely aware of their own, is more likely to retain staff and improve employee relationships than anything else.
So, as a leader who wants to be as effective as possible, ask yourself, how do you measure up in terms of your emotional intelligence?
1. Can you spot negative emotions?Firstly, think about whether you are able to pre-empt negative emotions and stop them in their tracks. For instance, take the example of an employee who is feeling stressed, and then proceeds to take their frustrations out on the rest of the team. An emotionally intelligent leader will know their team members, and what triggers their negative thought patterns. They will be empathetic and will understand the cause of this emotion, but also be proactive in ensuring this emotion doesn’t have a knock on effect towards employee well-being, team morale and productivity.
2. Can you tap into positive emotions?Secondly, as a leader, you know that you will also need to nurture positive emotions within your team, as positivity equals productivity and productivity equals results. One thing that an emotionally intelligent leader will do in order to make this task easier for themselves, is try and understand what stimulates positive emotions in others, such as feeling inspired, motivated or purposeful. For instance, some of your employees may feel motivated when they know they are being trusted with an important project, others may respond better to clear and immutable deadlines. Everyone in your team is different, and it’s worth taking the time to find out what makes each of them tick.
In doing this, you can direct others in a way which resonates with them on an emotional level, as opposed to the outdated “command and control” style of leadership which, in most business contexts, just makes for a detached workforce.
3. Do you listen to people?Another facet of being an emotionally intelligent leader is being a good listener. Being able to listen to employees and make them feel heard is key in maintaining an engaged workforce who care about the objectives of the business.
Reflect upon how often members of your team come to you with ideas, issues and feedback. What about the meetings you lead? Do these feel like an inclusive conversation? If so, this suggests that you come across as approachable and interested in what people have to say, because you take the time to actively listen to those around you.
If, on the other hand, those around you simply nod and agree, reluctant to add their own input, then it may be time to brush up upon your active listening skills. During meetings and one on one conversations, be sure to ask everyone for their contribution, and show that you are at least considering what they have to say, whether it’s by agreeing, adding to their feedback, repeating it back to them to show you are listening, or taking notes. There are plenty of ways to show somebody that you are paying attention to them, and in the context of leading others, nothing motivates an employee more than them feeling heard.
4. Do you realise the impact of your own emotions?As a senior level employee, you are in a high pressure position. This can prompt negative emotions such as stress or anxiety, and this is something that happens to even the best leaders. However, the emotionally intelligent ones will be able to take a step back and recognise these emotions and the ways in which they could channel themselves into negative behaviour, such as becoming more withdrawn or on the contrary, more belligerent, snapping at those around them. They will take action, for example exercising to relieve stress, having a break, or communicating their issues to somebody who can help or at least listen. They do this so that they are in the best frame of mind possible to empathise, support and inspire those they lead.
In short, if you want to be an emotionally intelligent leader who engages their team, you must listen and understand them, identify and handle any of their negative feelings simmering below the surface, whilst doing your utmost to tap into positive emotions in order to inspire and motivate. However, you need to remember that these efforts can quickly be scuppered if you let your own negative emotions get the better of you. You need to take the time to care for your own emotional wellbeing as well as that of others. You owe it not just to yourself, but to the people looking up to you.
Found this post helpful? You may enjoy these other blogs:
· 6 bosses who drive their staff crazy
· Seven ways to keep your team motivated when times get tough
· Young leaders, here’s how to conquer your self-doubts
· Four things you should be doing to restore proactivity in your team
· Leaders – you need to raise your game on social media
· 6 leadership styles you need to succeed
· Great leaders put themselves second
Originally posted on Linked IN by: Lynne Roeder
Contact John Assunto for all of your Education Recruiting needs! Johna@worldbridgepartners.com or 860-387-0503
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