Hire for Attitude, Train for Skill

If you take the time to listen to this, you will have a greater understanding of personalities at your workplace.

Why do start-ups & new products fail?

Chasing investors, not customers. 6%
Not having the Right Co-Founders. 8%
Building something nobody wants. 36%
Fail to execute Marketing & Sales. 12%
Not making sure that you have enough money. 3%
Lack of focus. 13%
Hiring poorly. 18%

1. Bring the right people on the bus, then find for them the right seat on the bus.
2. Get the bad people off the bus (Jim Collins, Good to Great; he’s also got articles).
3. Hire for Attitude, Train for Skill (Crestcom Training)
Impossible to make a short but fast player a tall player.  Have to be tall first.
4. Hire a person who does not need to be monitored. This is the most important single attribute of a worker. He completes his tasks on time, within budget, and according to specifications, but in between he does not have to be monitored.  He does not require managing.  (Dr. Gary North)

Most companies have a set of noble values that are often even prominently displayed on the walls.

But in practice, hiring is seldom aligned with these values because these values are not part of the evaluation during the hiring process.

One of the company’s wanted traits is “team working” but the hiring process never discerns between candidates that are team workers and those who are not.

No wonder that these values are also not practiced within the company.

Many companies have a “no asshole role” (Professor Bob Sutton [his YouTube videos here], Stanford University), and they practice it for “incompetent assholes,” but they never practice is for “competent assholes.”

Everybody knows what an asshole is.  An arrogant person is an asshole. 
Selfish people who eat all the food in the refrigerator and don’t replace it is an asshole.
People who cut in line during lunch is an asshole. 

So what’s the company’s mistake?  Never practice policy for competent assholes.  We are not going to hire him because he is a competent performer.

“We have decided that we are not going to fire him, because he is a high performer.”
“For that one single bad trait, he has four good traits going for him.”
“[Data scientists/engineers/. . .] are hard to replace, so we will manage it.”

Graph by Dr. Cameron Sepah at the 5:30 mark.
Nice guys act according to their values. Assholes operate on values that they promote themselves.  Incompetent Nice Guys are a problem for management.  You can try to improve them, but if you have the choice of hiring them or not, then don’t hire them.  The problem is the Competent Asshole.  The Competent Asshole has some good traits, he puts bread on the table.

There is no knowledge about the deeper reasons why people act in a weird way.  Cognitive-Affective Empathy Matrix.  7:20 mark.  The range of cognitive empathy is from NORMAL TO AUTISTIC.  Funny.

COGNITIVE EMPATHY: One person who understands another person’s mental state.


COGNITIVE EMPTATHY:  Someone falls from a bicycle and you immediately think, “How embarrassing is it to fall from a bicycle!”  you understand the other person’s mental state—the other person is embarrassed.

AFFECTIVE EMPATHY is more than COGNITIVE EMPATHY.  Affective empathy is the personal capacity to respond within the appropriate emotion with another person’s mental state.  With our example of the bicycle, if one person sees another person falling from a bicycle will feel pity immediately and go to help that person.  INTACT & IMPAIRED AFFECTIVE EMPATHY.

Empathy recognizes or detects emotional dynamics and sees appropriate steps to take but is constrained somehow.

Many companies have a “fire quickly” rule (Sam Altmann), but they never practice it, because of a fear of exercising it, especially when the respective person is skillful.

Problem: exceptions should not be made, otherwise it shows that your values are merely aspirational. 

Sam Altmann was mentioned.

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