[Strategy] 1…2…3…What Are You Hiring For?

Entrepreneurs (some of them) remember what business owners of all types have forgotten, at scale:

You get the conflict culture you hire for.

Think about it.

If you hire people that are looking for the organization to guide them to another level in their careers, past self-doubts, bumps in the road, dips in projects, and changes in the economy, you will create a resilient employee culture.

If you hire people that are looking for reassurances, permission, the answer to “Is this going to be in the test?,” and people who want to be paid extra to give extra, don’t be surprised when your conflict culture is based in avoidance, delaying, surrender, and a lack of responsibility and hiding.

If you hire people that are empathetic, focused on others and their experiences (customers, clients, etc.), who can make courageous decisions and take action in the face of a lack of standard operating procedures, but still justify those decisions in the context of advancing organizational goals, values, and growing the brand promise, then you have created an organizational culture that people (customers, clients, etc.) will cry out for.

The trouble is that with 20th century mass production came mass hiring. With mass hiring the organizational idea grew that your organization wasn’t doing well, unless it hired everybody in a given pool based on factors that had little to do with your organizational culture, e.g. they lived close, they had the “right” credentials, they answered the questions in the interview in the “right” way.

Well, the era of being able to accomplish goals and do work at scale that matters with just anybody off the street, has passed; and, what has replaced it is ever smaller groups of people, doing more and more work that matters, using emotional intelligence, caring, resilience, and empathy to manage the inevitable conflicts that come with change.

If you want your organizational conflict culture to look—and people in it to have the courage to act—in a transformational manner, and be successful in an ambiguous business future, then hire for it.


But don’t complain that you can’t get where all the other organizations are getting, with customer and client awareness, attention, trust, and revenues, when you don’t hire for those outcomes.

And don’t complain when your “best” people leave the conflict culture that you hired for, for a more robust culture across the street.


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