The first time I met my wife, I felt that she wasn’t feeling overly included in the group discussion so I picked up some confetti that was decorating the table we were sitting at and threw it at her. Everyone stopped chattering, turned to Stephanie to look for her reaction, and silently wondered why-on-earth what just happened, happened. Mission accomplished. She was now the centre of attention. However, instead of gratitude, all I got was labelled. It turned out that she hates being the center of attention. I know that now.
It took me two years to get her to date me. Fourteen years later we’ve been married for twelve years and have three beautiful girls. My point is this: reproduction requires attraction, attraction requires fit, and fit is not always self-evident. Sometimes we ourselves don’t know who is a fit for us. In relationships, we typically figure this out through trial and error. In business, we tend to do the same. In relationships, this causes a lot of pain. In business, this does the same and is really expensive.
Healthy organizations are constantly reproducing themselves, their leaders, and their products. Healthy organizations also need to attract people to them in order to reproduce, and we must know who is a fit for our organizations in order to attract and keep great people.
It is rare to find an organization that has defined what it means to be a great fit.
The last non-profit I worked for prior to starting Hölmetrics didn’t have a clue what it meant to be a fit until they realized you didn’t. My boss once told me straight up, “You stick out like a sore thumb.” It still took me two years to leave the organization. It might seem harsh, but if someone in leadership is telling you, “You don’t fit” take it as a gift and run – it’s the next best thing to figuring out your fit before you take the job.
Why are we so bad at defining who a good fit is? Is it because we’re too picky? Too specific? Too defined? I think it’s because we’re not defined enough; we haven’t taken the time to think through who we are as an organization. Is who we have working for us right now a fit? Who are the five employees we wish we could clone? What do they have in common? What about them works for this organization? Who’s the one person we wish wasn’t a part of our organization? Or at least possess one or two qualities that drive you bananas? Define them. Write them down. Make a list. Publish that list. Give it to everyone on your team. Get their feedback. Figure out a way to determine whether or not that next hire has those right qualities, and doesn’t have the wrong qualities. Maybe we make new candidates take personality tests and do escape rooms.
Zappos is legendary for its polarizing culture based on its ten core values, which include Create Fun and a Little Weirdness. If you don’t like fun and haven’t embraced the part of you that’s a little weird, you’re not a fit at Zappos. If you don’t think wearing a tutu on Tuesday sounds like fun, it’s not for you. If they offered you a large sum of money (I think now it’s over $1000) in your interview to NOT take the job, and that seemed too good to be true, take the money and run. Zappos has done a great job at defining what a great fit is. They are the exception to the rule.
How are you going to break the rules for your next hire?
– Chad Verity, CEO