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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Culture over Talent over Skills

In my previous post I posited that measuring experience in years doesn't make any sense. It is a very difficult measure to define and it is missing the point. The way I see it both talent, ability to grow, and cultural fit matter more in recruiting. Skills can be learned.

That said I'm not saying skills are entirely worthless. You can make an entire career out of skill. Consider professional level athletes for instance. I think the situation is somewhat different in knowledge intense domains, however. It is more about adapting to the current realities and keeping current. Skills valuable yesterday might not be that tomorrow.

Culture - The Ultimate Force Multiplier

In the right context talent can flourish and skills developed. In the wrong context talent and excellent skills may go to waste. Culture is the ultimate force multiplier. That is something that cannot be separated from the business.

From this perspective the core questions are how to develop the right kind of culture that attracts the people you want. Recruiting the traditional way, ie. job ads and boards, is more of a hit or miss kind of thing. What if the people you want to recruit would find their way to you? What sort of things could you do to achieve this?

Develop Culture, Earn Talent

If you develop the right kind of culture, talent and skills will follow. If you dismiss the importance of culture and just focus on skills, results might be somewhat suboptimal. The business can work of course but you would be missing out on a lot of potential benefits. When the direction of business and individuals are aligned, results are made.

This is the reason why I see work ads focusing on skills misguided. There are smarter ways to attract the people you want and need. Forget years of experience and focus on fit. The skills will follow if you let the people to grow. Do not expect the people to be absolutely "ready" and you will have a much better chance of finding the talent that fits your organization.