Aug 10, 2007

Hiring good people

Prasad raises an important point. The thinking that the way to manage knowledge workers in turbulent times is to "Hire good people and get out of their way" is flawed.

That's because the definition of "good" is influenced by the history and context of what has happened in the past.

That's my essential grouse against approaches like competency mapping. Even when it focuses on the future, it relies on 'experts' to forecast the future. And we all know how reliable forecasts about the future are :)

Incredibly, the prescriptions of hiring on strengths and competencies and a working definition of "good" will help most in organizations that can extrapolate their growth from the past, and not those that are experiencing non-linear discontinuous growth.

In fact, I was talking recently to a HR leader of the telecom space in India and he said "You know, if an organization moves from the project stage to the consolidation and then to the maintenance stage, the fastest growing industries in India - telecom, insurance and banking - are always in project stage, for the last 9 years!"

Conventional thinking would have hired people who are good at consolidation and maintenance after the first 2-3 years in such industries, but that would have slowed growth.

Have you handled growth at places that have grown discontinuously? What approach worked the best?

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