Let me just start by saying I read a lot of articles about people development, leadership, what to do with your resume, what not to do with your resume, questions should you ask potential candidates, what should a candidate do to prep for an interview….the list goes on.
Why all this reading? It’s a little like school for me. It’s the “research and development” part of my work that gives me the inspiration for thoughtful observations on how to navigate the complicated world called work.
I am inspired by what I read quite often. More often than not I’m inspired by something that’s connected to something else I read. (That’s that human “thinking” brain I keep talking about, the one that’s not a robot that connects disparate ideas. But I digress. The conversation about our non-robotness is a conversation for another day.)
This is not about me and my reading habits. It’s about you. Specifically, a question I have for you. But all that chatter is to set up the question. Let me set up the scenarios …
Today, I came across an article about a CEO that received 8,000 birthday cards on his birthday. One from every single employee in his company. I was intrigued. I learned that he writes a birthday card to every person in his company every single year. 8,000 birthday cards for his 8,000 employees. The cards from his employees who wanted to return the kindness. How nice is that?
A few minutes later, I was reading about another leader who was giving advice about talent. The manager explained that talent might have been right for a role in the past in the company but might not be right for the role today. The role had evolved beyond the person’s capabilities. In reading this perspective initially, I thought, “wow that’s harsh!” But the manager went on to explain that the company wasn’t a family, they were a team. To succeed, all players needed to be the best player for the role. [Side note: this company is the kind of company you’d JUMP for the chance to join. It’s a cool company.]
These two very different leadership approaches made me think about the third management company conversation. A prominent CEO of a very large and successful company was talking about how he hires for the most senior positions in his companies. In a nutshell, he looks for capabilities, finds someone he thinks might have them, then throws them into the deep end. Better yet, if the person has rich experience and success in another area of the business, all the better. He believes that by throwing great talent into the deep end, while they might flail around a little, they’ll figure it out and when they do “they’ll go.” Well, that’s certainly one way to learn. Funnily enough, I was part of this organization a while back. I was thrown into the deep end more times than I can count. It was a crazy, slightly terrifying place at times but I learned a lot.
So back to you and my question. These are three VERY different companies with very different leadership styles.
I’m curious, which company and leadership team would you want to work with?
- Company A – The CEO who clearly believes his people come first but the product isn’t super sexy and maybe not “changing the world”.
- Company B – The company is cool as all get out but you might get kicked off the team if you’re not the “A” player they need anymore.
- Company C – The company is enormous and complex, but in its size and complexity you might get the opportunity for a learning opportunity boost.
Sure, there’s much more to these companies than these leadership scenarios. Don’t get all wound up about this. But really, in many cases when you’re interviewing with a company, this might be the only differentiators between roles. Which one would be the place for you?
I have a hunch we’ll get answers across the board. Put your response in the comments. I’d love to hear your answers, you know, for research.