People over Positions

This is the eighth part of a 12-part series featuring snippets from our new book, Team by Team. The only team building book ever written by the actual team. You can buy the ebook here.

Articles in this series:

  1. Selfishness: The Key to Teamwork
  2. Failing Forwards
  3. Stretch vs Support 
  4. Teeming with Teams
  5. The Honey Badger
  6. Say What You Mean
  7. Meditation over Mediation

Recruit for opportunity not necessity

We’ve just put a job advert out. The start date is six months from now. We’re not even sure if we have the work for them yet. We’re not even sure what our organisation will look like in six months. It all moves so fast in this place. But what we do know is great people are hard to find and we want to work with great people.

Often organisations wait until someone hands in their notice before they think about recruitment. It might seem like a risky strategy to start a recruitment process if no-one is leaving, or we don’t know what work we will have. But we are trying to build something. Our philosophy is “grow to grow.” So rather than waiting  to recruit out of necessity because someone has left or the workload is so much people are under pressure and suffering, we recruit for opportunity. If we get the right people into our organisation, simply because they are the right people, we know that they will do everything to be a success and create the opportunities.

The job adverts we put out at Interactive Workshops are pretty vague. I remember reading it when I was applying and thinking, “But what exactly will I be doing?” But also, “The unknown makes it pretty exciting.” Now I’m here it makes perfect sense. Not only has my role evolved and changed over the past year but I’ve been able to make it my own.

By recruiting people for opportunity, not necessity, we don’t mould someone to fit a job description. Instead the person almost creates the job description as they go. Yes, there are some parts of the job that they have to do, but let’s work to that person’s strengths and motivations so that what they do at work, they do with all their passion and energy. If we wait to fill positions, there is an urgency required and it becomes much more difficult to look at the person because we worry about the job that needs to get done. We might rush it. We might hire the wrong person. We all know that can lead to a multitude of problems.

It might seem simple but hiring people for who they are, rather than positions, doesn’t come without its challenges. We must be patient enough to let that person learn and also flexible enough to allow them to carve out their role.

This might mean they end up doing a role we didn’t even think they would be doing. But that’s where the fun happens, right? By giving people the freedom to pursue work that brings them to life, we let people explore, create and innovate. They grow to grow and in the mean time we grow to grow too. Win win.

“By giving people the freedom to pursue work that brings them to life, we let people explore, create and innovate.”

So we’ve just put a job advert out. The start date is six months from now. We’re sure we will have the work for them because we will only hire great people who will make it happen. We’re sure our organisation will look different in six months, it will be bigger and better.iw


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