Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Human Resources 2.0: Hiring folks you don't like

Hire people who make you squirm. Find happy employees and encourage them to fight and reward failure. Sound like weird management ideas? In some circles, they are. But when it comes to meaningful innovation and not the overloaded form of the word used by industry analysts and practitioners of management by magazine, these ideas can be essential to real game changing innovation...

To innovate, enterprise must do things that clash with accepted management practices, with common but misguided beliefs about the right way to manage any kind of work. In organization after organization, managers act as if they can keep developing new programs, services and solutions by adhering to old ways of managing people and making decisions. This happens even in organizations where managers say that innovative work requires different practices than routine work. Yet these same managers continue to use methods that force people to see old things in old ways, expecting new and valuable ideas to somehow magically appear.

One idea I advocate is in acknowledging and encouraging the hiring of slow learners (No jokes please about this is what us enterprisey folks do day in day out) and even encourage hiring people you don't need (No jokes about the outsourcing staff either). Great ideas at first glance seem counterintuitive to most managers. Research shows that innovation is increased whenever an enterprise does any of the below three things:

(1) increase variance in available knowledge
(2) see old things in new ways
(3) break from the past.

The above three are immutable. Doing without them will result in industry analyst forms of innovation and not anything that actually benefits the enterprise...

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