An HR corollary

A while back, Stuart quoted:

“You will always be known for the people you’ve hired.”
—Rikk Carey, 2006

It’s a great quote. It’s amazingly insightful. It’s also a very dangerous one because it has horrible consequences that are fundamental if ignored:

[My thoughts after the jump.]


The danger is that this might place too much emphasis on only one aspect of a company.

If you hire someone who doesn’t work out well, and that person does amazing work somewhere else what does that say? If you have a company with excellent people but those people are bad at executing, what does that say? If you lose half of the people you hire, what does that say?

Does it say that it wasn’t the “right fit”? Or, Does it say that you can pick ’em but can’t manage ’em? Or, maybe it’s just that time and chance happeneth on them all?

How unique must your criteria be that you must be so selective in hiring? So selective in keeping? Are those who leave so much worse than those who stayed or are they just different? What self-selection is going on between those who leave and those who stay? Are those criteria in line with the companies goals and values?

Maybe you have a baseball team with the largest fan base. You use the money to hire the best players, and compensate them the best. But you don’t win the World Series. What does this say? Savvy drafting does not make a great football team.

Great HR seems necessary, but it is not sufficient.

An addendum

“I’d rather be known by how I worked with the people I worked with.”
—Terry Chay, 2007

Success is more than selecting the right people.

It takes great leadership. It takes great management. It takes a little luck.

I’m amazed by everyone I’ve worked with because they were amazing people to work with. I’m happy of some of the stands I’ve taken. One time, years ago, this meant leaving a company in order to save the jobs of the people I managed. I’m still proud of that. But I’m ashamed of it too—in the end it did not help and, because the real problem wasn’t dealt with, it may have hurt. 🙁

I like to think that true success takes a little bit of appreciating that we, each of us, do stand on the shoulders of giants.

Each other.

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