A good friend was in town over the weekend, and as we were sitting around my living room drinking our morning tea, the conversation shifted to our work. Her organization is looking to hire a position, which isn’t abnormal, but she said that this time, her team has put out a few ads in targeted locations so they can get the resumes to come back to them instead of going through HR. “After all,” she said, “We know what we need and they don’t.”

We batted around a few more ideas orbiting this topic and as I talked about it, I felt my face getting flushed and my voice becoming more intense. I was noticeably upset by this topic; my friend had zeroed in on a key frustration I have with business.

Right now our organizations are structured to treat everyone the same. They act as if we can give a set of tasks to one person and the same set of tasks to another person and those two unique people will perform those same tasks in the same manner.

This is, in business terms, bullshit.

No two people can EVER perform the same tasks in the same way, because we are all hopelessly, unequivocally unique.

But we persist in ignoring this truth, in almost every facet of our businesses.

The truth is, all hiring should happen at the local, team level. The fact that we’ve outsourced this process to some disconnected HR group is ridiculous at best and downright destructive to our organizations at worst. And this “recapturing the hires” process is going to keep happening in our organizations, because people within local teams are increasingly realizing that a job is made up of WAY more “non-task” things than “task things.” For the most part, the tasks a person performs are actually the smallest part of their job — positively dwarfed by things like personality, culture fit, value-alignment, intrinsic motivation, likability, etc.

What will it take for our organizations to start leveraging the unique strengths of individuals instead of fighting them?


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