Friday, November 27, 2009

Breadth of experience is more valuable than depth of experience in business

All the evidence suggests that breadth of experience is more important in a new hire than depth of experience. Someone with depth of experience typically has much of their experience which is out of date. Also, they have usually not experienced different work environments and may have difficulty in adjusting. On the other hand, someone with breadth of experience has demonstrated flexibility and the ability to apply principles to many different situations.

However, most hiring managers value depth of experience more, as they believe that such a person will be able to step into a new job faster. While this could be true, it does not mean that they are performing better a year into the job, or even six months.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Watch out for bogus credentials

Someone I am coaching recently was interviewed by the CEO of a well known company. Looking up the profile of the CEO on LinkedIn, and the bio on the website, I saw that he had obtained a degree from a University that was new to me. I Googled it and it came up as a diploma mill that had been closed down for fraud fairly recently. We have seen CEOs a Radio Shack and Bausch & Lomb who were discovered to have claimed degrees they had not earned. I have several times interviewed people who were found to have falsified their credentials, yet clearly, people who do this can continue to prosper. Some people say that the falsification of academic credentials is growing as more degree granting institutions proliferate. However, let it me a warning to carry out due diligence before hiring anyone.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Internally driven businesses are everywhere

Over the past few months, for several reasons I have spoken with a number of businesses in technology, energy, and financial services which think that they know better than their customers what their customers want. It is fascinating to realize that the companies are each dedicated to serving their customers, but believe that because they are the expert, not the customer, they will decide what is good for them. I have seen this in many regulated businesses, where management and regulators each thinking that they should decide what the customer gets without listening to the customer. So the dissatisfaction is high and we wonder why.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The fear of software upgrades

The other day, as I was going through yet another software upgrade I realized that I was tense. On thinking about it, I realized that if all went well, I would have spent ten to fifteen minutes watching my computer whirr, and if all went well the software would work much as it did before. Perhaps it would have a few more features, but since I really did not know I needed them, the benefit would be marginal. On the other hand, there was a modest risk that it would not work, or interfere with other software, or require updating other elements. The times when the upgrade sticks in our memories are the times when it is a problem. So software upgrades are more dreaded than anticipated eagerly.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Golden age of everything is 11

We constantly hear about a "Golden Age." Yet so often the Golden Age to any of us is that which was prevalent when we discovered it at our own age of wonder - usually about 11.

Friday, November 06, 2009

"Micro-culture" is very important to how we behave and react

Most of the discussion of Malcolm Gladwell's book, "Outliers," has focused on the role which chance plays in success and the fact that each of us seems to need 10,000 hours to become really proficient at anything, whether sports or music, computer programming or chess. Another interesting part of the book discusses the role culture plays in so much else. In cultures where there is a huge status difference between superior and subordinate, there is a tendency for more airline accidents, because the First Officer is less likely to question the Captain. As we might suspect the cultures with the least awareness of heirarch are countries such as Australia, New Zealand, The USA and South Africa, whereas Asian countries have the greatest hierarchical awareness. This will also apply to other areas such as business, government or education. Change will be more difficutl in a culture in which subordinates are reluctant to challenge authority or received wisdom.