Archives For leadership

Check Out my Book From Vendor to Adviser for advice on building these traits.

Check Out my Book From Vendor to Adviser for advice on building these traits.

Who Get’s Hired in the Future? Do You?

Great article today on who Google Hires.  Between HR and the Big Data Hiring Trends, and articles like this one (How to Get a Job at Google – from the NY Times,) we should all be rethinking the definition of a great hire. How many interviews have you sat through where the interviewers seem ill-prepared?  How many have you been involved in from the inside, where the hiring criteria are unclear…or maybe management is simply looking for someone with great contacts on the sales side, but not doing much to analyze the effectiveness of the candidate they are talking to?

With the ongoing instability of our economy, and the cost of hiring people who don’t perform, this seems to be an area companies are starting to think harder about. Google apparently takes this hiring thing pretty seriously…look at their criteria:

Google’s Criteria For Hiring:

  • “Google had determined that “G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless. … We found that they don’t predict anything.”
  • “The “proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time — now as high as 14 percent on some teams.”
  • “The No. 1 thing we look for is general cognitive ability, and it’s not I.Q. It’s learning ability. It’s the ability to process on the fly. It’s the ability to pull together disparate bits of information.”
  • “The second…is leadership — in particular emergent leadership as opposed to traditional leadership. Traditional leadership is, were you president of the chess club?…We don’t care. What we care about is, when faced with a problem and you’re a member of a team, do you, at the appropriate time, step in and lead…”
  • “Do you step back and stop leading, do you let someone else? Because what’s critical to be an effective leader in this environment is you have to be willing to relinquish power.”
  • “Ownership…It’s feeling the sense of responsibility, the sense of ownership, to step in…to try to solve any problem.”
  • “Humility to step back and embrace the better ideas of others. Your end goal is what can we do together to problem-solve.”

How do you measure up?

How can you improve in one or more of these areas? This explains why Google is so successful…great teams are made up of individuals with strong character.  If you look at this list, the thing that jumps out at me is the focus on character traits vs. skills and connections.  The focus on degrees, majors, grades,…all come up as meaningless.  And while the article did mention that people need to have programming skills – the emphasis was on these elements of character, not the skills.

Ability to listen and respond to problems – speaks about attentiveness and alertness…perhaps decisive action.  Taking initiative at the right time vs. having had a title at some point – this is a character trait, not a credential.  Willing to relinquish control – or deference, another character trait.  Responsibility or dependability…these are character traits.  And finally, one we don’t often hear from a large company – that of humility, an essential ingredient for someone who works in one accord with a team…This is a great list, one we should all take note of.

One of Benjamin Franklin’s Keys to Success was his practice of taking one character trait each month and focusing on developing it.

© 2014, David Stelzl

P.S. This past week I conducted a panel discussion, assessing what happened at Target – and lessons we should all learn from the Target IT Guy..you can view it in the SVLC Insider’s Circle!  Find out how to gain access to it for FREE right here.

Last night I was watching a video of Daniel Webster, former Florida State Senator, on leadership.  In it he describes 5 key elements of leadership that helped him achieve some remarkable things…before reviewing these  you should know, Daniel Webster ran for office unopposed for 28 years, was appointed house speaker against major opposition, and retells one account where he was flying somewhere to sign up to run for another term and while exiting the plane, ran into a man who introduced himself as someone getting ready to run for the state senate.  When he learned that we was talking to Mr. Webster, he turned around, got back on the plane and flew home.  Here is what he said:

Commit to:

1. Invest time in other’s agendas, helping them acheive success, rather than focusing on yourself.

2. Expect no more from others than you are willing to do yourself.  Never say, “That’s not my job.”

3. Give up the right to be in charge – focus on your own responsibilities rather than always pointing out other’s short-comings.

4. Accept responsibility – give up on expectations.

5. Earn the right to be heard.

Some wise words from someone who continues to win over their opponents.

© 2011, David Stelzl

Leadership and survival skills…how does one learn how to navigate through difficulty and face life threatening conditions?  Here’s one way…

We started out Friday in 19°F  weather under a blue sky:

Bethany, David, and I planned to cover about 15 miles over 3 days, however we didn’t plan on needing snow shoes based on past experiences at Mount Rogers Recreational Area.

Over several miles of strenuous hiking through deep snow drifts and snow covered trail blazes, our orienteering skills were tested giving me an opportunity to teach my children how to triangulate using topo maps and a liquid filled compass (yes, we actually still use a compass – which I find is a lost art).  David, my 15 year old son was leading, and keeping an eye on our time and progress.  Knowing the sun would be setting at 5:30 gave us a very limited amount of daylight to reach a safe campsite.  At one point David realized we would probably not make it and recommended an alternative route, which we all agreed would be best.

By 4:30 we had made it to our alternative campsite and set up as the sun was setting.  We ate freeze dried chicken teriyaki which David graciously prepared while Bethany and I set up camp.  By 5:30 the sun was setting and we ate overlooking the lights of Sparta NC in the distance.  Our campsite is at an elevation of close to 6000 feet – treeless, and reminiscent of the Sierras.

Our night was bitter cold, reaching down into the single digit temperatures…high winds and some snow!

On day two we opted for a day hike to Mt. Rogers…our first big challenge was to find water nearby our new campsite.  We were able to locate what appeared to be a creek about half a mile down the trail.  We set out, bottles and filter in hand, to locate this creek.  When we finally did come to what seemed to be a creek – it was covered in snow and no water seemed to be flowing.  David followed the creek down to a small iced-covered puddle and was able to break through to a shallow water collecting point.  We dug it out to create a small reservoir, let the water settle and began pumping.  Unfortunately the extreme temperatures caused our water filter to freeze up immediately.  The next idea was to fill our bottles from the source and boil the water.  This added some extra fiber to the water, but I’m sure we’ll live.

From there we set out on our day hike, climbing over ridges, rocks, drifts, and crossing windy balds.  The views were amazing.

Wooded sections near  Rhododendron Gap

Climbing over snow drifts and rock outcroppings

and returning to our base camp for dinner.  Here is a shot of the sunset – the start of a very cold night!

The next morning was bitter cold – here is a shot of my ice covered headlamp hanging inside the tent!

Once packed, we set out on the AT heading for the Massy Gap parking area and headed home.  We all agreed to do it again, next time with snow shoes!

© 2011, David Stelzl

Do you remember the names William Brewster and John Robinson from high school? Tomorrow we celebrate one of the great holidays of our land.  These men had a vision of freedom back in 1608, setting off to Holland to create a new life, free from the restrictions of King James and the Church of England.  12 years later they set a new course for America – this time not to find freedom, but to separate from some of the society ills they experienced in Holland.

The leadership demonstrated by these men should be remembered as you enjoy your time away from work, gathering with family and friends.  Leaving behind wealth and possessions, the pilgrims set out on July 22, 1620 – 102 men, woman, and children.  Over half of these people died in the first winter, yet the remaining group was determined to make this work.  Building homes, meetings halls, and developing their first legal document, they agreed to work together to establish a society in the Northeastern part of the US. They faced unfriendly natives, their meeting house burned to the ground (filled with patients who all managed to escape), and severe weather nearly wiped them out; yet they persisted through that first winter.

Working through the summer, mentored by a friendly Indian named Squanto, the Pilgrims were able to establish crops, rebuild buildings, and prepare adequately for the coming winter.  It was that fall, with an abundant harvest, that the Pilgrims joined together in the first Thanksgiving meal.  The day began with a prayer of thanksgiving, led by William Brewster; to thank God for all that He had done for them and for their friendship with the Indians.  The feast lasted three days and continues on as a tradition for many of us.  Enjoy your Holiday – Blessings to you and your family all over the world.

  • – Dave