I'm Looking for Genuine People - Your Job Title Means Nothing to Me
According to a recent infographic posted to Twitter, the average age of workers at beBee is 29… putting me way above the average.
Perhaps that’s a polite way to say I have a few years under my belt.
I have some great experiences.
I started three companies, and led technology in three organizations that have taken on some big, hairy, audacious challenges. (Thanks Jim Collins for this phrase).
I also have quite a few scars and calluses gained from the things that didn’t go as planned.
I’d like to take credit for my victories, but all accolades go to the teams of magic makers who joined me in the journey.
My job was, again quoting Jim Collins in Good to Great, to get ‘the right people on the bus, and the wrong people off the bus’.
My job was to build the best team possible to achieve those lofty goals.
In my search for the best people, I have noticed a trend.
In my world of technology, there is a problem with posers and pretenders.
These are people that overestimate their abilities, or represent themselves as experts, when in fact my 85 year old mother probably has as much practical experience.
Some of them do so intentionally.
Others do so because they were deluded by their previous job titles.
In this sector, there seems to be a flagrant misuse of the terms “Manager”, “Director”, and “Chief Information Officer”.
Some ‘managers’ do not manage people, or projects.
Some ‘directors’ do not have even moderate budget accountability.
Some ‘Chief Information Officers’ are really Directors who have nothing to do with strategic influence in their organizations.
The title of “Engineer” is thrown about with impunity. It’s no wonder that those who have studied for years to become professionally accredited are upset with this. ‘Engineering’ implies a systematic, repeatable process, not a cool sounding title.
Now I know that ‘posers’ aren’t limited to the technology sector, but that is where my experience in building teams lies.
The startup world is full of ‘titled’ people. I know, I’ve been part of it.
There’s the day when the founders are sitting around the table and decide who gets to be the CEO, who gets to be the CFO, who gets to be the CTO, etc.
It can get carried away.
Some of those titles were deemed by the employer, but I see an increasing trend of people creating their own titles.
In the heady days of the pre-dotcom crash, I saw the business card of someone, and I’m not making this up, which read “Chief Giggles Officer”.
In my search for talent I do not look at job titles.
I look at their experience. That tells a much better story.
But not just the ultra-positive accounts on their resumes.
It doesn’t take long to separate the sh*t from the shinola. (That is NOT a Jim Collins quote).
I told you earlier that I started three companies.
Did you just accept that at face value?
It amazes me that most people do.
If I was recruiting myself for a position on my team (a bit esoteric… but I digress) I would certainly look for EVIDENCE that my claims were true. (The claim is verifiably true BTW).
Not only, ‘Did it actually happen?’, but ‘What was the scope and scale of this role?’
Was it a one-man shop where I was the President, the CFO, and the janitor?
Was it leading a team of over 100 people with a budget responsibility in the tens of millions?
Was there success? Why?
Was there failure? Why?
The people who represent themselves genuinely on their resumes, and do not hide behind titles or exaggerated experiences are the ones I look for to add to my team.
Why do I do this?
I ask my team for ‘magic’.
They have to rely on each and every member to bring value and skill to the table.
There is no room for bullsh*t.
No room for ‘Fake it till you make it’. (That doesn’t mean that people don’t grow into roles, it means they don’t pretend to be experts).
Not if you want magic.
So… let me wrap this up.
There is a problem with posing and pretending in this world - On resumes, and in particularly on Social Media.
Being genuine, being real, and knowing yourself well sets you apart from the crowds.
If you are pretending to be something you are not, it doesn’t take long for the wheels to come off…
… and the real ‘you’ is revealed.
There is one place you can be a pretender, and that is if you are a member of the Platters, and belt out this wonderful old ditty:
About the Author:
I’m the Chief Information Officer for Appleby College, in Oakville, Ontario Canada, where my team is transforming the delivery of education through innovative application of technology. I'm also a beBee Brand Ambassador.
I'm convinced that IT leadership needs to dramatically change how IT is delivered rather than being relegated to a costly overhead department.
In addition to transforming IT in my role as CIO, I look for every opportunity to talk about this... writing, speaking and now blogging on BeBee (www.bebee.com/@kevin-pashuk) , LinkedIn, ITWorld Canada, or at TurningTechInvisible.com.
I also shoot things... with my camera. Check out my photostream at www.flickr.com/photos/kwpashuk