Hire People For What They Can Do, Not What You Want Them To Do

Don’t waste talent. Focus on making them shine at what they’re good at (Michael J. Fox in the movie “The Secret of My Success”)

Companies hire subject matter experts to lead teams and be business leaders only to find out that they suck at it.  Just because people are good at one thing doesn’t mean they will perform well in unproven areas too.

The Solution

Factor in The Halo Effect when making decisions about who to work with. Verify how competent people are in areas you expect them to be good at and make up any deficiencies removing or adding people to fill the gaps.

1. Focus on strengths

Give them a chance to shine at what they are really good at and not be lumbered with responsibilities they are not comfortable with. When Yahoo hired Marissa Mayer to be their CEO, they hired her for what she was great at, not what they wanted her to be good at. Her experience, vision and capability has helped Yahoo improve important business metrics

2. Deal with weaknesses

Super stars can’t be good at everything. So, let them be great at what they are good at and get other team members or external resources to fill important missing capabilities. Be sure to highlight what skills they may lack in turn and fill them too. Use a Responsibility Assignment Matrix or RACI to show relationships and map out roles and responsibilities

3. Create advocates

Educate your team, stakeholders and the rest of the business to understand what each team member does and needs at key stages of a project. Raise the level of empathy so expectations are set right and support can be given at the opportune time. UX Designers are a minority in most tech companies. An appreciation of design best practices together with some training will enable other members of the team to stand up, promote and even complete lower level UX tasks to help out; increasing productivity and fostering a shared sense of responsibility.

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