How do you know when it’s the right time to look for leadership talent outside of your organization?

When we were hiring a lot of people at my former company, there was an inflection point. At the beginning you're small, you're scrappy and you hire a person who isn’t a rock star in anything very deep, but good enough wide. They've got all this tribal knowledge and they’re a great startup person. As the organization grew—and I could see it in the infrastructure team or the apps team—I began to see that the A player that was hired originally isn't always going to scale with the company. Sometimes they don't want to, to be honest, because it's too big or too bureaucratic. But it gets to a point where they become a B player going deep, and hopefully not a C player. Because now you've got people with very specific skills, like a cloud ops guy, or a dev ops gal. And the person you had hired may or may not want to manage that team or group. That's where I've seen a big inflection of folks who have that as their core competency: running large, web-scale infrastructure teams, or enterprise apps. There’s a shift from the jack of all trades to someone who is specialized. Then part and parcel of that, sometimes the folks that were the jack of all trades, hopefully they have enough equity because they were there early enough, and they begin the next startup. Or, they become a lifer with that company and become a manager.

9 views
2 comments
1 upvotes
Related Tags
Anonymous Author
When we were hiring a lot of people at my former company, there was an inflection point. At the beginning you're small, you're scrappy and you hire a person who isn’t a rock star in anything very deep, but good enough wide. They've got all this tribal knowledge and they’re a great startup person. As the organization grew—and I could see it in the infrastructure team or the apps team—I began to see that the A player that was hired originally isn't always going to scale with the company. Sometimes they don't want to, to be honest, because it's too big or too bureaucratic. But it gets to a point where they become a B player going deep, and hopefully not a C player. Because now you've got people with very specific skills, like a cloud ops guy, or a dev ops gal. And the person you had hired may or may not want to manage that team or group. That's where I've seen a big inflection of folks who have that as their core competency: running large, web-scale infrastructure teams, or enterprise apps. There’s a shift from the jack of all trades to someone who is specialized. Then part and parcel of that, sometimes the folks that were the jack of all trades, hopefully they have enough equity because they were there early enough, and they begin the next startup. Or, they become a lifer with that company and become a manager.
4 upvotes
Anonymous Author
As an executive, you can get to a stage where you believe that your organization is the only type of company that exists: If you stayed at a large tech company, that's literally your entire experience. The harsh reality is that's a very unique situation, it's not how most companies work. Therefore I think the standout hires are ones that come in and say, “Look, there's a whole world of ways to do things, you haven't had that experience and I have. Let me tell you what those options are and how they typically work.” Someone like Alan Mulally, for example, who led Ford Motor Company, he previously spent 32 years at Boeing. If you're a Ford Motor guy you've been there for years, you are dedicated to that company. But he came in from out of the blue and said, “I've managed Boeing for 32 years as a COO. There are 4 million parts that go into an airplane, and if 1 of those falls apart the plane falls apart. So I appreciate where you're coming from about recalls of cars and fixes and warranties, but I think I got it. I'm telling you the different ways to go about it.”
1 upvotes