Hidden Work

I was reading this guide on How to Hire Remotely and landed on this book summary of Who: A method for hiring.

Judging from the summary and the reviews on Amazon, the book is well written, meaty, no fluff, contains a robust and comprehensive framework, includes very actionable tools and tactics, the step by step, the how tos, the mindset and considerations to adopt by the time you’re hiring.

Basically if you followed everything here to a T, you will have solved the hiring issue.

Hiring is a critical expensive problem every organisation must face. In an ideal world every organisations would prioritise people, hiring, and management. But we know the world is a messy place and there are trade offs to everything.

But how often will all of this get implemented in an average company and how close will it get rolled out to its ideal scenario and outcome?

I think of all the work it involves to get an organisation / company to adopt this.

The idea would need to fall into someone’s radar, either top down or bottom up, and possibly multiple times before that person(s) decided to take action and is ready to make all the trade offs to get this implemented. Then getting the buy-ins, familiarising the stakeholders, onboarding the framework to HR and decision makers, setting up the processes, getting the individual to contribute (getting people managers to actually sit down and think about the Mission, Outcomes, and Competencies for their respective teams. The communicating, following up, paperwork).

Convincing people that this all is worth their time and energy, of the vision why this is a good idea, sustain that vision, and let it take the time it takes.

Friction, inertia, momentum. And entropy.

Which is why consulting is the real business model behind most non fiction books. To implement the ideas described in the book. Getting from information to results.

We have no lack of “what to do” and “how to do” to almost everything. We know but we can’t / don’t do.

In an average startup or small scale operations, the focus is less on robust hiring but rather survival mode. Firefighting, building, and, yikes, getting to profitability.

In a large corporation, the inertia against changes is large. I suspect a combination of “don’t fix what’s not broken” and “it’s just the way it’s been done around here” are strong enough to discourage people from proposing changes to the status quo. We just get used to some problems and accepted the monkey patches and coping mechanism as the new normal.

In a stable medium sized organisation, it depends on the culture and vision. But from what I see, this is the ideal audience for this book, who can reap the most benefit from the book.

I can see why bad management is a difficult problem to solve. People just complain, but to actually change things for the better is indeed a large complex task.

A company could start with a very open and agile culture but it can’t avoid evolving throughout the different stages. And it’s all natural. It makes me appreciate well-run organisations a lot more.

Organisation design is fascinating.

It also makes sense why projects get abandoned. Changing incentives, evolving processes, problems, and contexts.

It’s easy to blame and indulge in lazy narrative, to complain, but it’s not that simple. There’s a lot of factors at play. The world is endlessly interesting.

At the risk of stating the obvious here: starting, growing, and maintaining a successful business is a complicated matter. There is a lot of hidden work that we forget by the time we see the final product. The tiny decisions, the menial tasks, the collaboration, the drudge. The small things that compound. The failed experiments and attempts. The learnings and wins.

As a part of different organisations and social structures (systems!), my takeaway is everything I do matters. Things I do on a day to day basis might seem insignificant, but they are not inconsequential.

As a creator, my takeaway is that even though an idea I put out there doesn’t get fully implemented, absorbed and applied, it can still be useful and have some impact to others.

This also applies to things in life. Our goals, habits, getting stuck in life situations.

We sort of know where we want to get to, we see other people’s highlights, people who seem to have the results we want, but we can’t wrap our heads around the things it takes to get there and manage our own expectations and spirit on our journey to get there.

Also published on Medium.

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