The Missed Candidate

A candidate dropped out of our recruitment process last week. This was particularly tough as I had approached the candidate directly (we had worked in the same company a number of years ago) and we had a number of conversations on the role which I think we both felt was a good fit.

Truth be told we were too slow following up, and in this market that’s just too long.

Or is it?

Continue reading “The Missed Candidate”

Killing Your Darlings

And why having to is probably down to you

American Writer and Nobel Prize laureate William Falkner originally proposed that ‘in writing you must kill all your darlings’. A simple enough line that has been subjected to much analysis. Falkner’s line is taken to mean that a writer must let go of the elements of their work that they love, but are clinging to due to emotional attachment and not because they are progressing the narrative in any way. Those ‘darlings’ may have suited at their conception but as the story progressed it is plain that they no longer fit.

This same concept has morphed into many leadership articles as you can see here, here, here and most recently trending here.

The rationale is sound, and in many cases these articles emphasise the need for a strong or courageous manager to fire their ‘best’ people, but they often fail to mention where that same manager may be complicit in bringing about the conditions where such radical action is required.

Continue reading “Killing Your Darlings”

How we’ve always done it

How many times have you sat in a meeting where the final answer to why something is being done a particular way is ‘That’s how we’ve always done it’? Every time I hear this statement I’m reminded of a story that was related to me some time ago.

A number of monkeys are put in an enclosure by a group of scientists. In the centre of the cage, attached to the roof by a rope, hangs a banana. Looking ripe and delicious, it’s too much for the monkeys to resist. As soon as the first monkey reaches for it, all five are sprayed with freezing cold water causing them to rapidly retreat. Each time one of them approaches the banana, all five are subjected to the same drenching. Very quickly the group learns not to reach for the banana.

After some time, the scientists replace one of the monkeys with a new monkey. The new entrant, unaware of the consequences starts to move towards the banana. It is immediately attacked by the other four, and continues to be attacked until it two no longer approaches the banana.

Over time, the scientists continue to replace the monkeys one at a time until eventually all of the monkeys have been replaced. Each new monkey coming into the enclosure sees the banana, each time they make a move towards it, each time the other monkeys attack until it too learns not to approach the banana.

Whilst the attacks continue for every new monkey, none of the original monkeys remain in the enclosure; none of the current group have ever been hosed down and none actually know why they need to attack when the banana is approached.

Continue reading “How we’ve always done it”

Fixed Bid Projects and Estimation – Part 2

If managed not to slumber through Part 1 on estimation, then you find yourself waiting with bated breath for the dramatic climax of our tale of estimation and fixed bid projects.

For the sake of this discussion, a fixed bid project is a project that has a fixed price based on a defined timeline. Of the fixed bid projects that I’ve seen, the timeline often has a 10%-15% leeway on the timeline. The cost almost never does – so you can be late, but you’re going to swallow the cost. Also common, just to twist the knife a little bit more, is the penalty clause. If you miss the date, not only are you going to pay for the additional time and resources, but you’re also going to have to pay the customer for the privilege.

Continue reading “Fixed Bid Projects and Estimation – Part 2”