What Skills Do We Need To Have For The Changing World Of Work?


Tuesday, 8.46pm

Sheffield, U.K.

It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do. – Steve Jobs.

What do you think is the main reason why companies fail?

Is it because of the competition? The market? Costs?

Tempting as it is to blame external factors for failure, we all know that the root cause often lies within.

People and organisations fail not because of what’s going on outside but because they just can’t change inside.

And that’s something investors, in particular, understand.

Elephants, for example, don’t gallop.

You won’t get high returns from large companies – they’ll lumber on but the real action happens at smaller firms.

And this is something worth understanding.

Any increase in size has the potential to slow you down.

One extra person, one extra line of code or one extra meeting all add up frighteningly quickly.

But many places of work just haven’t figure out the cost of all that extra stuff they’re hauling around.

And a major drag is people.

People like you and me.

So what can you do to stay attractive as a new hire?

You could do worse than follow some rules laid down over the years.

Joel Spolsky pinched two rules from Microsoft, and looks for people that are smart and get things done.

He added the one about not being a jerk.

And then there is Matt Mullenweg and his creed where he writes about the importance of communication, in particular, written communication.

Now clearly, this not the most politically correct approach to hiring and there is value in diversity.

But the fact is that in the fairly narrow field of knowledge work where we spend a lot of time messing around with computers checking these four skills will make you a lot easier to work with.

And you’ll find working with someone like that so much easier as well.

Or maybe not.

The best thing to do with smart people is let them get on and do the job the best way they can.

Which means that organisations of the future should really figure out what remote working looks like for them.

Bringing people into the office is a waste – a waste of time commuting, a waste of time in meetings and a waste of productivity through interruptions.

The only reason to bring people together is to socialise – where there is no reason to work and the point is to get to know one another.

The rest of the time we’d be better off at home or in an office with a door – working.

The fact is organisations that want to attract the best talent are already doing this.

The ones that aren’t are dying – they just don’t know it yet.

Their disease is an internal one.

And one that they have the power to change without involving anyone else.


Karthik Suresh

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