I’ve been thinking a lot about needed skills a lot recently thanks to a project I’m pretty involved with seems to be staffed with people with all the wrong skills. They’re very skilled in their areas of expertise but for some unexplainable reason the team needs basketball players and we have a bunch of very good football players. The fact they’re good in a sport is helpful but not ideal.
The challenge is that instead of us getting together, working out some small skill gaps, there’s a faction of the team who needs not only to be taught about the game of basketball but also something akin to – this is a basketball. Do not chew on ball, nor tackle others with the ball. It’s unhelpful. And, making things worse is that nearly all the oversight on the project aren’t really into sports but have been put on the team because they’re major contributors to the Arts and Sciences.
When in discussions on building a team or staffing, I’ll inevitably pull out my favorite quote from Disney, which is “you can’t train what you didn’t hire.” A simple phrase that pushes groups to really understand the skill sets and personality types needed before looking for the right people. Are you looking for an outgoing Type A for a front desk? Well, don’t hire a type B introvert. Need a number cruncher? Don’t hire an artist. Got some writing work? etc, etc.
Funny, until recently I never really understood the concept. In fact, it’s helping clarify a number of things for me concerning staffing at INKtopia / TechWhirl. We’re looking to add a few part-time folks over the next six months to help us with a few of our INKtopia Consulting projects. We would have been careful to hire before my current experience, but now our prep work pre-recruiting will be doubly important.