The Value of Great Talent

How important is it to hire the right people? I think we all agree that we want to hire good staff, but defining what makes someone “right” can be difficult. Do they need to already have the technical knowledge or skills your job requires, or do they just need to be teachable? How important is it that they work well in a team environment, and how good does their spelling and grammar need to be? What about their oral communication skills? Is a college degree paramount, and if not, what other factors will you evaluate?

I’ll be writing a number of articles about hiring, interviewing, and personnel selection to tackle all of these questions, but in this blog post I want to step back a bit and lay the foundation. Doing a good job at hiring staff is incredibly important because great staff make a huge difference for your team and work. If you evaluate staff on a 1-5 scale, with acceptable performance being a 3, you might think that someone who is a 5 is about twice as good as the average staff member. In reality, that person may be ten times better, despite you paying them the same amount.

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Review of The Mythical Man-Month by Fred Brooks

Mythical Man Month book coverThe Mythical Man-Month was recommended in a master’s class on project control systems. You don’t need to be a graduate student to understand this text, though, nor do you need to be a programmer. Originally written in 1975, Mr. Brooks draws from his experience guiding the development of an operating system, as well as a tremendous amount of research conducted by a number of individuals, to talk about a variety of challenges in management. In the 20th anniversary edition, four additional chapters are included where Mr. Brooks reviews what he wrote and talks about whether he feels it still applies or not. In almost every case, he stands by what he wrote, and I do too.

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