Who Am I Looking For?

I’m currently recruiting for a couple of roles: Head of Engineering and Head of Products. In chatting to the exec, recruiters, my mates and wider network, something that’s come up a lot is who am I looking for? It’s a damn good question because working with and for good people is really important to me. Like really important.

I thought I’d share.

Firstly I really really don’t want to do your job for you, that’s why I’m looking for you. Sure I (think I) was a pretty decent software engineer, sure I’ve spent like forever architecting highly scalable real-time platforms, but I’ve got different (not bigger, but different) fish to fry. This is a really important point to me because we certainly have different levels of accountabilities and abilities to affect the outcome (both in success and failure), but we all need to play our part outwards, not top down or any other fashion.

No BS and politics. Period, as in period, period.

What I need is for you to be damn good at what you do, own the function, lean towards a bit of a servant-leadership style of things and be super present. Oh and being a top person is a bit of a must, you’ve just got to fit into a team and be a team player. If you can’t enjoy some humour at and from people above, below and beside you (in the HR org chart), you’re probably need not read on. And if you can’t have a beer (figuratively, or not so) with the team, again, need not read on. But if you can, put your company card behind the bar (figuratively, or not so again) and show some love to your folk. Make sure you can enjoy.

You know when we get put under pressure or new / unexpected things come up, there are going to be cracks and gaps that appear, most noticeably ones that no one knows much about, something totally new to the team and outside the comfort zone. You’re gonna need to feel cool to step in and own some of those for us. Take point, and I’ll not only personally appreciate it, we’ll back you and give you whatever you need.

I’ll be sharing the outcomes we need and why we need them, I’m gonna need you to work out the best method and why we need those. Win the minds and hearts, speak clearly, openly and sincerely and if all else fails, make the call. No call is the worst call, don’t make that call.

You’ll also need to be open to new stuff yourself, and not always have the answers. Someone you never expected may have the idea or answers and you’re gonna need to be not only good with that, but champion it and praise it.

If you can run stuff well and have genuinely happy and engaged staff, I can get on and do what I need too. If all my DR’s are doing the same, well actually you probably don’t need me there a lot of the time, which is just as well because I probably won’t be. I’ll be facing into some other storms, selling what you’ve done and built or hey, even might be on vacation from time to time.

I’m gonna ask that you never surprise me and I’ll do the same, let me know early, let me lend some thoughts / experiences over to your side and I’ll see how I can help. But don’t let something fester, and bring it to me when it erupted. Eruptions aren’t good.

I commit to all my staff and I extend the same to you: I’ll communicate all that I can, as soon as I can, as complete as I can. I’ll take any and every question and answer it honestly and completely, the only caveat to that is if there is a degree of confidentiality around it, in which case I’ll tell you exactly that. 

You’ll need to bring something in with you though, and please be prepared for that. You’ll need to pack some energy each and every day. It’s my view that real energy causes something awesome in a team or relationship and you can’t create magic without it. Energy is your mandatory entry ticket.

In terms of the role, come on, you know its a guideline and will need flex. We’re all gonna have some cross-overs, hell we may even have opinions on things that aren’t in our remit. Lets not all be too precious about the 10 point font in your position description. Lets draw upon each other to get the best results, we actually do win and lose as a team.

Beware though, you’ll need to put in a decent shift. That doesn’t have to mean time, it means quality. But what’s very very important is that you’re gonna need to be able to ease off when you can too, soak up the calm and spend it with friends and family if you get a moment. If you travel for a week overseas for us, come home and your child is receiving a certificate at the school assembly, get to the damn assembly and beam as they beam at you. School camp? Get on the the school camp!

To much to ask? I don’t think so. I’ve met many people in my professional and personal life who easily fit the bill, I’m proud to say I have some who work with me right now. I’d like a couple more.

Lastly, be bold, be really bold. Nothing awesome is done without some good old boldness. Don’t tell me you’re not ready, you’re always ready, you just may not know or be comfortable with it yet. The only thing that might be holding you back is you, so get some boldness and move forth. Oh, and don’t leave the handbrake on while you’re at it, if it’s on yes you’ll have higher overall success rate, but you will slow us down, potentially all the way to failure. Don’t slow us down now!

Lastly, lastly, if you come on board, never ever ever (ever!) throw your role on the table. Never ever say ‘As the <INSERT ROLE HERE> I am’… Don’t bring your User Story form into your team engagement. That would be poor form (everyone knows who the hell you are), disrespectful and just totally unnecessary. Just get on board, lend some muscle and lets crack into it.

Who am I looking for? I think you might know by now.

Note: I originally posted this as Who Am I am I looking for on LinkedIn in April 2018 as a tongue in cheek recruitment message for character needed and slightly tweaked for this post.

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