What animals are you hiring ? Race horses, Work horses and donkeys

A former colleague of my wife called me up yesterday after he got an interview call from a company I know.  I was thinking what to tell him. Then I recollected one great article about hiring from Joel Spolsky (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel_Spolsky ) . He recommends that for every position we create in organization, we must define what kind of animal we want for it. While the animal kingdom is too large to map to positions, here is the simplistic mapping I always do.

I have been a horse rider. Riding  brings so much grace and gets you in harmony with one of the most admired and loved animal.

Its imperative to understand what horses are like . The discussion is equally applicable to individuals  Lets see :

1. Race Horses : One of the surprises I had during my riding stint was that race horses are very sensitive. They are raring to go on their own and can read signals very fast. When you rise on stirrup and land back, the lowest of your vertebrae connects with spine of a horse . An able horse takes cue from where the rider has landed. If you land on right edge of spine, the horse will turn to left and vice verca .  Once on an Olympic #5 horse, I pulled the reins too hard and the instructor immediately asked me to get down. He said by doing this I was spoiling the horse.  Great humans display behavior similar to race horses. They read the signals and act swiftly.  They have high velocity in their work rate Proactive people like race horses are rare.  They complete the tasks and communicate the results before the giver of tasks even  thinks of asking about it. Some of the brightest people I have worked with have displayed this swiftness. They anticipate the requirements in advance and delightfully surprise with their contributions. People of this type are suitable for organizations high on innovation, growth, ambition and targets. Best places to work for them are : high technology startups, innovative product companies, IPR generating organizations, 

2. Work horses : These are the creatures who move by the whip . As long as you keep whipping , they keep moving. They are often down the streets running only if they are intermittently whipped.  Bosses of  workhorses spent most of the time supervising the work of their subordinates. Most of the average people are like this. Constrained by their managers and whipped at regular frequency to keep doing the work.   People with low esteem and ambition typically behave like this.  The people pretend to work and the moment the supervisors are away they get into one pastime or the other. Another sign is these type of people tend to work very well and dedicated  near to months of assessment for salary hikes. One characteristic to check whether the hire is of this category is to check whether a person needs many reminders to do a job.  Most average organizations and IT services companies  are  replete with people belonging to this category. Majority of these people love the bench time.

3. Donkeys :  If we leave mules out for time being, the donkey type humans are the most recalcitrant ones. You ride them , kick them and they move an inch. You kick them on their a**  and they move a few inches to stand again. Normal kick doesnt move them. You have to kick them really hard at you  know where. These are the people who are not aligned  to the organization values and can frustrate even the most effective managers to hell. These men with thick skins would never leave an organization unless kicked out.   They are the ones who will be the biggest inhibitors to growth.. They would wait till they get pension, superannuation or thrown out.

Its very important that a person does a self assessment on what kind from the above 3 types s/he is .  Once identified, s/he would be better off finding the characteristic of organization s/he currently intends to join.

A  job, nowadays is not about the hike organizations give you. Its about how you are going to be living your years or at least months with a company. They  really matter.

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