SETsquared Blog

Where's your why?

I was privileged to go to the Big Omaha conference in Nebraska earlier this month. Truly awesome speakers.

Recently I've had the pleasure of sitting on the panel for a number of interviews for a new position at Startup Weekend. It's a rather nice change to be on the other side of the table for once! Although having said that, I think i've only ever been the interviewee once and that was for this Global Scholars program which is why i'm here in the states!

A nation of pride.

Anyway I digress! Back to the blog. For the last two or three months at least i've been very interested in the 'why'. WHY we behave the way we do, WHY we respond to situations in a particular way and WHY we do the things we do. What are the reasons behind the decision making process and is it possible to influence that process for the better? I think my thoughts were crystallised into something more defined after watching Simon Sinek at TED. To be able to influence the decision making process or 'why' process in a constructive fashion will take a thorough understanding of an individuals reasoning and rationale and so I have set myself a goal to dig much deeper into this subject.

A glimpse from the golden days and the wild west.

So now back in the Startup Weekend interview panel I find myself wondering two things. Why are the interviewees here? What is their real underlying motivation and secondly why do the interviewers take a liking to some people over others? Candidates are screened of course by their resume before they even get to the interview, they're all skilled and could probably all do the job well. So why are some a definite no and some a definite yes? Well it all comes down to the WHY.

Somewhere between Phoenix, Arizona and Omaha, Nebraska. It was like this almost the whole way!

If candidates demonstrate a real energy, demonstrate that their passions are reasonably aligned with the company's, demonstrate that the reason they want the job is the same reason that the interviewers are in their job then they seem to be liked. The hiring process isn't about your skills, sure you have to be able to do the job, but it's more about how well you resonate with your employer. How well to you fit with the company.

A glimpse of the road ahead.

I've asked many different companies this one question: "If you had to choose between a 99% employee who didn't really gel that well with the rest of the team and wasn't such a good fit or an 80% employee who was an excellent fit, who would you choose?" Invariably the answer comes back with the 80% guy. My conclusion is that it's not about WHAT you do, what your skills are or how perfectly you can complete a task. Instead it's about WHY you do it, how well you connect on an emotional level with the rest of the team. As long as you have the right 'why', you can learn the right 'what'.

The Starbucks world HQ. I had a meeting here with the CMO last week. Marc Nager, Startup Weekend CEO was kind enough to invite me along to their first ever meeting. A brilliant learning experience!