It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people

It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people

“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; We hire smart people, so they can tell us what to do”.(Steve Jobs)

Imagine that you hire some specialist, 8+ years of experience, leadership background, who knows everything concerning the area you want him to work for. Expensive, unreachable, finally agrees to work with/for you. And then you start controlling everything he does, not leaving the space for him to work and use the skills he has. You think you get the results you want. Instead you get as little as possible and this perfect person starts to perform not as well as expected.

What went wrong?

Being in control or just micromanagement

Do you like to be in charge?

You think the world will disappear if you are not there?

Is there something familiar?!

One of reasons might be that you like to be in charge and you do not like to delegate the tasks. The approach might be good, but too often leads to micromanagement and taking control over everything. You might have right people hired, but still you do not believe in their capabilities to perform independent work. You do not trust them. You are afraid they might perform some mistake or that they are not able to work on their own… At the end, nothing strange, you achieve worse results…

Would be good to ask the question: What this state of “being in control” gives you? Why you need it? Is this a lack of trust? A bad experience? Do you feel better when everything depends on you? Does this build a picture you are more important?

Worried to lose the position

I remember one question from the conference this year, asked by young owner of some media company: “We plan to hire 45 years old men. I am afraid he will not respect us”.

This has not so much to do with the subject of the article, however leads to the other concept. Far too often we are worried that our reportee will be wiser, better skilled, more efficient, more visible than we do. What will happen? He will take our position…? We will not be needed anymore…?

Not seeing the other side, we decrease his/her possibilities to perform efficient work, which could bring a lot of gain for all of us.

If we are worried to have wise people, what is the reason we are hiring them? We do not use the potential, they lose their time. In general, this is a big waste for all the sides.

I am more in favor of hiring really the best people, over-skilling us and then directing them to achieve goals. The thing is that in general – their success is the success of our own. If we have good people, then the best managerial task is to guide them in the right direction. It happens very often we have managers without technical skills, able to lead technical teams, directors not knowing the details of production, still being able to work out best results. But this is all under one condition – right people hired, treated in the right way.

If you are afraid to loose the position, better change the approach and think what you are responsible for, or simply leave the role….

Want to assign success to yourself?

Combined with some of the former points, might be the reason, why you do not let good people work efficiently. If this is the truth, then better change the approach. Why? Because this leads to the situation, when you take everything on your shoulders. It is not only the responsibility for the success, but also for the failure. While you do not let others to work, you have to work for all. If you are manager, in such a situation you will not have time for a strategic work as you will be performing still the operational one, which could be easily delegated to the others…

Surrounding yourselves with “Yes folks”

Some managers simply don’t accept if someone has different opinion they do. If something is in a contrary, then is wrong.

“Yes folks” carry out orders given from on high. In a contrary, the success lies in those who are challenging assumptions and have the confidence to say “no, I do not agree. I see the different angle”. These people think strategically and are not afraid to disclose their own opinion.

Hearing criticism sometimes is the only way for development. If we close our ears for the feedback, we might not know what may require improvement… Improvement brings the change and lifts us up…

Self-fulfilling prophecy

Very often we assign a certain assumption to other people. These might be simple sentences like these:

“He cannot deal with this project”

“She is not the right person”

“He is not ready yet for that kind of challenge”

Assumptions are words. However, following the words comes behavior and the way we treat these people. Then depending on that, they start to feel the way we treat them. And our prophecy fulfills, assuring us that we were right.

How does this all work? You believe that the opinion is true. You look for the proofs of that (e.g. small mistakes) -> You start to behave in line with that and treat the person accordingly -> This other person notices your behavior -> He/ She starts to believe in it -> And behaves in line with that ->>>>Your Self-fulfilling prophecy fulfills and proofs you were “right”

So, we might have hired right person, but then something happens, we doubt in them, we overcontrol them, not leaving the space to work and then their performance decrease. At the end they might not perform at all.

Hiring SMART

So, what to do? I would say take the best and give the best of yourself.

Search for innovators, eager to learn, who try new things and challenge the obvious in order to find new, better solutions.

People who are interested in job-well done, rather, then the stars, who likes just to shine. These people will support the organization as a whole. Personal advantage will come to them through this but is not their own goal.

And this is just the first step. To hire right people. The second, even more important is what we will do with them, how we will use their skill and abilities, what will be the relationship we will build. Do we have enough insight into how we are influencing them?

The best solution always is. To hire the best, most creative, most engaged, those who are not afraid to take the ownership, provide them support, make them and their work visible and achieve best results.

Improve your listening skills at work

Improve your listening skills at work

How to become a good meeting listener?

Have you ever thought how would it be if you were focused during all the meetings you take part in? What would that change? What would that give to you? Have you considered time saved because of reduction on repetitions and misunderstandings? Have you thought about increased quality of listening and understanding others during the meetings?

We spend at work far too many hours in the meetings. I do not call it “working time”, because from my perspective it is not. Usually you have to work after the meetings. Sometime in the future we will take care of a smart-meetings, but today I would like us to concentrate on LISTENING. As this is one of the keys to success.

Why I don’t listen during the meetings

People are different. So, there will be many different reasons for not being focused. You can pick one from the below list, but maybe there is more of them.


You are too focused on what you want to say, what is your opinion, view on the case, so at the end you end up being concentrated on your own perspective.

You are worried that you will forget what you want to say.

You are too focused on yourself instead of listening to the others.

You are thinking about something else than the meeting.

You are not interested in the meeting content, this does not concern you or this is something what you do not want to do.

Meeting is too long.

While being on an online meeting or teleconference, you might be trying to do the shopping or some google search …(?)

Depending on the reason for being unfocused we can try to find solutions. I will start from kind of famous one and at the end I will add some more.

Harvard Review from March last year enclosed the secret of being a good listener. And this is exactly

Notes taking

During the studies I realized the most obvious thing. That if I take notes during the lecture I do not have to study later as I remember everything. If in the opposite I was trying to do something at the same time when the teacher was speaking, later I had to invest more time in understanding the content, as I did not remember what the lecture was about.

People know me as a person with the notebook, or Samsung NOTE. I do take notes in the old school manner. My friends buy me notebooks so “I could write”. And even if my writing is ugly, as if I were a doctor, I like soft pens, so I could take my notes during the meetings.

And for many years this notes taking was my solution to be focused.

Margin Notes

Recent study (Harvard Review, March 2017, conducted by Sabina Nawaz) proves the approach is right and what is more it is providing additional improvement to “notes taking”.

The author suggests drawing a line, which will leave a margin, where we can add additional notes, our thoughts or questions we would like to ask. This is called – Margin Notes

The solution “allows you to think, process information, make connections between points of discussion, and ask effective questions instead of blurting out the first thing that comes to mind” (S.Nawaz, HR, 2017).

What are the rules?

  • Take a page and create a wide margin. In the main body of your notes write down just what the others are saying.
  • In the margin instead put your ideas, questions, judgments, suggestions and reflections. In this way you put aside your own thoughts. This will help you to concentrate on what the others have to say.
  • On a contrary, when you are speaking, use those notes from your margin, which are the highest priority, and which have not yet been used. You can also keep some of the notes to be used at a later time, i.e. during separate meeting.

While making your Margin Notes we should:

  • Write down questions to use them at the proper time
  • Pay attention to what was not said
  • Test assumptions

Writing down the notes, enriched by the margin ones, enhances your presence during the meetings, helps you to listen more deeply, gives you the opportunity to participate more productively and at the end helps to get more work done in meetings (S.Nawaz).

How to sharpen your listening skills during the meetings?

Making notes is the first one, but there is couple more to help us become more mindful during the meetings.

Learn meeting agenda first. This is one of the things I like to do. Sometimes I think that we lose too much time on discussing during the meeting what the meeting is about. I like to have a clear plan of the meeting and review material first, because then I am not only focused on the meeting itself but apart from that I have ready questions to ask and the problem can be solved more quickly, as was rethought earlier. In this case I encourage all of you to take some time before the meeting or shorten the meeting by dividing the meeting into 2 parts: preparation time (15 minutes before the meeting) and the meeting (might be that in this case 15 minutes!!! will be enough).

Look at the speaker. Keep an eye contact, show that you listen to him/her. As a result, you will be not only focused on a meeting but apart from that you will also build better relation.

Ask yourself what you can learn. Sometimes you can have meetings with people from other departments. In this way you can learn i.e. something more about their work or way they operate. Ask yourself the question – what you can learn from the other participants. This will definitely help you to be more focused.

Wrap up the meeting. Sum up the key points of the meeting. When you have your notes already, it will be easy for you to wrap up the meeting, indicating the most important points and the actions to be taken. Everybody will be then on the same page:-)

You know I am still searching for some best ideas which will help me to be more focused, more mindful during the meetings. This is one of the things which entirely saves our time and energy. Just imagine how much you can do during the meeting when not only you, but also other participants are full focused, paying attention to everything what takes place? If this would happen than we would be operating on very short and very productive meetings. Isn’t it great?


Jak zostać dobrym słuchaczem spotkań?

Czy kiedykolwiek zastanawiałaś/eś się, jak by to było, gdybyś był/a skupiona/y podczas wszystkich spotkań, w których bierzesz udział? Co by to zmieniło? Co by ci to dało? Czy zastanawiałaś/eś się nad zaoszczędzonym czasem z powodu zmniejszenia liczby niepotrzebnych powtórzeń i nieporozumień? Czy myślałaś/eś o zwiększeniu jakości słuchania i polepszeniu rozumienia innych podczas spotkań?

W pracy spędzamy oczywiście zbyt wiele godzin na spotkaniach. Nie nazywałabym tego “czasem pracy”, ponieważ z mojej perspektywy tak to nie wygląda. Zazwyczaj musisz jeszcze zrobić pracę po takich spotkaniach. Kiedyś w przyszłości zajmiemy się inteligentnymi spotkaniami, ale dziś chciałabym, skupić się na SŁUCHANIU. Ponieważ jest to jeden z kluczy do sukcesu.

Dlaczego nie słucham podczas spotkań

Ludzie są różni. Tak więc będzie wiele różnych powodów, dla których nie będziemy się koncentrować na spotkaniach. Możesz wybrać jedną z poniższej listy, ale być może jest ich więcej.

Powody …
Jesteś zbyt skoncentrowana/y na tym, co chcesz powiedzieć, jaka jest twoja opinia, spojrzenie na sprawę, więc na końcu koncentrujesz się tylko na swojej własnej perspektywie.
Martwisz się, że zapomnisz, co chcesz powiedzieć.
Jesteś zbyt skupiona/y na sobie zamiast słuchać innych.
Myślisz o czymś innym niż spotkanie.
Nie interesuje Cię treść spotkania, to cię nie dotyczy lub jest to coś, czego nie chcesz robić.
Spotkanie jest za długie.
Będąc na spotkaniu online lub telekonferencji, możesz próbować zrobić zakupy lub szukać czegoś w Google … (?)

W zależności od przyczyny braku koncentracji możemy spróbować znaleźć rozwiązania. Zacznę więc od jednego znanego sposobu, a na końcu dodam jeszcze kilka.

Harvard Review w marcu zeszłego roku opublikował tajemnicę bycia dobrym słuchaczem.

I to jest dokładnie

Robienie notatek

Podczas studiów zdałam sobie sprawę z najbardziej oczywistej rzeczy. Że jeśli zrobię notatki podczas wykładu, nie będę musiała się później uczyć, bo zapamiętam wszystko. Jeśli w jednak próbowałam robić coś w tym samym czasie, kiedy profesor mówił, wówczas później musiałam poświęcić więcej czasu na zrozumienie treści, bo nie pamiętałam, o czym była mowa na wykładzie.

Ludzie znają mnie więc jako osobę z notebookiem lub Samsung NOTE. Robię notatki w starym szkolnym stylu. Moi przyjaciele kupują mi zeszyty, żebym mogła ” pisać”. I nawet jeśli moje pismo jest brzydkie, jakbym była lekarzem, to mam sentyment do miękkich długopisów, którymi lubię robić notatki podczas spotkań.

Przez wiele lat robienie notatek było moim rozwiązaniem na zagwarantowanie uważności na spotkaniach.

Margin notes czyli Uwagi na marginesie

Ostatnie badania (Harvard Review z marca 2017, przeprowadzone przez Sabinę Nawaz) dowodzą, że opisane wyżej podejście jest właściwe i można zastosować jeszcze dodatkowe jego „ulepszenie”.

S.Nawaz sugeruje narysowanie linii, która pozostawi margines z boku, w którym możemy dodać dodatkowe uwagi, nasze myśli lub pytania, które chcielibyśmy zadać.

Nazywa to Uwagami na marginesie (Margin notes)

Rozwiązanie “pozwala myśleć, przetwarzać informacje, nawiązywać połączenia między punktami dyskusji i zadawać efektywne pytania, zamiast zamazywać pierwszą rzecz, która przychodzi nam na myśl” (S.Nawaz, HR, 2017).

Jakie są zasady?
• Weź stronę i zrób na niej duży margines. W głównej części twoich notatek spisuj, co mówią inni.
• Natomiast na marginesie umieść swoje pomysły, pytania, osądy, sugestie i refleksje. W ten sposób na marginesie umieścisz tylko swoje własne myśli. Pomoże ci to skoncentrować się na tym, co inni mają do powiedzenia.
• Kiedy będziesz mówić, użyj notatek z marginesu. Skoncentruj się na tych, które mają najwyższy priorytet, i nie były jeszcze omawiane. Niektóre z notatek możesz również zostawić na później i użyć np. podczas osobnego spotkania.

Tworząc notatki na marginesach powinniśmy:
– Zapisywać pytania, aby z nich skorzystać we właściwym czasie
– Zwracać uwagę na to, co nie zostało powiedziane
– testować różne założenia

Zapisywanie notatek, wraz z zapiskami na marginesie, zwiększa Twoją obecność podczas spotkań, pomaga lepiej słuchać, daje możliwość bardziej produktywnego uczestnictwa, a na końcu pozwala na wykonanie większej ilości pracy na spotkaniach (S.Nawaz) .

Jak wyostrzyć swoje umiejętności słuchania podczas spotkań?

Sporządzanie notatek jest pierwszą metodą, ale jest jeszcze kilka innych, które pomogą nam zachować większą czujność podczas spotkań.

Najpierw zapoznaj się z planem spotkania. To jedna z rzeczy, które lubię robić. Czasami myślę, że tracimy zbyt dużo czasu na rozmawianie na spotkaniu, o czym ono jest … Dlatego lubię mieć jasny plan spotkania i zapoznać się z materiałem, ponieważ wtedy nie skupiam się wyłącznie na spotkaniu, ale oprócz tego mam gotowe pytania do zadawania, a problem można rozwiązać nawet szybciej, bo temat został wcześniej przemyślany. W tym przypadku zachęcam wszystkich do poświęcenia odrobiny czasu przed spotkaniem na zapoznanie się z agendą lub skrócenia spotkania poprzez podzielenie go na 2 części: czas przygotowania (15 minut przed spotkaniem) i spotkanie (może to być w tym przypadku 15 minut !!! i to wystarczy).

Patrz na mówiącego. Zachowaj kontakt wzrokowy, pokaż, że go słuchasz. W rezultacie będziesz skupiona/y nie tylko na spotkaniu, ale także na budowaniu lepszych relacji.

Zadaj sobie pytanie, czego możesz się nauczyć. Czasami możesz spotkać się z ludźmi z innych działów. W ten sposób możesz dowiedzieć się czegoś więcej na temat swojej pracy lub sposobu działania. Zadaj sobie pytanie – czego mogę się nauczyć od innych uczestników. To z pewnością pomoże ci być bardziej skupionym.

Podsumuj spotkanie. Podsumuj kluczowe punkty spotkania. Gdy już będziesz mieć swoje notatki, łatwo będzie zakończyć spotkanie, wskazując najważniejsze punkty i działania, które należy podjąć. Wszyscy będą tak samo dobrze poinformowani.

Ciągle szukam najlepszych pomysłów, które pomogą mi być bardziej skupioną i uważniejszą podczas spotkań. Jest to jedna z rzeczy, która doskonale oszczędza nasz czas i energię. Wyobraź sobie, ile możesz zrobić podczas spotkania, gdy nie tylko ty, ale także inni uczestnicy są w pełni skoncentrowani i zwracają uwagę na wszystko, co się dzieje? Gdyby tak się stało, operowalibyśmy w trybie bardzo krótkich i bardzo produktywnych spotkań.

Czy nie byłoby to wspaniałe?


Some additional reading for your reference: