One of my hobbies is mixed martial arts. My friends and family think I’m a little crazy, but I can’t help enjoy the training, and of course, the fighting. One thing I’ve learned is that fighting a smaller, faster guy can be very frustrating. They can be hard to hit, they strike quickly, and they’re gone before you can return fire. Heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury agrees,
“I prefer to fight a bigger guy. I don’t like fighting smaller guys; they give me problems with their agility.”
Agility is a gift that should not be squandered in fighting or in business.
So, for the sake of this discussion let’s define emerging technologies as follows:
- technologies that disrupt or change the status quo
- technologies that are newer, or they are older ones that have not yet realized their full potential
- companies identified with fast growth and, well, pretty much fast everything
We have had the pleasure of working in, and working for, many emerging technology companies. They function differently than more established institutions and are definitely different animals. Time and time again, agility surfaces as a key hallmark of these companies—they simply must be agile. We are not talking about battleships or aircraft carriers here. We are talking speed boats! Speedboats can accelerate quickly, cruise at high velocity, and turn on a dime. So if these companies are going to be agile, they must hire agile people.
Failure occurs in most cases because of a lack of cultural fit, not because of incompetence. Skilled and intelligent people often fail when they are in the wrong environments. We see this all the time, so we thought it would be helpful to look at hiring for emerging technology firms through the lens of our 4 P’s of Cultural Fit.
Pace is the speed at which a group or team operates. Fast companies need fast people. Team members must act with a sense of urgency and are capable of “bursts” in order to meet time-sensitive goals—hitting needed gates. If you put a lower energy, slower moving, less urgent personality in your fast moving company, you can count on frustration for everyone.
Process of decision-making is how a group makes a decision. A group can be mostly driven by accomplishing tasks, or driven to achieve outcomes. Team members in emerging technology companies really need to be outcome focused. They are the kind of people who are always driving the ball downfield, learning on-demand, making good decisions, and failing forward. Energy and vitality goes down the drain for your managers and other team members if you hire a person who needs to be task driven.
Philosophy of decision making is how opportunities and challenges are approached. Members of a group tend to be either dreamers or doers, idealists or pragmatists. Emerging technology companies definitely have visionaries, but in most roles, they need pragmatically minded people who can connect the strategic elements to actual execution. You need practically minded people to help get through the necessary gates. They must not only get things done, but they have to be adaptable in how they get things done. Hire a dreamer when you need a doer, and you will be left undone.
Play is all about team building, collaboration, and bonding. Team members in emerging technology companies should be fervent about victory for the whole team. These people desire to be part of something bigger than themselves. If you end up hiring people more devoted to personal goals than to team goals, you end up with a lot of posturing and distraction instead of production.
If you get the cultural fit right, you’ll be well on your way to maintaining an agile and profitable environment. You will be able to dodge a punch and then fire right back!
We would love to hear what you think, so please leave a comment below. If you want to talk more about cultural fit and building emerging technology teams, please contact us or call us (614) 852-4465.