Jeff Bezos’s Hiring Anti-Pitch

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Today, the competition for top tech talent is as fierce as it’s ever been, and without a high-performing team, it’s tough to survive. It makes sense that such intense competitive pressure drives startup founders to pitch their company to prospective hires in ever more grandiose terms, exaggerate how well their company is “crushing it,” and make their company culture sound like the happiest place on earth.

How else can you stand out to a top candidate who’s considering offers from all of the hottest companies?

It’s counterintuitive, but Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos takes a totally different approach to Amazon hiring: he gives prospects a hiring anti-pitch.

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Management, Leading and Success: The Best of the Internet

Weekend edition of link love! Catch up with the best of what we’ve shared on the interwebs this week! 

8 Myths Startup Founders Hate

LinkedIn CEO’s Unconventional Meeting Technique

Brainwriting:  the solution to brainstorming’s loudmouth problem.

12 Things Successful People do Differently

3 Differences Between Managers & Leaders

imageDundee’s Tip of the Week: Sign up for our very new newsletter for thoughtful posts on how to work better, useful tips, & exclusive content here.

 

Send One Simple Email to Make Your Job Better

For better or for worse, bosses don’t spend much time thinking about your needs and worrying about to helping you with your career advancement. Bosses, like most people at work, are busy people with their own jobs, their own lives, and their own concerns.

That’s obvious. But the upshot is a harsh reality: your boss most likely has very little sense of what you’re accomplishing or even what you’re doing with your time. If you aren’t proactive about reporting your accomplishments, you’ll never get recognized for your good work.

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The Power of One Simple Email

For many people, the thought of being more proactive about sharing accomplishments at work can be daunting and a real turnoff. Eric Barker at his blog, Barking Up the Wrong Tree, provides an elegant solution to this problem that takes minimal effort and doesn’t require you to turn into a loudmouth braggart.

Every week, Eric writes, send one simple email to your boss that’ll make your life better.

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Why You Should Stop Keeping Score at Work

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There’s probably been some time in your life when you’ve been just a touch surprised that you haven’t been hoisted upon shoulders and celebrated with cheers for your great achievement — whether you go as far back as that group English assignment making a diorama about summer reading or yesterday’s big client presentation.

Or maybe you’re more familiar with that fake almost-smile, as Joe Shmoe stood up to cheers and beers and pats on the back, leaving you amidst the ghosts of the hours of sweat and tears you put into the work.

It happens, and it stinks. But then again — we’re actually all credit hogs in our heads.

When you’re on a team, you don’t have an accurate sense of the proportion of your contribution. It’s just not that straightforward, because what happens in your very smart but usually selfish mind is that you underestimate your teammates’ contributions and overestimate yours.

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The Shit Sandwich and Other Terrible Ways to Give Feedback

Giving feedback well is one of the manager’s most difficult skills to master, because, as famed tech founder and investor Ben Horowitz points out, it’s incredibly unnatural.

If your buddy tells you a funny story, it would feel quite weird to evaluate her performance. It would be totally unnatural to say: “Gee, I thought that story really sucked. It had potential, but you were underwhelming on the build up then you totally flubbed the punch line. I suggest that you go back, rework it and present it to me again tomorrow.” Doing so would be quite bizarre, but evaluating people’s performances and constantly giving feedback is precisely what a CEO must do.

We’re tempted to feed our employees a shit sandwich and give feedback in other terrible ways, but it’s vital to your career as a manager that you don’t.  Here are three fundamentally flawed approaches that inexperienced managers take in trying to perform the dark art of giving feedback, and how to avoid them.

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The Dullest, Most Vital Skill You Need to Become a Successful Manager

The exemplary manager is often shown delivering a rousing speech that inspires her troops to achieve ever greater heights. But the truth is a lot less exciting than that.

To three highly effective and successful managers and executives, a boring, often-overlooked ability is one of the most vital skills you can have as a manager — the ability to write.

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On Defense Against Power-Play Meetings

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Almost all meetings are just power-plays in disguise.

Years of my life have been wasted in useless meetings. At a large company, meetings are standard. Get a few people together to talk about a problem. Sounds easy, right?

But instead of a quick resolution, you have to book a conference room for two days from now. Then, you invite stakeholders. Someone suggests so-and-so should attend too. More invites.

When you finally meet, what happens? Nothing, because everyone ends up in a power-play.

Let’s take a look at three common useless meetings and ways we can fix them.

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Innovation and Happiness at Work

Google has found that the most innovative workers — also the ‘happiest,’ by its definition — are those who have a strong sense of mission about their work and who also feel that they have much personal autonomy.

Big Data, Trying to Build Better Workers – NYTimes.com

Google has long been known as an elite organization bordering on elitist. It’s fascinating to see how their conception of prospective candidates has changed as they’ve looked at the data over time, departing from a SAT and GPA-driven view.

3 Reasons to Shut Up and Listen Well

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The way you listen is telling, a compass that points to the true focus of your attention. For good listeners, that needle points to the person talking. For bad listeners, that needle points to themselves.

The thing is that it’s really obvious. Great listening requires you to show that it’s happening, and that it’s happening sincerely. Much of that sincere communication comes down to lighting up to show “message received”. Instead, some people fall into a bad habit of putting on a show of listening, mumbling sounds of non-contextual agreement, or interrupting with “yes, but —”, or pretending to be attentive but mishearing everything.

Listening isn’t simply waiting for your turn to say something or show off your brilliance but engaging with what’s being said, building on it, reacting with thoughts and emotions, and showing that you understand or want to know more.

While the art of listening is touted in business, it’s rarely practiced. Bad listening is bad business, and here’s why:

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Listen To Your Employees

[S]top telling people what to do and … start asking them their opinion about the best way to get something done.

Josh Patrick, founder of Stage 2 Planning Partners, on the value of asking and actually listening to your employees.

When you ask first, you’ll learn instead of assume. And while it’s tough to trust employees, mistakes are important learning opportunities.

Set and communicate greater expectations for your team members, and their performance will reach greater heights.