Catching up on some of my reading I came across an analysis of a Steve Jobs interview in Forbes. I agree with the analysis especially on Diana's last point. To succeed you hire the best, the most resourceful people you can find and give them goals to accomplish. You don't go hunting for those who you think will strictly obey your rules. To clarify, my point is not to discourage the use of checklists or standard ways of handling requests. Standard processes in handling repetitive tasks are very important not only when multiple members of a team are working together, but to avoid mistakes when doing infrequent or tedious work. It's the way the exceptions to this checklist are handled that separates the followers from achievers.

Working in small startups most of my career has made the difference between these two types of employees stark and easy to spot. One focuses on what they are supposed to do, the other wants to know what they are trying to accomplish.

If I understood the job well enough to write strict rules I'd just write software to do it, and not waste time recruiting or interviewing. This is the error the big service companies make when they put a 300 layer voice recognition system between you and their customer service reps.

AuthorKevin McAllister