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Think meta

I continue to learn so much as I get further along in reading Ben Horowitz's The hard thing about hard things.

Ben describes an interview with a candidate whom he was looking to hire for the role of head of Sales.

Ben: "What do you look for in a Sales rep?"

Candidate: "They need to be smart, aggressive and competitive. They need to know how to do complex deals and navigate organizations."

Ben: "How do you test for those things in an interview?"

Candidate: "Umm, well I hire everybody out of my network."

Ben: "Okay, once you get them on board, what do you expect from them?"

Candidate: "I expect them to understand and follow the sales process, I expect them to master the product, I expect them to be accurate in their forecasting..."

Ben: "Tell me about the training program you designed to achieve this."

Candidate: "Umm."

It is common for managers to describe all the things they want in the people they want to hire, as well as in the people they already manage. However, it is not as common for them to articulate clearly how they would test for those characteristics in an interview or how they will help their reports get better at what they are looking for.

It helps to think meta about how to structure interview processes as well as development processes to achieve the stated goals. After all, the primary job of a manager is to create and structure process for ensuring success of the people they manage.

In the previous book I read, Ultralearning, I took away the very same principle of thinking meta when it comes to structuring my own personal learning and development. Without outlining my goals for learning and then structuring my learning process to meet those goals, I am very unlikely to succeed at reaching my learning goal.

Think meta.

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