A Tale Of Two Parties

My idea of a party used to be grabbing some chips and salsa and decompressing with friends. I’d spend a maximum of 30 minutes preparing.

Then I met my lovely fiancé, Matthias. He has evolved our parties to an art form.

He simply will not stand for serving anything less than home-spun culinary masterpieces. I kid you not, for a recent party he bought a food chemistry kit and used it to make grapefruit caviar drizzled with pomegranate molasses, served on special Chinese soup spoons.

It took us 12 hours to prepare for that party. Much more time and effort than opening up a bag of Tostitos.

But the caviar was delicious. And our guests were wowed.

Matthias is a ‘get it right‘ guy. I’m more of a ‘get it done‘ person. I love crossing things off lists, and I like to convert goals to tasks. Forward momentum is very important.

We – And Our Companies – Sit On This Spectrum
Are you more of a ‘get it right’ person? Or a ‘get it’ done person?

And how about your company? Does it skew more towards get it right? Or get it done?

I find that this get it right/get it done spectrum is really important in determining cultural fit. Do you pride yourself on your analytical orientation, but still assess fit by gut feel? Many hiring managers will have one good bantering conversation with a potential employee and proclaim that the person is the right fit. But this doesn’t mean that the person’s approach to work is compatible with your organization.

I’ve worked in get it right environments. Where collaboration meant seven people wordsmithing every word on a slide. Where the software we developed needed a year of quality assurance before it shipped.

The work was usually outstanding. Yet somehow I always felt antsy. I did much better in a get it done environment, where tasks were measured in minutes and not years, and the product was a service that I provided every time I spoke to a client.

Recruiting For Get It Right/Get It Done Fit
Organizations will often reject people who are at too different a point on the get it right/get it done spectrum. Pinpointing where your company is and where a potential recruit is on this framework will help to determine cultural fit.

Of course it’s a bit simplistic, since we all care about getting things done and doing things well. But most of us skew to one side.

To incorporate this into your hiring:

  • Be honest about whether your culture is more ‘get it right’ or ‘get it done’
  • Figure out whether a candidate is more ‘get it right’ or ‘get it done’
  • Match accordingly

Assess Your Culture First
Ask yourself:

  • What’s the speed of things? Are there lots of reviews before things go live? Or is it more of a real-time environment, with quick checkins to divide and conquer?
  • Is your differentiation as a company more about getting the quality to 99% or 80%? Be honest. This isn’t about what’s written in company handbooks, but about how things really happen.
  • Looking at the goals and awards — both implicit and explicit — are people rewarded primarily on quality or output?

Assess Your Candidates Next
In interviews, get to know where your prospective employees sit on the get it right/get it done spectrum. Here are some suggested questions that elicit telling answers:

  • Tell me about a moment of great career satisfaction. Why were you satisfied?
  • Tell me about the culture surrounding your greatest accomplishment.  Where did that culture fit on the get it right/get it done scale?
  • Do you prefer working on long-term initiatives or driving quarterly results?
  • How do you like to be goaled?
  • Say you finish a project with a few hours left over. What are you likely to do next? Go onto something else or make sure the work is perfect?
  • Tell me about a culture you loved and a culture you hated, thinking about the get it right/get it done spectrum. What did you learn?

Is there a match?
To increase the chances of a match, have a candid conversation about your culture with potential recruits. Be clear about whether the pocket of the organization they are joining is more ‘get it right’ or ‘get it done.’ You may even choose to invite a potential recruit to spend time in your organization for a day to soak up the culture.

Of course, every ‘get it done’ organization needs some ‘get it right’ DNA (and vice versa). But the people who are a bit different from the dominant DNA may need manager support — and their own flexibility – to be successful.

You can also showcase whether your culture is more ‘get it right’ or ‘get it done’  in your job specs. Last month I wrote about how to write an authentic job spec that enables people to self-select into your culture.

Let me know your reactions. Meanwhile, I’m off to eat some leftover grapefruit caviar.