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Leadership Moment: Helping the newcomers

In Matt Johansen’s Vulnerable U newsletter, he provides guidance for newcomers to and industry (in this case, security) on dealing with some of the biggest challenges they’ll face, which mostly organize around “you’re new here, and we use words in surprising ways”. Matt focuses on what a newcomer can do to overcome their ignorance debt, which is a term I simultaneously love and hate.

I think that Matt’s post is really relevant to the experience that many new hires have when they come into a role: their knowledge about what they can do doesn’t match the implicit expectations that their new organization has for them, and they run into a lot of surprisingly stressful situations as a result. I’ve talked in the past about improving onboarding, but that’s a more tactical patch than the opportunity that most organizations squander: how long after you hire someone are you investing in their onboarding, to maximize their long-term efficacy? I think there are lots of opportunities available to invest in knowledge early to eliminate the ignorance debt that we created.

One Minute ProTip: Don’t hire a team

There’s a growing trend in hiring, where job descriptions include so many requirements that no one candidate can fill them all, and certainly not at the salary that you’re offering. We end up with huge mismatches – millions of open positions, with millions of candidates who can’t get hired because recruiting says they’re under-qualified. Often, when I read these descriptions, they represent teams: You’d like everyone on your team to develop one of these 10 skills, but the job description just lists them all.

Move “requirements” and “desirables” like that into an “about this team” narrative. Make it clear you’ll train for those skills, but that it’s a team gestalt, not one person alone. Don’t try to hire a whole team into one position.

Ending Chapter Teasers

1% Leadership is now out, so you can read it for yourself. So no, no more chapter teasers! But, in the comments, if you already have your copy: which lesson resonated most with you so far, and why?


At RSAC this week (times Pacific):

April 24: 10:50 am, Moscone West 3002, Telling Fairy Tales to Your Board. You can read a sneak preview (or an afterwards summary) that includes the slides.

April 24: noon, RSAC bookstore, signing books

April 24: 5-7 pm, Welcome Reception, Orca Booth 527, book giveaway & signing

April 25: 7-9 pm, Orca Security Cocktail Reception

April 26: 2:20-2:35 pm, Bishop Fox Livestream

April 26: 6-9 pm, YL Ventures & Portfolio Companies Reception

Post RSAC:

April 29: 2-3 pm, Book signing, Book Ends, Winchester, MA

May 7-12: Tel Aviv

May 16: panel moderator, Cloud Security Live

May 22-24: Jewish Book Council Network conference

May 31: Tufts radio

June 9: Talk, Building your leadership practice, RMISC, Denver, CO

June 14: Keynote & book signing, RVASec, Richmond, VA

Leadership Advice

Submit your leadership questions via comments, chats, or email to <askaleader@duha.co>

Leader R asks, “Haven’t read the book yet (just got it yesterday) so it might be covered – and showing my age a bit, but – are there any techniques you’ve learned for providing constructive/critical feedback to smart, talented, high performers who don’t handle criticism well (especially the younger generation who may have been raised a bit more protectively)?”

Thanks, R, for being the initial question, you (as well as any other questioners whose questions we use) get comped a 30-day insider subscription so you can see the answer.

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