Recently I read a job ad with exactly the words “result oriented attitude” in the requirements. It was an offer about a senior software engineer highly skilled in artificial intelligence and consulting. A profile that is already supposed to get results. Like asking a medic a “healing oriented attitude”.
It’s not the first time I read of this requirement. Why do they feel the need to explicitly mention it in a job ad?
The growth of a company is based on a multitude of contributing factors. Among them is the vision of the leader/s of the company. Without a vision, growth is much less likely because tactics and decisions will not be coherent and consistent. Instead, they will be based on contingency and short-term opportunities.
A vision needs a strategy. Strategy is about setting valuable goals in the path of the vision and sketching a general plan for reaching them. If you have a “responsibility” role, you are supposed — in the fence of shared values and policies — to measure your decisions and actions by the reference of these goals. Else, you’re sailing in the rapids without a map. You go where the current flows. Hope it flows in a good direction. If you have not a “responsibility” role, you are supposed to meet the demands, of course, but you are still some way responsible for doing your job having in mind the company needs beyond required results.
In the current fast-paced world, the horizons of the strategies are coming closer. Companies are moving faster and all the world around asks them to act faster. Funders and clients are interested in your strategy as long as you give them results during the next year. Reputation and longevity are often blurred concepts.
Nevertheless, some prominent companies have clear visions and strategies. But the majority of companies are simply guided in the absence of a valid strategy. And even when there is a strategy, they lack the clear communication of that strategy inside the company or to major partners. Hard to believe, but it works. It works because missed future opportunities are simply not seen. Also, risks with low probability usually do not happen.
The trend now is a sort of agile thinking. Catching opportunities, innovating, changing. In a complex environment, the lack of references inside the company and of certainties outside forces to react with flexibility, sailing by sight. Also, the lack of patience forces to take shortcuts.
I’m not speaking of the whole “agile” thing. Some agile methodologies are revolutionary, in specific environments. But being flexible should not replace the awareness of where to go and the consistency with goals and values. Or are you planning to stay in the market for months?
The dark side of the agile thinking spreads all over the organizations, back and forth, up and down. It becomes an alibi for avoiding tough decisions, difficult analyses, competence building. An alibi for short term rewards.
Fewer certainties are no more compensated with growing competence and attention to communication, but with “agile methods”. In a fluid environment, with fewer references, we all still need to make a profit. The safer way is to shorten measurements, to judge practical progress, to make steering decisions simpler. To find value in nearer results.
Results are a necessity. Working for far goals, without intermediate steps, is a big bet. You can rarely invest on this. If other depend on your work, they need milestones for confrontation, partial gain, scheduling.
The problem arises when “results” become the new reference and the main guide of decisions, when people are induced to short-term thinking.
The lack of strategy and of knowledge of a changing environment pushes to safer requirements. Sprints replace reflection. Sharing replaces responsibility. Acting replaces critical thinking. Opportunities replace consistency.
We all know the importance of delivering results. But when a company takes care of asking for a result-oriented person, I know that that company is not for me.