Six tips for hiring Agile people with Lena Bednarikova

One of the  most effortless ways to enable your cultural change is to “let the right one in” – to hire people who already possess the desired attributes of your intended culture and your future organisation. These people will do all the hard work for you, without even knowing it.

Lenka Bednarikova is passionate about creating great teams. Her experience spans across specialist IT agencies, regional companies, and multinational organisations such as Nokia and Microsoft where she helped transform their recruitment processes to create the right environment for Agile and customer focus. Lenka is well versed in hands-on recruitment, Agile and traditional project management. She is a board member of the Institute of Recruiters and currently also enjoying herself as a Scrum Master at BankWest.

There are many companies going through an agile related transformation. They usually hire an Agile coach, send their employees on training courses, and tell them, “be Agile – off you go.”

These companies are often surprised by how hard the transformation is, and how many people don’t embrace the new ways of working.

An Agile transformation (or any organisational transformation for that matter) more often than not requires a cultural change – a change in mindset, ways of thinking and the way we approach what we do.

If your organisation has always rewarded certain behaviours, such as ‘command and control’, and then asks its employees to lose these behaviours in the name of an Agile transformation, it is obviously not going to go down too well. So, while your coaches take these employees on the Agile journey, one way to expedite your cultural change is to review your hiring approach.

In order to make the right decisions when hiring, you have to really understand your organisation, its goals and missions, both commercially and culturally.

You need to know your current and intended culture and values inside out. Do not kid yourself about where you are culturally, because chances are you are not there yet. Only then can you target those future employees who will help take you where you want to be.

Your best bet is to hire people with potential for excellence. Potential means having the capacity to develop into something or someone in the future and adapt to ever-changing environments. By employing a person with strong potential, you are making the best investment for your future as this person can develop into someone you need them to be.

How do you identify the ‘Right One’: the one with strong potential for excellence? Here are some of the attributes you need to look out for:

  • Passion: Passion fuels success. When you are passionate about something you will always strive to do the right thing.
  • Team fit and a sense of “being in it together”: togetherness makes a team, creates a team identity. Without it the team is just a bunch of individuals.
  • Organisation-culture fit: organisation-culture fit is NOT about finding a candidate who is the same as the organisation, but the one who already possesses the intended cultural attributes.
  • Holistic view: people with holistic views bring down silos and put the organisation’s needs first, instead of the needs of technical systems, a persistent project manager, or personal needs.
  • Critical thinking: critical thinking means thinking actively. It is the ability to dissect situations and statements to understand the hidden ‘why’ at their core.
  • Open about mistakes: we all know how valuable it is when we learn from our mistakes. And if we are open about them we double the benefit – not only do we display transparency and trust by sharing mistakes, but we also share what we have learned so that other people do not burn their fingers too.

Hire people who will help create your intended culture. They will very likely cause disruption and support your Agile transformation.

This post was originally published in AgileTODAY, a free publication featuring real Australian case-studies of Agile in the enterprise, and the latest hot topics in the Agile community. Find out more.

3 thoughts on “Six tips for hiring Agile people with Lena Bednarikova

  1. Great list of attributes, companies can avoid so many headaches by bringing in the right people. It’s astonishing how often hiring managers miss the boat completely during the interview process and almost exclusively end up identifying the “Wrong One”.

  2. Hi Lenka,

    My name is Meghan Robinson and I’m with an organization called Scrum Alliance, specifically representing our AgileCareers team. AgileCareers is the only job board dedicated to connecting Scrum and Agile organizations with qualified, passionate, Agile professionals.

    We have just announced the launch of our new AgileCareers site and are looking for exceptional Agile and Scrum article content to post on our AgileCareers News blog (http://bit.ly/AgileCareersNews)

    I would like to ask your permission to post the following article(s) on our blog.
    “Six tips for hiring Agile people”

    This content will be exposed to thousands of agile and scrum employers and job seekers, in addition to our 450,000 Scrum Alliance members. If you’re interested, please send me an updated version of your article(s).

    Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you soon!

    • Dear Meghan,

      This was a guest feature by Lenka therefore it’s unlikely she’ll see this comment. We would suggest trying to contact her via other means – LinkedIn may be a good option.

      Best regards,

      Admin

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