Do you have the ability and mandate to disrupt in your current role?

Do you have the delegation of authority to make a change in your organization?

Or do you lack the capability to do it?

Do you wonder if you fit in your organization in its current state & size?

Are you trying to hire a candidate and not sure what type of candidate you need for your current growth stage?

The answer

In the 17 organizations, I have worked in over my career across different industries, I have found a trend - there are 3 types of operators, and these questions are answered by understanding where you sit.

Depending on the type of operator you are, this changes the way the game is played, how a role is viewed, and the outcomes you impact.

These should also impact hiring and recruiting decisions.

In the below section, the hiring manager matrix I go into what I use.

Purpose of Article

There are 3 key purposes behind this

  • As a hiring manager, this helps understand what you need in the role and how you should hire
  • As a recruiter, this helps understand your candidate profile better so that you can position your candidate accordingly
  • As a candidate, this helps understand if you fit or not into a current role or perspective role

This article shares a split view between an IC/ Candidate and a Lead/Hiring Manager.

It goes into various sections based on those 2 views.

IC vs Lead View

IC view:
It's important to understand where you fit and ask about the authority and mandate during a job search process or while in your role.

You may be hired in a role that typically helps organizations innovate but does not have the mandate and authority to do so.

In this case, you are destined to fail and not set up for success.

Or in the interview process, you may not get the job because of the optics your profile reads as and the requirements of the role.

So before you charge ahead in your role in an organization, especially a new one, you need to figure out if a role and the organization are right for you.

Lead view:
It's important to understand the 3 types prior to hiring as it impacts tenure, goals of a role, and outcomes expected from a candidate.

You may hire a candidate in a role that doesn't require status quo disruption and get just that & end up frustrated.

Or you may need a disruptor and hire a bum on the seat leading to zero-sum change.

When you are faced with 2 candidates where one is a disruptor and the other is just an ideal bum on the seat types, decide carefully which one would you pick.

From my experience as a product leader, it depends on the organization you are in and what you need in the role, sometimes as a manager, you have to make a stable hire and sometimes you need a disruptor.

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3 Main Types of Operators

1. The disruptor

This individual is hired to shake the tree and impact outcomes. Their background is typically in transformation, change, and business turnaround.

They typically hit the ground running and are quick to deliver outcomes.

The methods they use can be nuclear but challenge the status quo just enough to impact change.

Hiring Manager Tip
This person likes shiny new things and problems.

They will get bored and move on once problems are exhausted.

So be sure to hire them when there is an appetite or a catalyst for Change!! Beware though, they may move on if you are unable to keep them engaged.

2. The bum on the seat

This individual is hired to sit around and just do a specific range of tasks and produce outputs.

They almost never have the capability or motivation to innovate and lack the mandate in roles to make any change.

These folk are generally very stable in the long run but lack the efficiency that comes with smooth operators when an organization needs change.

I find that larger organizations are overburdened with these types of roles with almost 80-90% of the folks being bums on the seat.

This arguably kills innovation and causes mass resistance to change killing transformation efforts.

ICs - If you are just there to pay the bills, then this is your type of role. If not, then beware of folk that are stuck in this state as they might be your most significant challenges.
Hiring Managers - If you are stuck with a team that is unable to innovate and stagnated growth, then this is the type of hire you want to avoid. However, if you want someone just in to process - for instance lots of support tasks, this is your ideal hire.

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