Epiphanies for Everybody

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Hiring experts

February 03, 20222 min read

Hiring experts

When you hire somebody to solve a problem, if they are any good at their job, the first thing they’re going to do is seek to fully understand the problem. And unless you are already capable of doing the job, but can’t do it because something is stopping you (ie you don’t have the time), they’re going to be better at identifying and understanding the problem than you are. This is almost inevitable. That’s why you hired them, after all.

Once they fully understand the problem, they’re going to come back to you and tell you the problem that you’ve asked them to solve is wrong in some way — it’s incomplete, misunderstood, is focusing on the wrong thing, or is really a symptom of a completely different problem. What you do with this information will determine whether the work you’ve hired them to do can ever be successful.

If you say, “Thanks, but I already know what the problem is,” you’re not going to solve things. The person you hired is going to do their best, but won’t be able to help you fix things. You’ll still be solving the same problem (or a worse version) in 6 months… and a year… and 2 years… and forever.

If, on the other hand, you say, “Thanks, that’s why I hired you. Where do we get started?” then you may have a chance at actually solving it.

The problems we think we see are often symptoms of deeper problems: problems that are more difficult to pin down or identify; problems that can be really simple to fix, or really difficult; problems which are often completely under the radar.

When you hire somebody to fix a simple problem, and they come back and tell you that you need to solve a different problem, what will you do?

Thanks to my good friend Ilan Sinai for inspiring this post.

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