Information access and flow LO11805

Rol Fessenden (76234.3636@CompuServe.COM)
10 Jan 97 22:36:59 EST

Replying to LO11780 --

Ian is asking

"I believe that it is very important to recruit people who fit the
culture. In my work at Allied Dunbar (one of the most successful insurance
companies in the UK) a large part of the personnel departments role in
recruiting was to take a view on how well potential recruits would fit the

"However I have a particular concern. There is a risk that this approach
leads to a narrowing of individual styles which over time will diminish
the culture. The end of the line is a bunch of clones. Unless the culture
explicitly seeks diversity and builds managing this successfully into its
culture (something that I don;t see very often) the potential benefits of
varied styles and personalities are lost."

Exactly. The question we all need to ask is, "To what extent does
ensuring 'fit' put the organization's success and/or survival at risk?"
Ian is exactly right that ensuring fit narrows the range of divesity
available to you. On the other hand, diversity is not eliminated, and it
is extremely important to understand what characteristics you are looking
for in this 'fit', so that to the extent you can achieve fit _and_
diversity, you do so.

Bean is an outdoor company, and to a great extent we prefer to hire people
with a love of the outdoors. However, it is important to understand that
outdoors people can be women, can be gay, can be very artistic, can be
creative, can be many, many things and still 'fit' in the very deepest
senses of the word. On the other hand, one could use 'fit' to justify
hiring only avid, 'hard-body' outdoors men, and that would be a terrible
loss to the organization.

So fit does not have to result in te hiring of clones, even though it can
be used to justify doing so. On the other hand, fit issues do eliminate
some people from consideration. At my company people who cannot commit
themselves to very high quality goods will not fit. We have had some who
thought they could make the transition, but they could not.

So, love of outdoors, yes. Avid rock climber, not necessarily. Love of
fine product, yes, but not sufficient. Not committed to fine quality, no.
Team-oriented, yes. Individual performer, also yes.

Despite even the best of efforts to be clear about what characteristics
one is seeking, there is always the worry that we are defining the mold
too narrowly, and in some way putting the organization in danger.


Rol Fessenden LL Bean, Inc 76234,

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