Experience vs. Seniority

by Fabrice Calando on July 24, 2014

For a company – the HR staff, the senior execs and even the employees – it’s easy to confuse seniority with experience.

Seniority is simply a measure of time spent at a company. If you’ve been there 1 year you’re less senior than if you’ve been there 10. That’s all seniority is.

Experience is a measure of the skills, knowledge and know-how accumulated. If you’ve worked in 5 different industries you have different skills than if you’ve worked in 1. It’s much harder to measure than seniority.

In fact, it’s for that precise reason that companies (startups and established companies alike) have put more emphasis on seniority than experience. Most, have no idea what experience specific rolls require. Do we need squiggly careers or more linear ones? Do we need practical or theoretical knowledge?

The assumption was that time-spent (seniority) equaled experience, but it’s increasingly apparent that isn’t the case. A new recruit with a breadth of experience probably has more value than the senior exec who hasn’t updated his knowhow.

This doesn’t mean seniority is a useless metric, it means it’s a dangerous one to use. Easy yes, but dangerous.


The winning team

by Fabrice Calando on July 23, 2014

Many small factors come to together when a team wins – good chemistry, talent, lucky breaks, home advantage. Most of the these can, from time to time, be determining elements. But below that there are two foundations that everything rests on. Without them the chemistry, the talent, the breaks, the advantage can only go so far.

The winning team has a game plan and the right members.

Without a strong plan, team members are lost: not sure of what they need to do. It leads to star status, selfishness and isolation. On the other hand and great plan can only be executed by the right players. If your plan requires a strong left-hand shot and all your players are right handed, the plan will fall short.

A game plan is a theory on how to win. It outlines what you believe needs to happen for success to happen. It even defines what success is. Naturally, it also outlines what’s expected out of each team member. Success relies on a strong, predictable* plan that lies out exactly what success will look like. And then you need the right team members to make it happen. That can lead to difficult choices. Some will have to be let go or moved. Others will be called up to take the place.

If you aren’t going where you feel you need to, look to your game plan and your team.

*predictable doesn’t mean safe, boring and unimaginative. It means the players know what to do and what’s expected.


Brave men take paternity leave

by Fabrice Calando on July 22, 2014

As soon as my son was born I took two weeks off to be with him and help my wife. Among all the congratulations emails I got from colleagues, one sent me a link to this HBR article: Brave Men Take Paternity Leave. It outlines why men of my generation don’t take time off when their children are born. From the fear of losing out at work all the way through to simply not having any paid leave available, men don’t take time off.

And it’s too bad, it’s proven that father/child time is correlated with lower drug and alcohol use later on, better social adaptability, better grades in school, etc.

I’m lucky, in Quebec where I live, we get up to 5 weeks off and I plan to use them all. Add to that regular vacation time, I’ll be with my son for roughly 2 months this year.

Some companies like Yahoo have taken over and offer paid leave. I think in the end it comes down to each new father and his priorities.

I get the pressures of a career and the illusion that being at your desk matters more than anything, but I hope more of us can appreciate more of that first year of life. Because, in the end, I think we’ll appreciate those moments more than yet another meeting.


God has heard (enter Samuel)

July 21, 2014

I’m back from a two week hiatus. On July 5th I became a father. My son Samuel and his mom are doing great. They’re both truly amazing and inspiring. The past couple of weeks have been truly fascinating. I’m blessed to be able to live this and decided to take some time off from online [...]

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What’s a business?

July 2, 2014

A business is a theory. It’s an idea about what what the world needs and what the world should look like. As with any theory, some are right and some are wrong. The only way to truly test is with a clear set of assumptions and a path to prove its validity. Sure there will [...]

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What do the numbers say?

June 27, 2014

If you look at the numbers, feature phones are much better than smart phones – longer battery life, sturdier and longer lasting. Of course those numbers aren’t measuring the true difference between the two types of devices. A smart phone puts the world in the palm of your hand, it redefines what that internet is. [...]

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How to write more often

June 26, 2014

Seth Godin is known to have said, “we’ve never heard of speakers block, so do we have writers block?” Or something along those lines. Here are some ideas on how to fight writers block: 1. Establish a routine. Routines free up time and mind space so you can create. In fact, many prolific artists had [...]

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Failing to see afar

June 25, 2014

Myopia means you can’t see the horizon. We have have corrective tools that allow us to once again see into the distance (glasses, contact lenses, surgery). Myopia isn’t just a physical ailment. We all suffer from it from time to time. Marketers suffer from it, so do sales people and programmers too. Employees suffer from [...]

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A few thoughts on Sunday blues

June 23, 2014

Sunday blues are the worst. The apprehension of yet another workweek. I’ve been lucky, it’s not something I’ve felt a lot in recent years, but there was a time when I would lose sleep over just how much I feared the upcoming Monday. It’s crazy to me how we can build our lives in a [...]

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Letting serendipity in

June 19, 2014

A few years ago, I listened to Lenny Rachitsky talk about serendipity at TEDxConcordia. Google Maps, Twitter and Facebook he felt had largely removed it from our lives. He was on a mission to bring it back. I don’t know if serendipity is a strategy or how happy you would be if Google Maps directed [...]

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