Hu asks job applicants, “How would you describe who you are, in the core of your DNA, in one word?”. (His own answers are below.)
Great question! Can you distill your work identity to a single word? My answer: “leader”. Earlier in my career my answers would have been, “Designer”, “Problem-solver”, “Translator”. While I still am those. In the last two years I have recognized that most people I work with (both clients and my team) do not feel comfortable having overall responsibility.
At the same time, I recognized that I, on the otherhand, am most engaged in my work when I take on responsibility for more than my own work. It bring out my best resources and motivates me to work hard and keep my eye on the ball.
With friends and family we often start our day’s conversation by asking, “what is the caption?” as a way of getting the other person to drop the minutea of their day and share the pith.
The one-word format intrigues me. In today’s “Brand You” career culture we talk often go on and on about ourselves in great depth, making sure to mention every aspect of our skills and accomplishments. What’s the caption?
Hu asks, “who are you?” What can we learn by answering, “what do you make?”
My question, “How would you describe what you do, in the core of your DNA, in one word?”
For me, it’s, “Products”.
And if you had two words to encapsulate your career?
Using Just One Word, Try to Describe Your Career DNA, by Adam Bryant, New York Times, Thursday, April 18th, 2013
- You worked your way up from intern to chief operating officer at Salesforce in a decade. Where did you get your drive?
- My parents gave me a lot of freedom, which actually allowed me to find myself.
- One early trait: I always tried to do the thing that people said I couldn’t do, or was off-limits.
- How did you start your rise up the ranks at Salesforce?
- The Salesforce C.E.O. wrote, “We’re having some problems in Europe.” I talked to 20 people, did an analysis and sent it to him. He said, “I want you to tell me what’s wrong with the company.”
- My advice: Don’t solve the problem that your manager or your boss tells you to solve. Solve the problem that either they don’t know they have, or solve the problem they know they have but nobody is solving.
- That was a bold move.
- If I think I have a good idea, I just can’t help sharing
- What do you do to spur innovation?
- We sort and filter up great ideas and execute the really good ones.
- What are some unusual things about Salesforce’s culture?
- On internal social network employees can rant about anything.
- What else?
- We ensure we are always communicating and aligning.
- Every year, the management presents the business plan to every employee worldwide: The values and the 10 most important things we’re going to do
- This is V2MOM (vision, values, methods, obstacles and measures).
- Any employee can see what I’m supposed to get done that year.
- How do you hire?
- I ask “why” a lot, to learn what motivated people to make the decisions they made throughout their career.
- A bias toward people in an organization for more than five or six years.
- I force people to prioritize things
- What behavior do you have a low tolerance for?
- Responding to a request with a three month-long detailed analysis
- What other career advice do you give people?
- Answer “the core of your DNA, in one word?”
- Know who you are, and really understand what you’re exceptional at.
- How would you answer that question?
- “Analyst,” then “Problem-solver.” Today, “Leader.”