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Having a WTF Notebook

This was too good of an article and idea not to share. The concept is a WTF list. He calls it a notebook, but it’s really just a series of lists. The author, Nat Bennett, talks about how when he acquires a new team (starts a new job!), he spends the first couple of weeks writing things down on the WTF list. But the key is, he doesn’t share it with the team or his boss. 

Then, after waiting a few weeks, he goes through the list and crosses them off if they meet any of these criteria:

  1. There’s actually a good reason for it
  2. The team is already working on a fix
  3. The team doesn’t care about it
  4. It’s really easy to fix (so he does)

For whatever is remaining on the list, he’ll start talking to other people on the team and ask them why things on the list are the way they, and how they got to be that way. He approaches it with curiosity rather than criticism. He’ll approach his manager with, “Now that I’ve been on the team for a few weeks, this is what I’m seeing. We’re making progress on some of it, but some of these seem like they’re going to take longer. I wanted to get your thoughts before I try to do anything about them. Is there something I’m missing or is there a particular area I should focus?”

He goes on to share why the WTF issues are typically there in the first place:

  1. The team hasn’t noticed it
  2. The team got used to it
  3. The problem is new
  4. They don’t know how to fix it
  5. They tried to fix it and failed

The overall premise of the list is to make it so people feel like he is a problem solver and once he started in the company, things instantly improved. 

This is FANTASTIC advice for a recently placed candidate. Let’s ensure they get off on the right foot! 

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Tricia Tamkin, headhunter, advisor, coach, and gladiator. Tricia has spoken at over 50 recruiting events, been quoted in multiple national publications, and her name is often dropped in groups as the solution to any recruiters’ challenges. She brings over 30 years of deep recruiting experience and offers counsel in a way which is perspective changing and entertaining.

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