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In every organization, there's an ebb and flow.  How things get done, what the norms are and what's acceptable related to the way you communicate to the rest of the organization.

I've always been interested in how hiring decisions send messages to the rest of the organization.  There's  a hundred positive ways to use hiring decisions to send great messages to the rest of the organization.

Of course, the opposite is also true.  There's a bunch of ways to make yourself a target by the hires you make in any organization.  I was reminded of this by a recent hires Uber has made from the hacking community to make their current and future security airtight.  More on the hirings from Wired:

"IF IT’S POSSIBLE to wirelessly attack an Internet-connected Jeep to hijack its steering and brakes, what could hackers do to a fully self-driving car? A pair of the world’s top automotive security researchers Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 10.23.01 AMmay be about to find out, with none other than Uber footing the bill.

Starting Monday, the ridesharing startup’s Advanced Technology Center will employ Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, two hackers who have devoted the last three years to developing digital attacks on cars on trucks. Their work culminated last month in a full, over-the-internet takeover of a 2014 Jeep Cherokee, (with me behind the wheel) including the ability to turn off its transmission or engine, and even disable its brakes at low speeds. Their demonstration led Chrysler to recall 1.4 million affected vehicles, the first known automotive recall for a cybersecurity vulnerability."

On the surface, these seem like smart hires and these guys are probably going to do great.  Obviously smart hires based on what they've already done.

The devil is in the details.  The big issue is optics and communication.

By using a PR cycle to announce these hires, you could say that Uber is going to make any future self-driving car even more of a target for hackers that it would have been otherwise.  There's nothing that a good hacker loves more than hearing that a specific target has been designed to keep them out, right?

Uber could have made these great hires and kept it on the down low.  That would have seen the talent go to work and possibly not have the added burden of becoming a target through the PR news cycle of their hiring.

Of course, we do the same thing in our companies, especially when a new manager comes in from the outside.  Here's a couple of ways I've seen it work:

1. New manager comes in and loudly announces she''s going to bring in talent from outside the company for key roles.

2. Existing manager pivots from current feeder groups and isn't shy about saying that hires from the internal feeder groups in question don't seem to be working.

3. Change agent from outside the company is selected from a key role - and her history as a change agent is loudly bandied about for anyone who will listen, including in the formal announcement.

4. Manager promotes internal employee into role that's widely seen as his henchman, oversells his background in the org announcement.

What's the key attribute that ties all of these together?  It's not the selection itself, it's the fact that the communication that accompanied it was a bit of an oversell.  The hire itself was good, but then the hiring manager had to over-promise, often times pointing out perceived shortcomings in the past incumbents.

The result is that all the internals that heard that message - regardless of its merits - are going to be gunning for that person going into the new role.

When looking for organizational change via a hire, by all means go get the change.  

Just understand that overselling the results people can expect can actually hinder the effectiveness of a new hire - and even make them a target at times.


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