Want to Drive Change? Be Like Steve Jobs and Hire Pirates

Dollars to donuts, Fast Company is the best publication out their for anyone in the business world!

They hit a home run in my book recently with the article, An HR Lesson from Steve Jobs – If you want Change Agents, Hire Pirates! “Why? Because pirates can operate when rules and safety nets breakdown.” Here’s more from the article:

A pirate can function without a bureaucracy. Pirates support one another and support their leader in the accomplishment of a goal. A pirate can stay creative and on task in a difficult or hostile environment. A pirate can act independently and take intelligent risks, but always within the scope of the greater vision and the needs of the greater team.

Pirates are more likely to embrace change and challenge convention. “Being aggressive, egocentric, or antisocial makes it easier to ponder ideas in solitude or challenge convention,” says Dean Keith Simonton, a University of California psychology professor and an expert on creativity. “Meanwhile, resistance to change or a willingness to give up easily can derail new initiatives.” So Steve’s message was: if you’re bright, but you prefer the size and structure and traditions of the navy, go join IBM. If you’re bright and think different and are willing to go for it as part of a special, unified, and unconventional team, become a pirate.”

4 things pirates need to have

The article is an excerpt from a book on Steve Jobs titled, What Would Steve Jobs Do? How the Steve Jobs Way Can Inspire Anyone to Think Differently and Win by Peter Sander. It goes into some of the hiring philosophy that Jobs had while he was at Apple.

So, what did Steve Jobs’ pirates need to have?

  1. It’s not enough to be brilliant and think differently — a pirate has to have the passion, drive and vision to deliver to the customer a game-changing product.
  2. Will the person you hire, fall in love with your organization and products?
  3. A pirate is a traveler who comes to you with diverse background and experiences.
  4. Even though they’re a pirate, they still have to fit into the team and come with or be able to make connections.

“So, in Steve’s book, recruit a team of diverse, well-traveled, and highly skilled pirates, and they’ll follow you anywhere.”

Article Continues Below

Tim Sackett will speak on What Your CEO Wished HR Would Do at the TLNT Transform conference in Austin, TX Feb. 26-28, 2012. Click here for more information on attending this event. 

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community ? so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.


1 Comment on “Want to Drive Change? Be Like Steve Jobs and Hire Pirates

  1. Love this!   I always suspected I was a pirate…now I can proudly fly the jolly roger! I just need to find companies that are fans of Captain Sparrow….

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