Raise Your Hand

I just got back from my annual board meeting at Ohio University (Athens, Ohio) for the Russ College of Engineering. The advisory board I sit on is a good reason for me to get back to Athens and promote innovation and entrepreneurship within the academic ranks of the university.

Finally after four years I have made a small mark on campus by successfully adding an entrepreneurship track to the engineering focus disciplines. (As far as I know, this is the first in the history of the OU engineering college.) I’ve been outspoken on the value of “creating jobs” as compared to OUs traditional “get a job” attitude.

The best thing about Industrial Engineers is most of us don’t have “engineer” anywhere on our business cards. We are a select bunch of folks that have the chops for engineering, but care more about applying engineering techniques to be more effective than efficient. This certainly is in-line with the required skills to startup a tech company.

At our board dinner I listened to Michael Drevna from Oracle give a speech to the senior class in attendance and his speech, titled “Raise Your Hand” really grabbed my attention. In 15 minutes, Michael basically outlined one of the most important skills I know, engaging.

Nobody likes a brownnoser, but creating an environment where a group of talented people can engage with each other, is more important than the actual results that come out of that group. More specifically, the process of working with the right people engaged around the table, is better than having one genius with all the answers, EVEN if the answer from the genius is technically better than the groups response.

At Livio, at the end of a interview process for a new candidate, I have two questions. First, is this person better at doing their job than anyone else currently in the company? Second, are they going to be able to make a significant contribution to the team to help us grow? (Can they raise their hand?)

Well-said Michael. I hope senioritis didn’t distract the graduates from paying attention on that one.