Posts

“Is it the cards, or how you play them?”

Singh

Narinder Singh is the president of “Topcoder,” a company that administers computer-programming competitions. In a recent interview with Adam Bryant of the New York Times, Singh spoke about his early management experiences, leadership lessons, and hiring processes.

Here are some points we took away from the interview:

  • Don’t underestimate the power of stereotypes: Try to understand when you could use stereotypes and when it’s important to break and challenge them. “I started looking hard at the assumptions I was making about people, and what assumptions they were making about me.”
  • Ask “Was it the hand, or how you played it?”: If you stumble because of the cards you’re dealt, “you should get better cards… But if you played them badly, you need to think about how to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
  • Admire leaders that aren’t afraid to be challenged: People have to feel that the best idea wins. “If I have somebody working for me who’s really good, I should lose 80% of the arguments I have with them because they should know their area better than I do.”
  • Ask how a candidate travels: “Are you a get-there-early-for-the-flight person, or a barely-make-it-in-time person?” Then find out WHY! You want to understand how a candidate looks at the world.
  • Everyone has a unique perspective: “When you meet somebody, pull every piece of insight you can out of them.” You never know what you’ll learn!

Click here to view the full article in The New York Times.