If this former Googler’s perspective is correct, the tech titan would benefit from a comprehensive talent strategy that helps them hire better managers, teach those managers to lead, match talent to the jobs that need to be done…and more!
Here’s the article by Praveen Seshadri that I discuss: https://medium.com/@pravse/the-maze-is-in-the-mouse-980c57cfd61a
Imagine How Much $$$ Google COULD Be Making!!
Google SHOULD Be Making A Lot More Money!!
$284 Billion is a huge revenue number but it could be so much more with talent management.
This is an edited transcript of the video above. I quote the Medium post from Praveen Seshadri extensively.
As a lot of you know, I work with a lot of Google products, one of which is App Sheet, and this is an article on Medium by this gentleman who actually was the founder of App Sheet and sold it to Google. His three year retainer just expired, and now he’s talking about what he saw at Google.
What I really see here is a dramatic need for talent optimization at Google. Just imagine how much money they could be making… they are printing money by the bucket full and wheelbarrow full. Just imagine how much they could be making if they actually took a moment to optimize their people and departments.
Make sure the right people were doing the right job and were hired for the right purpose…and then even if that talent was connected to the business strategy.
Let’s take a look at a couple of highlighted things from his article. He left Google understanding how a once great company is slowly ceasing to function. “Google has 175,000 plus capable and well compensated employees who get very little done quarter over quarter, year over year.”
What a quote: “Despite many wanting to experience personal satisfaction and impact from their work, the system trains them to quell these inappropriate desire.”
Think about that!
“These inappropriate desires, and the recent layoffs have caused angst within the company. As many employees view this as a failure of management or a surrender to activist investors.”
“In a way, this reflects a general lack of self-awareness across both management and employees.”
One of the things, the greatest thing that a manager can have, or one of the greatest things that a manager can have is self-awareness. That is something that my consulting for businesses can do.
“So any employee you dissatisfy is career risk. So managers aim for a hundred percent satisfaction among the employees, among their employees and employee kid gloves, even with their worst underperformers.”
So you’re treating your underperformers probably even better than your top performers!!
This is what he talked about when he joined Google, and he had hoped that their respect each other core value would mean respect the unique strengths of each person and figure out how to get each person to maximize their potential and impact.
That’s the name of the game with talent optimization.
Instead, it runs into the general organization. Lack of desire to change anything and respect each other is translated into find a way to include and agree with every person’s opinion. So great.
You’re sinking to the lowest common denominator at one of the most important companies in the world. Uh, the next thing, don’t bother being innovative or doing something that wasn’t in the official plan set six months ago, because even if you did, your managers will not line up the associated development project management, UX doc, legal and marketing resources to make it launchable anyway, pretty interesting.
So do not innovate and do not get out of the preassigned box in any way, shape or form. This talks about their internal processes.
It is almost as though the company is stuck in a time warp from two day decades ago with waterfall planning processes waterfall at Google. That’s interesting.
“If all the senior managers and the team spend one month in every six planning and one month goes on vacations and one goes doing performance reviews, there’s suddenly just about enough time to do a re reorg and change in strategy once a year.”
Right. Wow. Okay.I’ve seen this and I have friends who are work at big companies handling huge budgets in search.
“But unless a customer pays an awful lot of money, they get some poorly informed frontline support engineer who knows far less about the product than the customer themselves, and they’re made to run the gauntlet of receiving useless answers, but yay time to first answer was less than 30 minutes. So the customer success dashboard is all green. Everyone at every level will spend hundreds of hours preparing a single executive presentation, but it will be the most junior employee and often not even a full-time employee who is tasked with helping a customer for 10 minutes.”
This is the key issue here right now. Google has more than doubled in size in a matter of just a few years. Despite ongoing attrition, this guy joined at the start of 2020 and by sometime in 2022, he had been at Google longer than half of all Googlers. So in two years, two and a half years, hi, he became, he was there longer than more than half.
Hiring at this pace is always a problem because it leads to bad hires and those bad hires create more bad. . Now, bad is subjective, and he rightly says every person can be individually good. But here is the thing. Are they placed in positions that maximize the strengths and minimize their weaknesses?
That’s tough to do in a hurry. At the junior levels, Google has a challenging interview process, and the general caliber of hires is good. This is his opinion. Most of this raw talent is wasted and their skills gradually atrophy, but enjoy some free massages to get over that. The problem and negative impact lies in the manager ranks and intensifies at the director level.
And higher hiring interviews at this level are entirely subjective, and the quality of the interviewer’s matters. Ooh. In most cases, the skills needed to become a director at not so elite enterprise, company X are not aligned with the skills needed to become an effective director at Google. So interesting.
The flip side of hiring, of course, is talent management and retention. From what he saw at Google Cloud, they could do a lot better identifying and nurturing talent, moving talent to fit to best fit roles. And overall optimizing the people already in the company. Instead, or instead, the pattern seems to be wait until someone is in happening leaves, then just open a rec to replace them.
Minimal effort to steer people to alternative roles and maximize talent. Such a waste.
Continue to believe that all performance reviews are standardized in anyone on any other team X at Google will be a good hire at the same level in your own team. This means teams do not conduct thorough internal interviews before an internal transfer. It’s just polite softball conversation.
That’s the opposite of talent optimization, by the way.
And here is how it shows up in, and this truly is like, imagine how much money Google could be making. if they weren’t doing it this way. Decisions are made by people with roles or titles rather than people with expertise. Wouldn’t it be nice if those were aligned if your business strategy were aligned with your people?
Almost all important decisions are made at VP level or above, usually by people who have position, power and like to voice their opinion. To make matters worse, VPs ro rotate, rotate to different products or come from other companies, but start making critical decisions, often barely knowing their products or its customers Strategies rarely articulated, and in any cases usually changed upon review, uh, with the next VP up the chain, or if it doesn’t immediately translate to success,
this is the point. if what is being described here is just get on the wheel, don’t rock the boat, uh, do things cuz this is how we’ve been doing them and. where your manager may not know what he or she is doing, and if you try to innovate, it’s squashed. But the opposite of that is imagine what motivated people could do at that company.
They’re capable of immense and uniquely [00:09:00] valuable contributions in the right circumstances, especially if they feel that their work means something like he mentioned up top of this article. That most of them want their work to mean something. Most people do want their work to mean something. Um, that is just my take on this guy’s take of Google, but I can’t get away from the thought of just imagine how much money.
Google could make and how they could truly impact the world if they invested in talent optimization. And even if they just started small on one small team that’s trying to drive growth or launch a new product, let’s make sure that the right type of person is on that team and that you have the right type of team to go launch that new initiative.
That is an. But it’s also based on science. I’d love to talk to anyone about that. I, uh, look forward to any comments. Um, this is just my opinion [00:10:00] on this man’s opinion, having left Google after three years, but I can tell you this, I used his product app, app sheet, and I didn’t see it change at all over the three years that just ended.
Anyway, thanks a lot and, uh, Tay Musslewhite. My website is digital kimberlite.com. That’s D I G I T A l K I M B E R L I T e.com. Have a great day, look forward to talking to you.