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The 5 Tools Boeing should look for in its next CEO

Hiring the new CEO at Boeing will require 5 key tools, don't assume everyone knows what 0 to 1 means and hiring managers need to give faster candidate feedback

“If you build for yourself, you will always have product-market fit.”

Naval Ravikant

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In today’s email:

  • Job News: With Dave Calhoun leaving, 5 Tools Boeing should look for in their next CEO 5️⃣

  • Overheard at coffee: From 0 to 1 - what does this really mean when building a product? 🫡

  • Trending AI Tools: Level up your design skills with Creatie  ✈️

  • Hot Jobs: (keep scrolling down ⬇️)

  • Recruiting Fails: Slow hiring manager feedback on resumes an candidates

Job News

In case you haven’t followed the series of bad news of airplane maker Boeing, they can’t keep their doors on the airplanes they produce. In a predictable fashion, their CEO Dave Calhoun is calling it quits and the company is in search for a new CEO and a management shake-up is coming.

It’s hard to blame Calhoun because when he took over in January of 2020, Boeing had already been looking for a safe place to land. Just before he took over, there were two Boeing 737 airplane crashes that killed 346 people. These crashes were linked to a faulty flight software system and many quality control problems.

When Boeing hired their new CEO Calhoun in 2020, they had it wrong from the start. In recruiting, I see this too often. Companies fail to identify the Ideal Candidate Profile to what they need for the company. Calhoun is a trained accountant CEO and they should have hired an Engineering and Technology driven CEO. 

The company has a new chairman, Steven Mollenkopf, CEO of chipmaker Qualcomm from 2014 to 2021 and who has a background as an engineer and product manager. He will lead the search to find Boeing’s new CEO. 

The company needs to instill engineering and technical talent. 

Their next CEO will need to be like the 5 Tool Players you see when baseball talent scouts find top talent. The 5 Tool player is someone who can hit for average, hit for power, run, throw and field. These are rare finds but they are out there, Ken Griffey Jr, Willie Mays and so on. They can beat you with any of their 5 tools…

Boeing needs to look beyond finance and MBAs from famous colleges. They need a 5 tool CEO. Someone with 1) technology vision, 2) a sense for product 3) business acumen, 4)leadership and 5) resourcefulness. This was inspired by a talk I listened to about 10 years ago at LinkedIn’s Talent Connect Conference from former CEO of LinkedIn Jeff Weiner.

Here’s what they need to assess candidates on to find their 5 tool superstar:

  1. Technology vision - It’s 2024, not 1996. Boeing needs someone who can see the vision of where technology is going. Elon Musk is flying rockets to outer space while building electric cars, and tunnels under the earth. Someone like Musk is looking at the future of technology and has a vision and cares less about the quarterly profits for Wall-Street. At Boeing there needs to be less of a push for profits over quality.

  2. Product sensibility - The design of the airplane seems to be the same as 20 or 30 years ago. The design and software system of the airplane should be looked at regularly to make sure it meets the needs of the customers. When was the last time you stepped in an airplane and became impressed with the design? Probably never. 

  3. Business acumen - The successful CEO hire will need to turn the product and technology vision into reality and make money, but quality is more important than money. Especially now. Lives are at stake and customers do not need to worry about a safe landing. 

  4. Leadership - This will be a BIG turn around and the right person will need to have courage to tell people they are wrong and things need to change. They will need to fire people too. This will not be an easy job, but if done right everyone will be rooting for the person to succeed and want to follow them.

  5. Resourcefulness - Get Shizzle done. Yes, this person will need to have a network to get things done and do it with better quality and care than previously done. But they will need to get it done fast.

Most likely the jobs you are hiring for are not as complex as the Boeing CEO job, but having at least 2 or 3 of the 5 tools in a candidate will be enough. When you do find someone with all 5 tools they are too hard to hire because they are the next Musk, Gates, Bezos, etc. or they might just be the perfect person for the Boeing CEO job. 

Finding someone with engineering and product skills is priority #1 for Boeing. This person can hire a strong CFO to help him or her with the business acumen part of the job.

Good luck to the search firm looking for the Boeing CEO. You will need better coffee to make this happen.

UPGRADE your COFFEE below 👇

Overheard at coffee ☕️

From 0 to 1 - what does this really mean?

When recruiting for product, design and engineering roles the phrase, “from 0 to 1” gets thrown around zoom calls like everyone just knows what that means and people are sitting around at companies ready to take the next product from 0 to 1.

In reality, 0 to 1 is messy, takes time and it’s difficult to find people with this experience who actually took a product (i.e., Uber, Tesla, E-Scooters, etc.) from 0 to 1 but these people are out there.

Julie Zhuo led Product Design at Facebook from 2006 to 2020 and she has the 0 to 1 experience and probably who your company wants to hire but good luck. She now teaches companies on how to scale and grow with her company, Sundial.

Her 2017 article on taking a product from 0 to 1 is timeless.

She breaks down the “0 to 1” into 4 steps as follows:

  1. Define your people's outcomes - Products solve people's problems.

  2. Get Product-Market Fit

  3. Reconciliation - You have 1000 users. Now it’s time to build your product the right way

  4. Growth - Congrats on your first 1000 users. Now find 1000 more and keep making your product better.

The takeaway for you builders - start with the people problem you are solving. What problem/s are people dealing with? Make it so easy to describe, your neighbor understands what you are doing. Define the problem and find out what is broken and how it will help people in their daily lives. Get real clear on the problem you are solving and make sure this is a problem worth solving. 

When you have enough users - maybe it’s 100 or 1000 but the main point is get a good sample, get their feedback and use it to make your product better and fix everything. Then focus on growth. 

Taking a product from 0 to 1 is not easy but look around at all the products you use. There were many people involved in developing those products. Research who worked on them and you can find the people behind the product.

Probably the safest way to find product market fit is to build something you want that solves the problem in your life. This way you can have product-market fit.

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Recruiting Fails: Waiting to hear back from hiring managers on candidates gives recruiters a bad reputation and is terrible for the candidate experience. You should give feedback within 48 hours. 

We once had a hiring manager respond 3 weeks after we submitted a few candidates. Sadly, his position got caught up in a hiring freeze.

Do you have recruiting Fail Stories? Reply with your epic fails – we'll feature them. Own your blunders, embrace vulnerability, and let's all level up together.

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