Pattern Matching

I just watched this video on spirals and it struck me that pattern matching is very important to us collectively. Pattern matching is helpful.

It makes us better athletes, more efficient at work, and keeps us out of danger. It helps us find people we can relate to, among strangers. When the right circumstances are present, it helps us to be funny.

As a lawyer, I spend a lot of time pattern matching. Expert litigators will scour through analogous case law to find a fact pattern that matches their scenario. We corporate lawyers like to see similar deal documents to our present scenario so that we can capture the important negotiation points quickly.

And as an entrepreneur it’s no different - recognizing patterns create efficiencies in assessing the strengths and working styles of new hires, or deciding when to back out of a lengthy meeting or conversation.

I find that I sometimes rely on patterns when hiring, which means I am probably guilty of selection bias. That makes me think that my strong tendency to rely on patterns to make decisions can be limiting.

Our recent series of articles on hiring diversity (including this article entitled “Journey into Hiring Diversity” and this article from our colleagues at one of the fastest growing agencies in Toronto), along with some introspection on the journey of personal and professional growth that I have observed in some of our best team members, has made me think about our approach to recruiting and cultivating employees.

So to that end, I’ve made a planning list to support the growth of our team in 2018:

  • Break our hiring patterns, and broaden the net - recruit nice people, and recruit them quickly.
  • Try them out and get to know our recruits as quickly as possible. Build a structured program to help our new recruits to understand how to work with us, work together and to gain an understanding of their interests and skills.
  • Create activities that allow for responsible “real” work, that at the same time does not put the business at risk.
  • Frequent touchpoints within this program to provide feedback that will encourage our recruits to “stretch” in terms of skill development, and beyond their comfort zone on delivering “real” work.
  • Look for new ways to promote team collaboration that take into account that not everyone “fits the pattern” for how I like to work.

It can be a real struggle to break a pattern, and especially so on a startup budget. So why bother? If it ain’t broke, why fix it?

But as our expert on spirals reminds us, it took years before he spotted differences in the spiral patterns, and those differences, for him, led to many new and beautiful outcomes.

Written by Rajah. Rajah Lehal is Founder and CEO of Rajah is a legal technologist and technology lawyer who is, together with the Clausehound team, capturing and sharing lawyer expertise, building deal negotiation libraries, teaching negotiation in classrooms, and automating negotiation with software.