REWORK – FINAL Insights Part #3 – Hiring, Damage Control and Culture

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Do you want insights on how to improve in the areas of hiring, damage control and company culture? If you truly want to improve your business, then open your mind to new ideas.

First, I should remind everyone that the insights I share here are copyright Jason Fried & David Heinmeier, the co-authors of REWORK and the founders of 37 Signals.

The first post dealt with business pitfalls, how to best taking action and how to stay committed to on-going progress within your business. The second post dealt with maximizing productivity, dealing effectively with competitors, evaluating your company and the best practices for promotion.

Hiring, Damage Control and Culture

 I find many businesses stick with a hiring process or approach they have always used. Their current practice may not work well, but they not willing to even consider why they need to improve it. Because of this, their company culture isn’t all that it could be, and many times they are living in a damage control mode with employees and clients. They face higher turn-over than they would otherwise, and their company is far from a place in which people actually WANT to work. They are simply there because they have a need to work somewhere. My hope today is that you would be challenged to think about your hiring process and company culture in a fresh new way, and possibly evolve your company for the profit of everyone involved.

Today we will talk about several themes of the book in the areas of hiring, damage control and company culture. I am sharing what hit home most with me personally. If any of the below insights strike a chord with you, I would encourage you to pick up a copy. Though I believe the book is helpful for any entrepreneur with any size business, I do believe that is speaks most to small businesses, which I personally have a heart for because of being a  small business owner of Sharp Innovations, Inc. and a life/business coach with Live with Purpose Coaching.


  • Don’t hire for pleasure; hire to kill pain.  Always ask yourself: What if we don’t hire anyone? Is that extra work that’s burdening us really necessary (pg. 204)?
  • If you lose someone, don’t replace him immediately.  See how long you can get by without that person and that position.  You’ll often discover you don’t need as many people as you think (pg. 204).
  • The right time to hire is when there’s more work than you can handle for a sustained period of time (pg. 204).
  • Problems start when you have more people than you need.   You start inventing work to keep everyone busy.  Artificial work leads to artificial projects.  And those artificial projects lead to real costs and complexity (pg. 206).
  • The cover letter is a much better test than a resume.  You hear someone’s actual voice and are able to recognize if it’s in tune with you and your company (pg. 211).
  • How long someone’s been doing it is overrated.  What matters is how well they’ve been doing it (pg. 213).
  • With a small team, you need people who are going to do work, not delegate work.  Everyone’s got to be producing.  No one can be above the work (pg. 218).
  • You want someone who’s capable of building something from scratch and seeing it through (pg. 220).
  • Test-drive employees:
    • The best way to do that is to actually see them work.  Hire them for a mini project, even if it’s for just twenty or forty hours.
    • You can even make up a fake project.
    • Prospective mangers that simulates the day of an executive (pg. 227).

Damage Control

  • When something goes wrong, someone is going to tell the story.  You’ll be better off if it’s you (pg. 231).
  • The message should come from the top. The highest-ranking person available should take control (pg. 232).
  • An “I” apology is a lot stronger than a “we” apology (pg. 238).
  • Sometimes you need to go ahead with a decision you believe in, even if it’s unpopular at first (pg. 244).
  • You may hear only negative voices even when the majority of your customers are happy about a change (pg. 244, 245).
  • They may even wind up liking the change more than the old way, once they get used to it (pg. 245).


  • Culture is the by-product of consistent behavior (pg. 249).
  • The ability to change course is one of the big advantages of being small (pg. 251).
  • Pay attention to today and worry about later when it gets here.  Otherwise you’ll waste energy, time and money fixating on problems that may never materialize (pg. 251).
  • Rockstar environments develop out of trust, autonomy, and responsibility (pg. 253).
  • How much time do you waste writing rule books that never get read? Look at the costs and you quickly realize that failing to trust your employees is awfully expensive (pg. 256).
  • Don’t create a policy because one person did something wrong once. Policies are only meant for situations that come up over and over again (pg. 260).
  • Write to be read, don’t write just to write.  Whenever you write something, read it out loud.  Does it sound the way it would if you were actually talking to someone?  If not, how can you make it more conversational (pg. 263)?
  • When you turn into one of these people who add ASAP to the end of every request, you’re saying everything is high priority.  And when everything is high priority, nothing is (pg. 268).

So what should you consider REWORKING in your business? If you have any questions about any of these insights or how to adapt them to your world, feel free to contact me or the authors.

I help my coaching clients focus on important life lessons like these so they can achieve better balance both personally and professionally. If you’d like to find out more about my life coaching company, Live With Purpose Coaching, feel free to contact me at (717)283-2377.Visit for more resources.

God Bless,


* feel free to contact me personally with any questions or comments.


Fried, Jason and David Heinemeir Hanson. Rework. New York: Crown Publishing Group, 2010. Print.