It’s becoming increasingly common for companies to publicly detail their culture and management ideas, a trend kicked off by Netflix’s famous culture presentation. Lately a presentation from Possible Health, a non-profit health provider that works mostly in rural Nepal, is attracting attention.
This is a pretty interesting company in its own right. Possible Health has designs to provide care inexpensively in desperately poor and remote places. The presentation borrows pretty heavily from the language and ideas of the startup world, applying those principles to purpose-driven work.
But in an interview with First Round Review, CEO Mark Arnoldy says his non-profit’s experience could also be instructive in the for-profit world. Here’s the full deck:
Since Possible operates in regions of a developing country with highly constrained resources and almost non-existent infrastructure, making its processes simple and functional—no matter the setting—is essential. Staff must work with minimal support, and to do that they must possess grit, Arnoldy explained:
“You want people to be dedicated to the battle irrespective of outcome. We always share a quote from the Gita that says, ‘You’re obligated to the battle, but not entitled to its fruits,'” he says. “No matter what gets in their way, they will continue to execute. That, more than anything, is the best secret sauce I’ve seen for any organization.”
Much of the world lives in circumstances with far less than what the engineers, designers, and leaders of Western companies take for granted. The people, products, and companies that will succeed—particularly when operating in emerging economies—are those who can be resilient, scale rapidly, and bounce back if things go wrong. (Some in Silicon Valley have made a similar point.)
To find this grit in potential hires, Arnoldy suggests two interview questions:
First, ask candidates if they feel lucky to be where they are in their career. A positive answer points to optimism and gratitude. Then ask candidates to tell you about a time when they took a risk and failed, and a time when they took a risk and succeeded. Ask them what the difference was in their approach, how they felt, what they did afterward. “This really shows you how willing someone is to be bold, to fail, how resilient they are when they do, how humble and execution-focused they remain even when they succeed. Grit is very closely tied to humility.”