When we recruit, we recruit for uncorrelated weirdness. We first accept the fact that we are all quite weird in our own idiosyncratic ways. We then seek others who are weird in concretely different ways than the folks already working at the firm. When a recruit finally makes it through and shows up, we tell them, “no matter what you do, do not try to fit in. Because the opposite of fitting in is belonging, and to really contribute, we need you to belong.”
Belonging does not require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are. Our senior management is intentional in helping everyone feel like they belong at the firm, because if they work here, they do. To make a truly original contribution, you have to be irrationally obsessed with something for an extended period of time. And staying irrationally obsessed, especially because we never know if success is on the other side, requires a feeling of deep safety that only comes from feeling true belonging. Imagine an entire firm feeling like they truly belong? That’s powerful.