With new ventures or positions, it is difficult to evaluate at any meaningful depth potential partners or colleagues. While you may be able to tell if a potential partner is smart or capable, it is more challenging to assess their integrity or temperance.
In situations like these, I use The Decades Test — I ask myself if I would want to work with this person for decades.
Although time is our most precious asset, we tend to work with short-term, transactional partners. When you go to work this morning, look around. How many of your colleagues would you actively, enthusiastically choose to work with for the next twenty years?
As you think about and build teams, I encourage you to use The Decades Test as a first filter. Before you evaluate work history or grades, you will want to know if this person could be a long-term partner. It’s a clarifying — and humbling — exercise.
(PS: The corollary is that you want to be someone others want to work with for decades. This requires not only proficiency, but kindness, decency, and integrity.)