↑ comment by LarissaHeskethRowe ·
2019-09-22T13:22:56.674Z · EA(p) · GW(p)
I’d like to do two things with my reply here.
- First, to try and answer your questions as best I can.
- But then second, start to work out how to make future conversations with you about Leverage more productive
1. ANSWERING YOUR QUESTIONS
I’d recommend first reading my recent reply to Greg [EA(p) · GW(p)] because this will give you a lot of relevant context and answers some of your questions.
Questions a, b and d: outputs, resources and future impact
“(a) are Leverage's outputs truly as they appear?”
“(b) Is its consumption of financial resources and talent, as it appears?”
“(d) How will Leverage measure any impact from its ninth year of operation?”
In terms of questions a, b and d, I will note the same thing as I said in my reply to Greg [EA(p) · GW(p)]which is that we’re currently working both on a retrospective of the last eight and a half years of Leverage and on updating Leverage’s existing website. I think these posts and updates will then allow individuals to assess for themselves
- our past work and outputs
- whether it was worth the resources invested
- our plans for the future
For now, though sections “What did Leverage 1.0 work on?” and “What is Leverage doing now” in my reply to Greg will give you some information about things Leverage did and its plans for the future.
It's hard to comment on whether any of these things are “as they appear” as (1) there isn't enough public content to assess and (2) different people seem to have had very different experiences with Leverage and have very different views on their work
This means how Leverage's work appears depends on an individual’s interactions with them. This has made it hard for any consensus to emerge and so debates continue. Once we've published more of our content, I hope it will be easier to sync up and assess them.
Questions e and f: staffing cross over between Leverage and Paradigm
Your questions (referencing one of your other posts about Leverage):
“(e) How many of the staff at Leverage Research are also affiliated with Paradigm Academy?”
“(f) How much of the leadership of Leverage Research is also playing a leading role at Paradigm Academy?”
On questions, e and f, see the section in my recent reply to Greg called “Who works for Leverage and Paradigm?”.
Geoff Anders is the founder and Executive Director of both Paradigm and Leverage and as such is currently the only member of staff working at both organisations. The two are sister organisations with different missions that collaborate. Leverage's mission was essentially conducting research. Paradigm's focus was much more on training. This means that there is some natural overlap and historically the two organisations have worked closely together. Paradigm uses Leverage’s research content in their training and in return they provide practical support (operations support, help to update the website) to Leverage.
We have no intention as you and the original poster propose of using the Paradigm or other brands to replace Leverage if there are too many problems with its brand. We created other organisations with different brands to distinguish between the different work they were doing. We’ve intentionally continued our current research under the same name so as to link to our origins with Leverage 1.0. When we update both websites (starting with Leverage) over the coming months you will be able to see the teams at each.
Questions i) and iv) discussing potential recruits in slack and recruitment at events
“(i) staff still discuss recruitees on individual slack channels”
“(iv) specific lists of attendees are recruited from EA events”
On question i), yes Leverage discuss people they are considering hiring on slack both in recruitment slack channels and DMs as part of deciding whether to hire someone.
With regards to workshops in particular, we will mention people attending workshops on slack but this is usually in the form of staff coordinating to arrange training and share training relevant information (e.g. “this person had trouble belief reporting, it would be good to assign a trainer during the 1-1 who could help them belief report"). If someone is a workshop attendee and we are considering hiring them they might be discussed in both contexts.
Leverage and Paradigm have also (in answer to question iv) attended (EA and non-EA) events with lists of people they plan to speak to because they might be good potential hires. In addition, at events, they often do things like having tables so that people interested in working there (or interested in their work in general) can ask questions. Of course, they also attend events for non-recruitment reasons (e.g. learning about interesting topics by attending talks and having discussions with people). Leverage are particularly interested in meeting independent researchers. Paradigm are interested in meeting people interested in self-improvement.
Question ii) “mind-mapping is still used during recruitment of staff”
On question ii), here I assume you’re asking about using the charting procedure which I think might have been called mind mapping at some point. This is a way of taking system one beliefs someone has and trying to map out why a person has those beliefs and what actions they taking as a result of those beliefs that they want to change.
Historically Paradigm and Leverage did do some charting with potential hires to see if they could use some of the basic techniques and found them helpful. Since Paradigm used charting in training and Leverage in research it was important new hires are aware of that, have a basic understanding of the tools and some interest in it. This is no longer needed in the Leverage hiring process as not all researchers will be doing any research relating to CT or charting but continues to be relevant to Paradigm for training so they still do some charting with potential hires. Staff will of course use their models of psychology to aid hiring decisions because they have useful models in this area but this is more akin to the way that recruiters might use their recruitment experience and intuition to aid decisions than I expect people are imagining.
Leverage and Paradigm both have a strict confidentiality policy for all one to one sessions with individuals which means this information is not discussed as part of recruitment discussions without permission.
While I don’t expect my experience to necessarily be indicative, I can speak a bit to my personal recruitment experience with Leverage. I worked on a trial project part-time for a couple of months looking at things like types of events different communities run and why people join communities and I attended a formal interview. I did charting with someone on I think two occasions, both at my own personal request and nothing to do with hiring. My most relevant nearby experience is in running recruitment rounds at CEA. I’d say that the Leverage process felt less organised and structured than the CEA process but was otherwise what I’d expect.
Leverage and Paradigm have both recently been working to make their hiring process more structured, in part based on feedback from potential hires. For Leverage, people can send a resume and would be invited to a research interview to discuss their research and our requirements. From there, successful candidates would take part in a trial period. Paradigm candidates go through several stages: sending a resume, attending an initial screening interview, a follow-up interview that aims to test job-relevant skills, a one week trial primarily checking team fit and finally an extended trial testing fit for the role. The process I went through was more like a less structured version of the Paradigm process. This is because while I’ll be working at Leverage, I won’t be a researcher so the Paradigm recruitment process made more sense in my particular case.
Question iii) “growth-rates are overestimated”
On question iii, am I right in thinking you’re referring to the claim in the original post that
“The leadership of Leverage Research have on multiple occasions overstated their rate of staff growth by more than double, in personal conversation”
If so, it’s hard to comment on what happened here without a lot more context on the conversation. I asked Geoff about this and his guesses were that this could have been confusion about hiring and attrition (was the conversation about hiring rates or about the total number of staff), numbers of volunteers or internal estimates for growth rate which turned out to be harder than we thought.
Question v) “negative rumours are still spread about other organizations that might compete for similar talent?”
Intentionally spreading rumours is certainly not Leverage policy nor endorsed or encouraged among staff. Of course, members of staff will have their own views on how best to improve the world and therefore I would expect them to have views on a number of EA and other organisations, both positive and negative.
I have the same difficulty in giving a useful answer to this question as with question iii, in that the original poster has made a claim about Leverage with a strong connotation but without providing the specifics or reasons they believe this.
I think it’s important for individuals to be able to share and discuss their views. I think it would be more helpful in cases like this forum post and when discussing other organisations people try to qualify what they think, why and where that information is from so that recipients of that information come away with a better understanding. This can be difficult but I think it’s important to try.
Question c) “Has it truly gone to such efforts to conceal its activities as described under the general transparency section?”
Finally on question c, yes our past website was removed from the Wayback machine. With hindsight this was a mistake. At the time people were digging up our old content (for example our old long term plan document) and using this to hype up various Leverage conspiracy theories. While this was entertaining, it was certainly distracting and meant people were even more confused about what we were doing. We thought that if we took the content off the wayback it would reduce the conspiracy style hype but removing it only fuelled the fire of conspiracies.
As you can probably tell, Leverage did not invest very many skill points or chips in public communication in the early days, instead spending them pretty much exclusively on research and experimentation. This means we’ve still got a lot to learn in the public communication space and a lot of mistakes to make up for.
As discussed above, Leverage did not use different organisations as a way to tailor messages to donors, different organisations had different focuses and donors understood this. Similarly we have no plans to replace Leverage as a brand.
2. MAKING OUR INTERACTIONS WITH ONE ANOTHER MORE PRODUCTIVE
I’d like to ensure that any future interactions between you and Leverage are a good use of both of our time, informative to readers, and helpful to you on whatever the real issues are.
Looking at your posting history, it seems that you’ve created this anonymous account only to ask questions about Leverage that come across at least as excuses to make insinuations against them. I don’t currently get the impression that you are following the spirit of the EA Forum guidelines [EA · GW] and posting with a scout mindset, trying to give people an accurate view or being clear about what you believe and why.
If you would be willing to spend time trying to help me understand and address your particular concerns about Leverage then I am very happy to spend time on that. If you only plan to continue in the same vein as your previous comments I don't currently expect that to yield anything that feels useful for either of us. If you would like to chat more to figure out a better way forward that gets your concerns addressed let me know. You can reach me here or at larissa.e.rowe [at] gmail.com.