Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hiring for growth

Mark Jaffe has a simple rule of thumb do identify future leaders

I was taught the Cardinal Rule of Search: “A” players hire “A” players - and “B” players hire “C” players. It made sense in theory. Until you watch it in action, though, the implications are murky at best.

Then I saw it happen once, twice, a dozen times. The hiring managers that my firm worked with would pass on the candidate who showed superstar potential and go with the predictable, boring choice. Low voltage, low risk, low return. Only a special breed of manager had the vision and the self-confidence to hire people potentially smarter and more talented than him or herself, and while those hires sometimes failed (like humans sometimes do), the dividends on the ones who succeeded were often spectacular.

Remember “Ozymandias” from high school, the poem by Shelley? If you’ve been in the corporate world more than 15 minutes, you know exactly how those “vast and trunkless legs of stone” block the road to progress. Enlightened, high-octane leaders capitalize on the innate talents and passions of individuals — including their own — rather than endlessly guarding “the lone and level sands.”