I was running a business for 3 or 4 years before it dawned on me. I felt like we’d created a special company. But I wasn’t sure how all of these great people had come to work for us. I attributed a lot of it to luck. Serendipity? Maybe culture? Some kind of magic? If we just put out good vibes, maybe good people would come to us? I knew we had something exceptional, but I wasn’t sure how we could grow it without a lot more luck and magic.
But I’d been playing in bands for a lot longer than I’d been running a company. I could spot good musicians quickly. Beyond that, I could see an expression of their personality in their work. I would get excited about the idea of playing in a band with them. After all — for me at least — putting together a band isn’t just about finding any old musicians to play with, it’s about finding players who are going to inspire one another and make each other better.
Then it hit me: You are a talent scout.
So what if you think of your company more like a band, a Broadway production, or a professional sports team? You need to see yourself as a talent scout, constantly scanning the horizon for the best people to work at your company. After all, what makes great entertainment productions or great sports teams great? Their people.
So let’s break it down to some things I’ve learned over the years.
- Be Proactive — This isn’t a passive process. It’s not enough to post a job on LinkedIn and hope that the best people will apply. The BEST people aren’t looking through job listings. You need to actively spread the word, reach out and tell people why working at your company is great. Keep a spreadsheet. Start a mailing list. If you’ve already got great people working for you, they probably know other great people.
- Be Selective — You’re holding auditions. You’re looking for the best person to fit into the given role. Not everyone is going to be the correct fit. Some REALLY GREAT people aren’t going to be the right fit for this job at this time. That’s okay. The more that you protect the quality and talent of your team, the more likely it is that people will want to be a part of that team. Selectivity also means that you’re not going to be able to make everyone happy. That’s sometimes a scary thought. But remember that it is possible to have empathy and compassion without needing to make everyone happy.
- Be A Fan — Be passionate and excited. This is about putting together a great team to do great things. “Great” is exciting. Let yourself be inspired. You can be inspired and excited without losing your ability to make rational decisions.
- Be Imaginative — You may recognize talent in people that they don’t recognize in themselves. Share your ideas and visions. Maybe they won’t resonate. But maybe they will!
- Be An Aspiration — If you’re reading this article — if you’re thinking about this kind of thing — you probably don’t want to build an average company. You’re aspiring for something more. You should hire people who aspire for something more. There’s another word for this type of aspiration: “hope.” Getting a job with your company should feel special. Maybe you’ve built a great culture. Maybe you’ve got amazing and inspirational customers and clients. But even if you’re just starting out, working with a team of hopeful people is something special in itself.
Jeff Robbins is a business coach, mentor, and virtual business partner who works one-on-one with company owners and leaders to help them build vision and direction for their companies while building productivity, stability, and happiness for their employees and themselves. You can work with him too. Reach out to set up a free consultation session.