Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hire Someone Better Than I Am?

I recently came across some reading material where the author was encouraging people to be willing to hire people better than themselves. At first blush my response was, "Absolutely! That is the right way to do it." However, as I reflected on that idea it hit me that this is probably much harder to do in practice than in theory.

As human beings there is a natural tendency toward self-preservation. I have seen it in myself and I have seen it in others...most others.We want to grow, we want to advance, we want to be the cream that rises to the top. You may say, "The competition is already stiff enough out there and now somebody wants me to actually bring someone into the organization that is better than I am?" I think that is a tougher pill to swallow than most of us are willing to admit.

How can we look at this differently so we will be more willing for this? I would like to offer two perspectives that I feel are important.

First, I think the bottom line is to be the team player that we all say we are. I have yet to interview a person who didn't claim to be a team player. I don't think I have had a single exception to this. No has been honest or bold enough to say, "No, I am pretty selfish when it comes right down to it."

If the team really is what is most important, then what is the goal? The goal is for the team to "win" (however your organization defines that). If we want to win then one of the things we need is great players. If that means that I have an opportunity to significantly increase the team's ability to win I need to do it --- even if that person is going to end up being able to make a more significant contribution that I can. After all, if we all don't win, none of us wins. Go team!

Second, one of the most important skills a leader can demonstrate is the ability to hire well. HR folks will tell you that a bad hire can end up costing an organization 3-5x that person's salary (or more). Therefore, I am a firm believer that by hiring great people I actually raise my value to the organization significantly and put myself in a position for meaningful advancement.

So, are you willing? Do you have the courage and confidence to hire someone better than you? It could be a breakthrough opportunity for you as a leader.

Seize the day!

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