I can still hear it like it was yesterday. “If you only hire people more talented than yourself, then your job as the leader is to remove barriers and get out of the way,” said Ron. It was part of a discussion we were having about my concern that I was doing work I thought was higher level than others in my pay grade.
He suggested I watch the way some of his peers spend their time. He was far calmer and seemed to have his act together. Besides he said, “I have no problem with you achieving or even going beyond my current leadership level.” Ron told me that by hiring the best people, he was able to focus on other priorities for the organization. He also provided the insight that many managers are not comfortable with this concept because they think there is some mysterious competition. Simply put, A’s hire A’s and B’s hire C’s.
I have found over my career that not only is this a great yardstick for recruiting, but it turns out to be a valuable time management guide. When you just hire people more talented than yourself, the only thing you find yourself repeating is the recruiting and hiring process as you help these people spread their wings and take off. As the leader, you can focus on longer term strategy, diversity, talent development and customers/suppliers.
Have you had the opportunity to work for a leader that only hires A’s? Did it raise your performance?