His answer totally floored me. And, if you’ve ever said or even thought something similar I bet it gets your mind racing as well. He bluntly said, “You get the people you deserve.”
Now, given he’s extremely blunt, that’s all he said, no explanation, no nothing. I was furious, “what do you mean?” I thought, I deserve better than these people who aren’t motivated. I deserve more than two people calling when I run an ad. I deserve more and better. I was mad.
It took me a few hours to calm down and then give some serious hard thought to what he had shown me. Finally I did work it out. I almost came to agreement with him, well almost. You can’t admit your Dad is right when you’re 21.
It took me a few years to really master getting good people… so, here’s what I think he was trying to show me.
If you run a great company, you get great people. If you are a great leader, you attract great people. And vice versa, run a bad operation and you attract bad people. I’ve seen this in good times and bad, when there are lots of people to employ, and even now when it seems like there are none.
A word of warning first: building a great team of people is not for the faint of heart. If you recruit great people, you will have to be ready for growth, ready to really perform, they will push you as hard as you push them.
Here’s the top seven points I’ve learnt over the years on how to attract great people to work in your company.
1. Have a solid vision or goal for your company. Great people are attracted when they get to join a company that is going somewhere. You need to have a group of people shooting for a goal, rather than just coming to work for a simple pay packet.
2. Be a strong leader. Again, great employees are looking for a mentor, someone they can learn from and with. Someone who will help them grow and succeed in their work and their life. Every great team at one point had a great leader to build the team.
3. Build a winning culture. Call it a culture, or as I do, your rules of the game, either way you need to put in writing just how you expect people will behave when they are a part of your team. Think of it this way: it doesn’t matter where the fruit is in the bowl, as long as it’s in the bowl. Great people want to know what the boundaries are, but they also want the freedom to perform inside those boundaries. I sat down and wrote my culture statement many years ago for ActionCOACH (you can see it on my website) and it’s really helped us select great people and have average people decide not to join us.
4. Start with the end in mind. You’ve got to get clear on who it is you are after and what you want them to do. Making a list of their job requirements or complete position description is just the start. It’s more important to decide what personality profile or behavioural style would fit the position and your team.
5. De-select rather than select new recruits. I have now for many years run group interviews and picked the top 10 or 20 candidates to come to an information evening about the position, showing them the company’s history, its future and our culture statement. This makes people choose to leave or really choose to stay. I make it hard for people to get the job so people take themselves out of the running, making my job easier. (My book Instant Team Building goes into serious detail on this.)
6. Rewards and recognition outweigh remuneration. Great people will work for money, but they perform for recognition and rewards. It could be as simple as a thank you, or as complex as a team reward structure. Either way, yes, you have to pay a little more (generally on bonuses) to great people, but personal recognition goes even further.
7. The domino effect. Hire one great person and they attract another. It’s a culture that you build. A great team attracts more great team members; look at any sport: people want to join winners. So, whether your company has one person or 100, a great team starts with you as the leader.