The Virtuous Cycle of Hiring the Best - Mark MacLeod

September 23, 2020 - Mark MacLeod

The Virtuous Cycle of Hiring the Best

In Jim Collins’ management classic From Good to Great, one of the first steps in building great companies is to ‘get the right people on the bus’. In other words, hiring the best of the best. Even before you figure out where to drive that bus.

Getting the right people on the bus

The single most scalable thing you can do as CEO is build the highest quality senior leadership team that your scale and resources allow. If you hit this bar; if you don’t compromise, it will have compound effects on the trajectory of your business.

The CEO role is the most important one in the company. Strong senior leaders give maximum leverage and impact to the CEO. In addition, strong senior leaders attract A players to their teams. Those A players attract other A players. Thus begins the virtuous cycle of getting the right people on the bus.

How to hire the right person for a leadership role

There are three questions I ask CEOs when assessing their senior teams:

Knowing everything you know about that leader, would you hire them again today?

Is that leader closing the best candidates to join her team? Is she a magnet for A level talent?

Does this leader consistently raise the bar on departmental performance by crushing the targets set for her function?

The first question goes after compromise & toleration. Often we tolerate someone that we thought would be great, but has turned out to only be good (or worse!). If you would not hire that leader today, then you know that this person has to go. It’s that simple.

The second question speaks to how this leader will or will not excel: by hiring the best and building the best team possible. Your senior leaders should be talent magnets!

The third question deals with results. All else being equal, a talent magnet will deliver the goods.

Assess your senior leadership team regularly

Ask yourself these questions about your senior leaders regularly. I recommend considering your leadership team quarterly. Especially during hypergrowth. It can be hard for mere mortal humans to keep up with a fast-scaling business. The leader who was great last quarter must continually grow and transform in order to be great next quarter.

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