PLACE Magazine Inaugural Issue, December 2022

The entrepreneurial optimist recruits one person and crowns them talent. A savvy businessperson knows to recruit four hires; if one is talented and stays, you get to average. If one in three is a great hire, you’d be an expert. Leaders hiring two and finding one great talent are considered genius-level savants. We’ve run the numbers and the results are in; the higher the level of talent needed, the more applicants required. What does performance look like for these amazing hires? We’ve all heard our PLACE Co-Founder Ben Kinney’s infamous, “If you sell 12 houses a year, you get to stay,” career guideline. Are you wondering how long it truly takes to get that person into production? As long as it takes! Think like a college coach — recruit earlier for more time to develop your talent. It’s how to get the best from them. TOP-GRADE YOUR TEAM The last step in building your incredible team of high-performers is to Top-Grade. After forming your team, focus on improving it by replacing the lowest performers with higher-caliber talent based on leadership expectations. For example, if a team has 10 members, the bottom 20% translates to two members being top-graded and replaced. The team goal would be improving the talent, while the goal of the players is outperforming the bottom 20%. Jack Welch used this strategy to turn struggling General Electric around. The downside of this strategy is often fostering a cutthroat culture to do whatever it takes to avoid being the lowest performer on the team. Arguably, this recruiting strategy has merit, yet consider, if practically applied, even the greatest basketball team ever assembled (obviously the first — and in my opinion, the only — dream team), the 1992 U.S. men’s team would still have a bottom 20%. If you want to get ahead, play like you’re behind. It frequently takes longer to find great people than we like to acknowledge, but more people at the top of the funnel get you the best available talent. Lastly, determining who you need is easier when you know where you are going. Recruit ALL the people you might need as quickly as possible in order to have the team, train the person, and then coach to performance. Need 24 hires in a year? Do not hire two a month. Instead, hire 24 in the shortest time possible. Then work with the team you have, while you top-grade to get the best available. “Team-building is easy,” said no one ever! Unless you want your business to stall, recruiting is the ultimate way to hold team members accountable, while getting the best out of them. Continue growing until you have your own Navy SEAL dream team of the highest and best performers.

“If you want to get ahead, play like you’re behind.”


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