Capitalist Note: Throwing a couple of talent/business lessons I was reminded of as I watched the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament this year. March Madness has something for all of us. I think this is the last one - enjoy!
My job would be great if it weren't for the people.
I'm going to change that last quote a little bit. The right people are our most valuable resource. Which brings me to the third lesson I heard loud and clear from the first weekend of March Madness:
Talent Lesson #3 from March Madness - Great individual talent can overcome huge disadvantages in company size and resources when it comes to your competitors. If you ever find yourself going up against Microsoft, Google or whoever the 800-pound gorilla is inside your industry, never forget that a key hire with high talent can help you win more than your share regardless of the product or service you're providing. This is shown to be true time and time again in March Madness as well. Whether it's UMBC beating Virginia or Buffalo taking down Arizona, once you step onto the court, only five players can play. Get yourself some great talent and unbelievable things can happen.
The right time to pay more for talent isn't when someone asks for more money. The right time to pay more for talent is when that talent allows you to play above your weight as a company.
Make the right hire, and all the sudden you can hang on a limited basis with Microsoft, Google or whoever the 800-pound gorilla is inside your industry. Of course, paying more doesn't mean the candidate in question is going to help you do that. You might find the most powerful candidate at a level below what you're looking for, just waiting for the promotion that gives them the opportunity to shine.
How good are you at evaluating talent? Do you know the difference between the candidate who will help you take on the world vs the candidate who wants more money but doesn't help you transcend ###t?
That's why talent selection is part art and part science. Every low seed left in the NCAA Basketball Tournament has a player that they didn't deserve on paper, but ended up at the school in question.
The more of this type of talent you find and sign, the more you win. The more you hang with the big boys and girls.