A writer quipped recently in the New Yorker that the best way to write a great Jewish novel is to write a great novel and then change all the character names to Jewish ones.
to write a great Jewish novel, write a great novel and change the names to Jewish ones
I wondered, does the same thing work for staffing? Can you take a great business rule, staffify it, and come up with a rule for creating a great staffing company? And if so, what would that rule be?
So I went searching for such rules and spent a not small amount of time at Barnes and Noble checking out the latest business books. And wow, there’s a lot of competition in the advice business. Personally, I’d hate to have to compete with the likes of Jim Collins or Seth Godin. But the number one rule I could find didn’t come from those books, it came from the CEO of Box, Aaron Levie, whose company just scored $120 million in venture capital. He tweeted the following:
“Your goal should be to build a team so great that you’re unqualified to be on it.”
Your goal should be to build a team so great that you’re unqualified to be on it. Your goal should be to build a team so great that you’re unqualified to be on it.
That rule works for me. Here at Staffing Talk I think I’ve followed the rule pretty well. When it comes to writing, I take a lot of pride in what I do but I don’t deserve to be in the same room as an accomplished journalist like David Gee, and while I can debug CSS and manage content better than most web developers, Paul Phipps runs circles around me.
Your goal should be to build a team so great that you’re unqualified to be on it.
So back to the question of whether the rule works for staffing. Story time. A couple years back, the CEO of one of the big global staffing companies gave a talk at ASA. He talked eloquently about global business and how his company’s goal was to help his customers win. He shared quite generously strategy information about changing demographics and how his company was fighting the ongoing squeeze on margins.
All in all, a decent talk, and if he were a SVP of Sales I’d have been comfortable buying from him. But he wasn’t the SVP of Sales, he was the CEO and not once during the talk did he talk about his own company’s culture. He wasn’t necessarily egotistic but there was no evidence that his goal was to build a team so great he didn’t deserve to be on it. His stock which once hovered near $100 is down near historic roles.
That’s just one example but anecdotally I get to meet a lot of great individual achievers in my business and can say that the ones who avoid burn out, who keep it going bigger and better most years are those that follow the rule. How about you? What do you think?