“The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything.” – Theodore Roosevelt
I recently was fortunate to be asked by a client of ours to meet with a prospective new employee. Our client didn’t really have a specific role “open”, and there was some uncertainty about what exactly this person might do. However, it was obvious they were extremely talented, had a great work ethic, and was a great fit culturally. So our client made the decision to offer her a position.
I relay this story because too often the opposite happens. We find an extremely talented person who works really hard and fits with our culture, but we find a reason not to hire them that usually, at its core, is “we don’t know exactly what this person will be doing every minute for the next twenty years so we better not hire them because they might get bored”. So the organization misses out on a fantastic opportunity.
As leaders, we have to recognize that our businesses will only go as far as our people take them. Hiring mediocre talent because we know how to use them rather than great talent because we’re not sure is a recipe for long term disappointment. Rarely does anybody win the Super Bowl without any great players – so it is with business. Mediocre talent equals mediocre results.
No, I’m not advocating hiring somebody with a vague to non-existent job description and letting them sit in their office wondering what they’re supposed to do. At some point you do have to provide them with direction. I’m simply saying that just because there isn’t currently an unfilled position in your business or because you might have to be creative with their role, that doesn’t mean you don’t get that great player on your team.
Sometimes leaders pass on talent that doesn’t fit an obvious role because they’re afraid it won’t work out. That’s true, it might not. And if it doesn’t, you put on your big kid pants, end the relationship and move on. Learn from it and try again.
The team with the most talent wins most of the time. So when you have an opportunity to add someone with great potential, don’t spend hours talking yourself out of it. Go with your gut and get them on board. They’ll make sure it’s worth it.