By Kevin O'Keefe

Key’s for hiring talented people

With LexBlog’s expansion, David Maister’s post on hiring talented people, was a timely one.

Especially liked David’s reference to Robert Sutton’s ‘The War for Talent is Back‘ post on the Harvard Business School Online Site. Sutton is a professor of management science and engineering at Stanford University.

Sutton’s points and my comments:

  • Superstars are overrated. My experience is to hire within as far as you can. When you need someone from the outside, hire someone that digs the hell out of what you’re doing. One team during the NFL draft said they were looking for guys that loved football, not those who just gravitated to football because of their athleticism. Handing salary and a slice of the company to a mercenary is like offering $14 million to Richie Sexton. He’s batting .132 for the M’s.
  • Great systems are more important than great people. Agreed. LexBlog team members hear multiple times a week that systems fail, not good people.
  • Create smaller rather than larger pay differences between ‘star’ employees and everyone else. Right on. We’re all on the same team and, more often than not, those that are being paid less are working harder than the ‘stars.’ Imagine working in the Mariner’s marketing office making $40,000 and being hounded on for more gimmicks to get the stadium packed while the ‘stars’ on the field making millions a year are a last place team.
  • The law of crappy people (great people will hire other great people, but mediocre people will hire even worse people because they are threatened by competent people) is probably a myth.
  • The no asshole rule helps. In small companies like LexBlog it’s mandatory.

David added a few more I agree with (and need to work on).

  • People want the opportunity to learn and grow: you must actively work to provide a variety of stretching, challenging experiences.
  • Standards of people supervision and management are as important as standards of product or service quality: they should be monitored and enforced in the same way.
  • Firms that try to win by hiring pre-existing, already-formed talent will never do as well as firms that are skilled in building talented people.
  • Talent is over-rated: character and energy count for more. Character is everything for me.

For those looking for opportunities in the blogosphere and dig what we’re doing at LexBlog, drop me an email. We’re always looking for talented passionate people who want to work their tail off.

Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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