Whether you are in business or in sports, it's important to know that hiring someone immensely talented and successful is not always the best thing for your organization.
If you follow sports, you know the story of Antonio Brown. If not, know that he is one of the best to ever his play his position in his sport. Despite his talent and his measurable success on the field, his last team gave him away and essentially burned millions of dollars just to get him out of their locker room and save their team culture.
Another team, perhaps driven by desperation or hubris, brought Brown in - hoping that their situation would be different or that their leadership was strong enough to maintain harmony when adding a big personality.
This isn't exclusive to sports. I've seen businesses, especially sales organizations, hurt their company culture to accommodate a sale person or a hot shot executive with amazing metrics time and time again.
Having a top performer is great, but having an amazing company culture and smooth running operations is even better. Sometimes when you chase talent, you lose the chemistry that makes the magic happen.
Be careful when choosing people to be on your team, in your company, or in your life. Sometimes people who add a lot on paper take so much more than you thought was possible.
Here's a couple of things you can do in your small or large business to not suffer the Antonio Brown effect:
Have a mission and hire people who love your mission
Every business that serves people should have a clear and powerful mission or reason for existing. No matter how mundane you think your business may be, your business is important and it is one of your gifts to the world. If you're a public accountant, for example, your business mission isn't to look at other people's money. Your mission is to make it possible for people to pursue their own business dreams by having you handle stuff they don't understand. When hiring, find someone who cares deeply about what it actually is that you do, not someone who just wants a steady job or just wants to punch in and out and get by. The more people are bought in to your mission, the more options you have to motivate your staff.
Don't act out of desperation. Ever.
Coming from a sales background, I remember all the best salesmen could do basically whatever we wanted as long as our numbers were excellent. Salespeople, especially very good ones, are the lifeblood of any organization. When sales numbers go down, excellent sales people get even more leverage in the company. Their managers are desperate to produce. The manager's boss is desperate to produce. Everyone has someone to answer to and the salespeople are the only hope for everyone succeeding.
Don't let desperation distract you into making bad hiring decisions or delaying important firing decisions. Don't be negatively opportunistic. The Raiders haven't won in a while, so when a premium player with premium statistics was basically being given away, they jumped on a dangerous opportunity. They're now dealing with the consequences of doing anything to win in the short term. Their team is imploding before they've even taken the field for the first game. Is that what you want for your business?
Don't necessarily give up on your sharks.
Shark is usually used as a negative term, but shouldn't be. Every business needs its stellar, flashy performers. We all need the men and women who are going to put numbers on the board when we need them. Nurture these people because they are the ones keeping the lights on.
However, they are not bigger than the mission of your company and they are not bigger than the role players on your team. So elevate your sharks appropriately, but do the same for your role players. And if anyone is crushing your culture or interfering with your mission, it's time for you to re-evaluate.
Your life coach.
The Andrew Warner Podcast: