Set a strategy to recruit the best-of-the-best senior executives and you will be channeling Apple founder Steve Jobs. There’s a vast difference between simply qualified and exceptional. Jobs understood that, which is why he focused on recruiting A players.
At our retained executive search firm The Good Search, we also make it a practice to recruit technology rock stars and digital luminaries. I look for leaders who are intrinsically driven to outperform — its just how they wake up in the morning.
Those who recruit A-Players must realize their success doesn’t exist in a vacuum, as Harvard Business Review reminds us in The Risky Business of Hiring Stars. The article by Boris Groysberg, Ashish Nanda, and Nitin Nohria explains:
An executive’s performance depends on both her personal competencies and the capabilities, such as systems and processes, of the organization she works for. When she leaves, she cannot take the firm-specific resources that contributed to her achievements. As a result, she is unable to repeat her performance in another company; at least, not until she learns to work the new system, which could take years.
The article details why recruiting A players and ensuring their success can be challenging. Yet, champions make such a big difference to a company’s P&L that it is a challenge top companies willingly accept. Like Steve Jobs, the HBR article ultimately concludes:
In business, the only viable strategy is to recruit good people, develop them, and retain as many of the stars as possible.