Disaster In The Making: A People + B People = C Companies

Companies routinely delegate the hiring process downward to staff who have less skin in the game. You need to keep your eye on the people you’re hiring—and bring on A people.

Disaster In The Making: A People + B People = C Companies

I don’t need to tell you that in every company, ego clashes with profit every day.

Somehow, it seems that companies built to produce profit are quickly hobbled by employees who are more concerned about their status than about the organization’s success. While strong managers work to build the success of a business, insecure managers struggle to preserve their position in the pecking order.

Hence, A people hire A people, and B people hire C people. Hiring C people enables Bs to preserve their status, but both Bs and Cs will quickly bring down the As.

Like a virus, one B person can devastate your entire organization. While you can try to purge your company of B people, the real challenge is keeping A people focused on hiring more A people. But the very nature of corporations almost conspires to prevent effective hiring.

Companies routinely delegate the hiring process downward to managers and staff who have progressively less skin in the game. You need to keep your eye on the people you’re hiring—and on the people who are doing the hiring.

Never Down-Hire

HR departments routinely reject over-qualified job candidates, fearing these folks will become quickly dissatisfied with the job and the pay. This is corporate suicide. It’s a tacit admission that a company is already infected with B managers who don’t know how to profitably apply the “extra skills” that the most advanced job candidates offer. Worse, it reveals that a company is not a learning organization; it does not advance itself by adding and developing better talent.

Such down-hiring results in more C people in the ranks.

Judge Managers On The Quality Of Their Hires

If managers can’t find, hire, and retain A people, fire the managers. (Don’t blame HR. It’s up to managers to manage hiring. HR is only a tool.)

You can tell quickly which managers are A people: They build teams filled with A people who meet challenges and deadlines with smiles on their faces. (See “The Real Talent Shortage: Managers Don’t Know How To Recruit.”) There’s no serious dissent among them because they all respect one another, their work, and their bosses.

Perhaps most obvious: Your best managers are not afraid to hire people who are smarter or more talented than they themselves are. They manage talent; they are not threatened by it.

Sever the rotting B manager, or lose the whole body. In this case, the head can be grown back if you have one A person who can take control.

Reward Performance Quickly

When you let B people hire C people, your A people will leave. A people don’t stick around B or C companies. That’s how disaster strikes.

Bring an A person on board, and you must quickly reward him. The most effective reward you can give an A person is more A people to work with. The next important reward is authority, which an A person will use to hire more A people and to weed out B and C people.

But don’t forget that a critical reward is money. A people can always get more money, but will they get it from you? Feed your A people, and they will build an A company to ensure your success along with their own. (See “Why You Should Pay Higher Salaries.”)