Building Great Teams – Get A-Players by Recruiting & Thinking Outside the Box

If you want to build a great team especially when it’s challenging to find and get Talent (with a capital “T”) then the best way to do that is to recruit & think outside the box. There are many A-Players out there and they are not necessarily already in the roles you are hiring for. For many roles and especially junior player roles in sales & marketing, it is absolutely fine (and sometimes actually better) to hire without the industry or role experience.

What you want to identify and optimize for is execution and achievement in the role and not for experience. Those two are not the same and if you keep that in mind then you can find A-Players almost anywhere. By giving them a chance, you can create the kind of loyalty and commitment that will produce exceptional ROI in that role.

So recruit and think outside the box – and look for “undervalued” people (and let’s take some insights from the world of “value investing” in the world of finance). Look for people who would perform exceptionally well in your system and your culture and with your process, training and development. Look for people who are ignored by your industry competitors or by other companies in your area. This is where you get the highest ROI (Return on Investment – on your time and money).

I’ve read many stories about some of the best and most successful people in the world who were “undervalued” and ignored.  There are stories like this even on Wall Street where you’d otherwise expect that only CFAs or top-tier MBAs will get a job or get to the top. But it’s just not so – here is a good “recruit & think outside the box” story that is well known on Wall Street. It is about someone named Lewis Ranieri at Salomon Brothers (it’s one of the stories in one of my favorite books of all time called Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis – he started working in the mailroom but he was given a chance when his superiors saw beyond the surface. Ranieri then went on to become a legend and created a multi-billion dollar industry which helped make Salomon Brothers the top bond trading powerhouse on Wall Street at the time which was in the 80’s.

The key takeaway is recruit and think outside the box. Don’t overindex too much on industry experience or even actual sales or marketing work experience if you are recruiting players who are smart enough to learn quickly and follow your process and training. Everyone at some point started their new job without any prior knowledge – don’t forget that and you won’t be fighting the war for talent and will instead identify “outside the box” Talent and A-Players who will produce exceptional results and ROI for you.