About four years into running Langoor I’ve had an epiphany.
Hiring people with potential is not the same as hiring great people.
There are squillions of articles on the Internet about the need for startups to hire the right people. However given the financial constraints of a startup, I always focused on hiring people with great potential. Until recently, I thought that meant the same as hiring great people.
A few months ago, my agency merged with another and as a part of that, three of the key partners of the other agency became the key management team and partners at Langoor.
Three months in, I feel it is one of the best things that could have happened in our business. And I say this for one simple reason – these three people are great people. They are not people with potential, not people I have to wait for to shine, not people who require grooming – they are people who I am learning new things from every day. Their experience, attitude, focus, love and alignment with my vision make them people I am really excited about working with every morning I wake up.
I have now realised that trying to build a company just with people with potential is not the best strategy. Finding the right people is. It also makes a huge difference to have people you can learn from around you, even as a Founder. My level of motivation, excitement and the subsequent energy investment is really high (four years in!).
This, of course, doesn’t mean that people with potential are not important. You need a pipeline of great people – full stop. But the difference it makes to have the right people, with the right experience, focus, love and vision is amazing. It can actually make what you are trying to achieve easier.
Edit: After I wrote this, I stumbled across another article that talks about hiring for the short term. In some ways this piece and that article are related so I thought I would share it here.