“When we treat man as he is, we make him worse than he is; when we treat him as if he already were what he potentially could be, we make him what he should be.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If you work hard on the hiring process and fire hires that turn out to be weak, you should end up with a core group of about six superstar employees. And if you have six superstars working for you, your business is at least six times more powerful than you are. You will be able to produce products that are six times better at six times the quantity. Your sales will be six times better and your profits will too.

Having a six-superstar business is a wonderful thing. But you can get double that wonderfulness by doing one simple thing: Insist that every one of your superstars hires at least one superstar himself.

Start today by making a list of your core group and then asking them to name their top people. Challenge them to rate those second-tier superstars in terms of intelligence, tenacity, work ethic, and anything else you know of that is important in your business.

Set high standards. Tell your superstars that unless they have at least one employee who is as good as they are, they haven’t done the right thing. Explain how having them in your employ has helped you and the business grow. Tell them that the same good things will happen to them.

Some superstars don’t need to be told to hire superstars. Some do. Don’t leave this all-important task to chance.

If top-notch talent is limited to a single level — the one directly below you — your business will never be able to reach its potential. New projects and possibilities will either fail or be put off indefinitely because your best people will work themselves into stagnation.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, according to Inc. magazine, insists that all top city managers have a “replacement” for themselves in their employ. I don’t like that way of putting it — it’s too negative. But the idea of having a superstar in your corner to take over your current responsibilities so you can move up and onto other, greater opportunities … that, I like.

Five questions for your and your superstars:

1. Who is your best executive?

2. If you are a “10” in terms of leadership skills, what is he?

3. What is his potential?

4. If the answer to question No. 3 is less than “9,” are you looking for a replacement?

5. If the answer to question No. 3 is “9” or “10,” what are you doing to help him reach his potential?

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