Surround Yourself with the Best

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A prevailing myth for great leadership skill is that great leaders set a vision, and then recruit people to make their imaginations happen. This is utterly false. Before strategy, before vision, before ideas, great leaders first start out with finding the best people they can. Once they have those people, they then figure out where to take the company. Surround yourself with the best people you can find. You'll soon find out that your people decisions are more important than strategy, marketing, operations, you name it. If you're great at bringing onboard superstar players, your company will be the gem in your industry. We guarantee it. Why "Who" Before "What" As business guru Jim Collins points out, if you have the right people on the bus, they will stick with you regardless of what happens. They are there because of who else is on the bus. Yet, if people come onboard because of your vision, they will leave if the vision fails. Traits You Should Look For Don't look at their educational credentials, or their specific skills. These don't say much about the person's character. We would rather bring onboard a high-school-educated person from a disadvantaged background who is working three jobs to support his family, than an Ivy League student who's never worked a day in his life. To us, the first person has persisted through the hard knocks required to work in the real world. Something Funny Happens Among A+ Players When you bring superstars onboard, they usually bring on superstars also. Yet, when you bring on B players, they bring in C players, who then bring in D players -- and so on. Be Picky Your people decisions will be the most important undertaking for your small business. A vital leadership skill is to only hire the best. Where to Find More People You're not confined to help from your employees. If you're on a budget like most small business entrepreneurs, you can get help from consultants. You can subcontract qualified consultants to do the work for you when you need it, instead of hiring an ongoing and costly manager. Consultants come in various specialties -- including management, marketing, sales, finance, etc. You can also seek free help from current and retired executives and entrepreneurs through SCORE. There are local offices where they'll provide you with free and unlimited one-hour sessions. There's also a website where you can pose your questions, located at Once you understand that surrounding yourself with the best people you can find, you've developed a vital and fundamental leadership skill to propel your company to success.

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Posted on February 18

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