StarsLet’s take a moment to ponder today’s topic: Great people want to work with great people.

Do you think it’s true?

I believe this myself, because I see it happening all the time. Top performers aren’t intimidated by those with less talent and dedication, and in fact tend to worry more about being dragged down.

Average performers tend to look at how they are compared to the average.

Top performers tend to focus on the top, the ideal – which is always above them.

And people who think they’re top of the heap because they’re look at how far they are above the crowd?  Well, they’re not top performers.  They’re just ego problems.

What should you learn from all this?  Foremost, hire people who are top performers, because they’ll help take your business to the heights you’ve always dreamed of.  But don’t be scared when they only want to hire others who are even more talented and productive; they’ll help your company to be even more successful.

Maybe you’re thinking, “but all I have is a bunch of average workers and some slackers.”  Yes, it could be incredibly damaging to fire them all and hire a whole bunch of top people.

But I’ve seen many cases where people became average because

  • they weren’t given room to exercise their true talents
  • they were always rewarded for being average, not going above
  • their job was defined so broadly that they spent most of their time doing things they weren’t that good at

It’s your job, as owner, leader and manager, to help people find their talents, develop, and deliver great results in those areas.

One of the tough challenges when you’re hiring is to tell the difference between true talent and someone who’s just on an ego trip.  The way you’ll tell the difference is to give them realistic tasks that they can’t fake their way through.  If you want someone who’s a great negotiator, put them in a challenging situation where top negotiation skills will become apparent.

Of course, this means that you have to be incredibly clear about where you need top talent.  You probably can’t afford it everyplace, and it won’t make a fundamental difference in every job.  Look at the challenges you’ll be facing in the next few years:  What’s going to be make-or-break for your company?  What’s the next big transition you’ll be going through?

And ask your top people to help you find other top talent.  Hint: They may not be in management positions.  They’re going to be in the places which have the most influence, where the most important contributions are being made.

How do you keep your superstars from feeling threatened?  First, look seriously at whether they’re getting hung up in an ego trip.  But more important, sell them on how this will raise the potential of the entire company, so that a rising tide can lift all boats.  That’s the kind of thinking which motivates a true top performer.