A’s Hire A’s, and B’s Hire C’s

A's hire A's, and B's hire C's.

Talent is the great divider of brands.

Adam Morgan writes in The Pirate Inside, “Great brands are about people. Not necessarily about founders. But ambitious and impatient people: people who want to make a significant change, and make it now.”

This is what drives big brands like Apple, Nike, and Starbucks, as well as what drives small businesses. It’s the people that make the brand remarkable.

Your organization’s ability to attract, hire, and organize talented people is what will separate it from the competition. As Donald Rumsfeld famously said, “A’s hire A’s, and B’s hire C’s.”

Great Talent Choose Great Brands

Before founding Sticky Branding I led a sales and marketing recruiting company.

One of the unspoken truths of recruiting is the best brands hire the best talent. It’s no accident that companies like Salesforce.com are able to hire the best B2B sales talent. They have a strong brand, generous compensation plans, and they spend an astronomical amount of money on marketing.

When given a choice, high performers choose organizations that promise the most room for growth.

On the other hand, small companies with less established brands have to fight that much harder to attract the A’s. And often they have to make compromises, such as hiring more junior talent and grooming them into superstars.

But a junior superstar is still a superstar.

The companies that commit to hiring remarkable talent — whether they’re junior or seasoned — go further, faster. They achieve more, because they have the people that can convert a vision and a strategy into a brand.

Held Back By Weak Talent

Talent is the throttle for your brand.

When you work with great people, it’s like stepping on the gas. It’s surprising how fast you can go and what you can accomplish with a few A’s.

Weak talent slows you down and stunts your company’s performance. It’s like driving on bald tires. You can make progress, but it takes an inordinate amount of energy. You spin your wheels just doing the basics. And with a weak team it’s almost out of the question to attempt anything extraordinary.

Peter Drucker wrote, “Results are obtained by exploiting opportunities, not by solving problems.” It doesn’t matter how much money or resources you have at your disposal. A talented group of people that is committed to growing a brand will find the opportunities to stand out.

Great Talent Works For Brands, Not Companies

A strong brand is a recruiting engine.

A’s aren’t just looking for a job. They could get one anywhere. They are looking to make a dent in the industry. They are looking to stretch and grow their capabilities, and focus them on meaningful work. They want to build and shape brands.

This is a little like the chicken and the egg parable. A strong brand attracts strong talent, and strong talent grows strong brands. They are closely linked.

But it all starts with a commitment. Hire the best people, focus them on a clear purpose (what your brand stands for), and reward the hell out of them. A’s hire A’s, and B’s get the leftovers.