Thursday, December 13, 2007

Finding relevants in an age of differents

I couldn’t resist writing this, as it forces me to look at my recent thoughts on being relevant from another perspective.

What are ‘relevants’? People who want to make a difference or an impact and who will be all in. And ‘differents’ – people who just want to be different, regardless of whether its a positive difference or not.

Since we’re now in an age where ‘differents’ are in abundant supply, the challenge we face [whether it be as entrepreneur looking for awesome people to bring into your business, or as an employer looking for the next great talents for your organisation, or whatever the case may be] is to discern between the two types of people.

Lets face it, ‘relevants’ are incredibly difficult to find. Many companies have taken the ‘attract and retain talent’ approach – I’m not against this at all and often preach [and try to practice] it myself. But sadly this is just the net result of much frustration in being unable to bring relevants into your business/life [just because someone is talented, does not mean they want to be relevant in your business] [just because someone is talented, does not mean they want to be relevant in your business] – it has become a case of find the best talent you can, pay them boatloads of cash, motivate them everyday, give them an awesome working environment… and then maybe, just maybe, they’ll stay long enough to do something spectacular. And in many cases it does work. I’ve referred to this Mindvalley job page before – if you’re going to take this approach, this is one excellent example of how to do it.

Do you see something wrong with this picture though?

We all know that life and business certainly have their good times [financial growth + success = lots of fun and happiness] – and when everything is going swimmingly, its easy to stick around and enjoy the good times. And that’s usually what happens – in which case attracting and retaining talent works well. But when the darker days do come along [challenges + stress + refinement = real growth, if not financial], that’s when things change. When no one wants to stick around, doesn’t matter how much you pay or try to motivate, if they aren’t all in, they’re all out. Think Titanic here. Yes its worst case scenario, but its just to illustrate a point.

That’s why we really need ‘relevants’ - people who are all in, and who you can rely and depend on. People who really care. People you can build with, and who aren’t just looking for an easy ride. So that when things get rough, you know you can count on them to keep pushing ahead and helping your business survive.

As I said, finding ‘relevants’ is hard. Very, very hard. But its easier to find the right people if you know what you’re looking for. And next time you’re looking for the next person to bring in to your team, I hope that, if nothing else, you’ll at least ask yourself whether they’re a ‘relevant’ or a ‘different’.

So who would you rather build with?

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