14 November 2023

A vitally important task for a business leader is hiring the right team, but finding the best people is increasingly challenging.

I have just finished watching the wonderful TV series Ted Lasso. The premise is simple: an American Football coach from Kansas is hired to coach an English professional football team in London. Initially Ted’s coaching methods are met with scepticism and resistance until the team starts to win. We all instantly recognise him as a great leader - he lights up the space he occupies and isn’t selfish or egocentric – but over time his energy, purposefulness and generosity become contagious.

I can also see how the analogy of a sports team holds with what I do every day. As most successes for your company come from team effort, creating teams that have a harmonious mix of personalities is essential. The team may contain great players, but if they don’t get along, and don’t add up to a whole greater than the sum of its parts, they may never win a game.

Our clients often prioritise qualifications and experience and while specialisms are often necessary, non-conformity and versatility should not be underestimated. Broad-based background, transferable skills, a collective mindset, and having a personality that fits in can be the small differences that get big results. Even the most talented individuals will fail if they are not supported by, and supportive of, a team with a mix of personalities.

Subconscious bias is so common - and by that I mean defaulting to hiring people who are just like you. It is human nature that when you do find any common ground, you tend to exaggerate it, which means you could easily put the wrong people in critical positions. So, sometimes we encourage our clients to take a calculated risk and consider hiring the wildcard candidate - we all know that embracing change can lead to innovative solutions and better results; somebody very unlike the rest can introduce and inspire new and different ways of thinking to a group.

Steve Jobs once said, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” Ted Lasso says more or less the same thing, “I know that I don’t have all the answers, but I got a room full of people who do.

In a world increasingly obsessed with data analysis and AI the differences, and the competitive advantages, could well be found in the anomalous and unpredictable.


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