Circle of Excellence

by Marilyn Byrd on February 2, 2012

Several years ago I developed a thyroid problem. Up until then, I had been blessed with extraordinarily good health. I won’t go into the details, but the result was that my physician, who I had seen regularly for 10 years and to whom I had never complained, failed me. Every doctor that he recommended I see failed me. I was in a circle of mediocrity.

After a lot of research and actually interviewing a number of endocrinologists who would serve as my primary care physician, I found an amazing doctor and every doctor he has ever referred me to has been the same. I had entered ….. the circle of excellence.

A couple of years ago, The Business Insider ran an article called Bad Hires Have Cost Zappos Over $100 Million.  The article included a video interview of Zappo’s CEO Tony Hsieh discussing how a bad hire has residual effects i.e. they generally hire bad people, and they hire bad people and so on and so on and so on.

Although it is not a hard and fast rule, it is by and large true …. talent knows talent and good hires will hire well because they attract talent.

A hiring mistake is hard on everyone, but allowing that person to remain in place is about more than just his or her presence. It’s about everyone they bring on board as well.

Your business is too important to run that risk. And time is too valuable a commodity to waste.

Today more than ever, you are who you know. An important question to explore before you make any hire is whether or not that hire exists within a circle of excellence.

During the interview, ask questions that will give you a sense of the candidate’s network, like:

● Who is your mentor? How did you meet?

● Who in your business network, do you most admire? Why?

● Who in our industry do you most admire? Why?

LinkedIn is a great resource to learn something about a person’s network, especially who you might know in common.

Skills and experience are important; cultural fit is important; but a candidate who moves within a circle of excellence has an added dimension with potentially far reaching advantages.

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