I’m here with a bit of #RealTalk today: businesses aren’t that special anymore. Gone are the days when a competitive advantage was things like proprietary technology, locations, distribution channels, access to capital, and others.
Even The Big Guys out there—I’m talking about Apple, Google, Facebook, IBM, and others—aren’t prone to mortality. They all have their ups and downs. Apple recently announced iPhone sales are going to start flatlining or declining soon (shock!).
What’s going to set a company up for success going forward? What’s the new competitive advantage? Quality talent.
Talent isn’t anything new. Companies with rigorous hiring processes that bring only the best to the top are the ones I listed above (and many others) and are killing it. The fact is that the future of your business depends on your talent—both in how you attract them and retain them.
Quality talent isn’t hard to come by—you just have to know where to look and what to look for. When interviewing someone, I’d look for these five attributes to determine if s/he is type of quality talent who will help the business thrive:
At the foundation, quality talent will know what the hell they’re doing and provide value to the market. And more importantly, these skills have to be something you’re willing to pay for. People with skill realize they need to constantly be learning to improve their skills or acquire new ones, which makes me believe they’re lifelong learners. Look for someone who knows their stuff and can explain it in everyday conversation.
The smartest person in the room isn’t worth much if s/he doesn’t have integrity. You
want need to know you can trust your employees and that they’re always going to represent your brand well in every situation. Living a values-based life builds personal and professional character. Look for someone who is open, honest, and transparent.
The world of business is filled with too many webs for any one person to handle. Quality talent will be team players—they come to the table ready to share ideas but are also ready to hear what everyone else has to say. I don’t think teamwork means everyone is completely on the same page or agrees with each other 100 percent of the time, but I do think it means people have a mutual respect for each other and know when to press and when to release. Teamwork only happens when everyone wants to work together. Look for people who believe and understand that two (quality) heads are better than one.
Without a doubt, every successful businessperson is a great communicator. Communication is in everything we do and without it, we don’t get very far. Quality talent might not be the best public speakers, but they are excellent listeners and top-notch question-askers. They marry the context of peoples’ statements with their emotions and how ideas are presented. They’re also in tune with the importance of other types of communication, like body language, motivation, and clear speech.
If you have everything above without dedication, the train isn’t moving very far. Quality talent will be committed and dedicated to what they are doing, and believe in your business’s mission and vision. They have a positive attitude, have frequent stare-downs with risk, embrace innovation, and learn from their mistakes. More than themselves, they’re also dedicated to building up and inspiring those around them.