The MVP of Attracting and Retaining Rock Stars
I used to teach ballroom dancing. That job actually paid my way through undergrad. Yet I was once a terrible dancer. Before terrible, I wasn’t even a dancer.
I’ve handled millions of dollars of legal transactions for small-to-midsized businesses. Yet I was once a kid who’d just passed the Bar exam. Before that, I hadn’t even considered law school.
Consider anyone who has become excellent at anything, and the formula is the same:
- They start, and they’re not good. Adjust, make changes.
- They dramatically improve to almost respectable. Adjust, make changes.
- They become good (the worst adjective ever, by the way). Adjust, make changes.
- They finally grow into great. Adjust, make changes.
- They’re excellent. Adjust, make changes . . ..
Dancing, law, writing, relationships, yodeling, calligraphy, plumbing . . . any practice of excellence is the result of growth through adjustments and changes. As we conclude this treatise on Attracting and Retaining Rock Stars, I want to stress the most important step in the process. It’s the first two words in the aforementioned formula:
Perfectionism is the death of progress. You don’t need the perfect product to go to market. You don’t have to perfect your website before it goes live. You don’t have to be the perfect spouse before you get married. Your hiring process doesn’t have to be perfect before your next hire.
But you must start.
We’ve discussed a wealth of creative strategies for attracting and retaining Rock Stars. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, or gripped in decision paralysis, fear not. This final chapter will help you implement a great strategy for your own business. If you’re starting from square one, it’s time to launch a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Once you’ve implemented your MVP, it is real, and it can be tweaked. But if you wait for perfection until you launch, you’re tinkering with an imaginary toy.
In the tech world, a Minimum Viable Product refers to the launch of a new product or service. The product has enough features to satisfy early adopters, but expects room for changes. Changes occur after receiving specific feedback from initial users. The MVP idea works brilliantly in business, exercise regimens, culinary pursuits, personal growth, and more. If, however, you’re launching actual humans into outer space, this is a terrible strategy.
Where to begin? Here’s a step-by-step guide.
Step One: If you have no formal process, make one using the chapters in this book. We have included numerous forms and samples, including sourcing and screening plans. In my opinion, these four steps provide a solid skeleton from which to work. Don’t start with everything! Trying too much at once leads to frustration and confusion. Remember: MVP.
Step Two: If you do have a formal process, incorporate one or two ideas from this series.
Step Three: Consider each step as a hypothesis, not an answer! Before you make any change to your process, predict the expected outcome . . . and expect that you may be wrong. Was your hypothesis correct? Fantastic! Was it flawed? Fantastic! Adjust, make changes. You’re building an excellent process.
Why do some companies attract and retain Rock Star talent? For some it’s culture, incentives, or personal development. Others offer tremendous flexibility. Some are the best ideological fit for their employees. In the book Talent Magnet, author Mark Miller identifies a better boss, brighter future, and a bigger vision has the three key ingredients for attracting and retaining top talent.
There are numerous factors why you and/or other companies are gleaning top talent. I can’t cite all of the reasons for success, but I can certainly tell you one element that does NOT work. Hint: It’s a four-letter word that rhymes with “truck.”
An old adage reminds us that “Hope is not a strategy.” Neither is luck. No intentional business owner consciously thinks, “Well, I hope that I just get lucky on the next hire!”
Yet maybe . . . sadly . . . he is. “Luck,” “Good Fortune,” and “Happenstance” are the hope, but rarely the saviors, of an executive’s next hire. So why do so many companies pin their hopes on Lady Luck?
. . . because they don’t have a process. There is no written formal system by which they attract, interview, and hire employees. Without a system in place, they have nothing to measure, and therefore no idea how to improve.
Write down your process. Treat each step as a hypothesis. Gather feedback, adjust, and improve. Wash, Rinse, Repeat. It may be clumsy in the beginning, but it will soon be brilliant.