Head of Data Strategy
As they say, you are the average of five people whom you hang out with; so it is clear, you need smarter people than you in the room. I don’t think this is rocket science, but still only a few percent of people actually do it.
Q: What stops you?
A: Complexes and Insecurity:
All of us have this inferiority complex and insecurity of varying amplitudes. So we prefer to be the smartest person in the room; this way we are safe and in our comfort zone. But guess what, you are limiting yourself from growth. It is just like playing a game. You become better when you keep playing with someone better than you; ofcourse you will lose many games before you are as good as or better than your (friendly)opponent.
Like Google’s Sundar Pichai recently remarked in Delhi — ‘You Have To Work With People Who Make You Feel Insecure’. Google takes this so seriously that it has a secret ‘bench’ program that keeps executives at the company even when they’re not leading anything.
In a startup, it is all said in one sentence — ‘You have to hire people better than you’. Even after hearing or knowing this, very few founders actually gets to a matured mindset to execute this. They think they will make themselves look like fools, which is absolutely not the case. The more smarter people you manage to hire, the smarter you are perceived to be.
When you hire the best people, it sends a strong message to the outside world, including investors and new potential hires. Investors will feel that, when this guy can hire the best, there is something amazing within this company. This build confidence in them. The guys who want to learn more, will be happy to join your team when they see the smart people joining you. You might have heard the famous Steve Job to John Sculley Question “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?” (The story took a detour after that, which is a different story. The detour was probably because John was the best, but not the best for Apple or SJ).
I see Mark Zuckerberg as a great founder in this sense (as well). He managed to get some of the best acquisitions including Whatsapp, Instagram etc. He managed to thus hire some of the smartest chaps on this planet. The result is: FB is still, proving several predictions wrong, growing steadily. All these apps are also increasing their userbase quite a bit. When you are a leader, it is also about a having right people on whom you can delegate your responsibilities and trust them.
Whether it is Google, Apple or FB — the best companies or founders or managers, they realize the importance of having amazing talent around them.
If you are a person who wants to be better than yesterday’s self, then this is the best way. Have the right people around you as friends, partners, mentors, advisors and co-founders, Hangout with them and others will keep telling you ‘I see you have matured/improved a lot’.
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