Good, Great, or Exceptional: The Employees You Hire Determine The Kind of Company You Create

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On July 27, 2018

I’ve written repeatedly about the importance of hiring the right people if you want to scale up your company and grow it to new levels. As an executive coach, it’s really one of the pillars of helping any client grow. I keep coming back to this topic because I’m firmly convinced that the employees you hire determine the kind of company you create.

What’s the Difference Between Good, Great, and Exceptional?
To be honest, I think a lot of my clients understand that it’s important it is to get the right people in key positions in their companies. At the same time, I’m not sure everybody grasps just how critical it is—and what separates one employee from another. What’s the difference between a good employee, a great employee, and an exceptional employee?

I recently came across an article by Peter Oleg that sheds a bit of light on this question. One thing, in particular, jumped out at me.

Good employees follow the process. Great employees fix the broken processes. Exceptional employees create new processes. They re-engineer broken systems and repair relationships with clients.

Think about that for a minute. Good employees follow. Great employees fix. Outstanding employees create. That’s what transformation is all about. Transformation is not doing the same thing over and over again. It’s not making tweaks and small changes (and hoping for earth-shattering results). It is making significant, dramatic changes that can lead to dramatic growth. Part of that process involves hiring exceptional people who will help you create something brand new—and take your company to new heights.

What’s the Key to Hiring Exceptional Employees?
That’s all great, but how do you get it done? What’s the key to hiring exceptional employees? Let me start by talking about what it’s not.  The key to great hiring isn’t just about your hiring techniques and screening processes. It’s not just about your interview process and your probing questions (although you do want to make sure you thoroughly vet people—and here’s a post that talks about one important way to do that—for key positions). It’s also not just about your offer and compensation package (salary and benefits). You’ll notice that in each situation I’ve said, “not just.” These are important things to take care of, but they aren’t the most important things.

If you’re the leader of a growing company, the key to hiring the best employees is probably you. Your leadership ability and vision are the glue that holds everything together. Any change in your business has to start with you. Steve Jobs once said:

If you want to hire great people and have them stay working for you, you have to let them make a lot of decisions, and be run by ideas, not hierarchy. The best ideas must win otherwise good people don’t stay.

In the last few years, I’ve seen a lot of articles about how “People don’t quit companies; they quit managers.” And while that’s true, you could also make the case that “Exceptional employees don’t just join a company; they follow a compelling leader.”

Are You A Leader People Will Follow?
I invite you to click on the orange “Assessment” button below to see if your leadership qualities are where they need to be to lead your company to new territory. You’ll also see where your business stands in other key areas—but let’s begin with you first!