So, how do you build a powerful team of talented people who share the same values and passion as you? How do you compete with everyone else who can clearly outbid you?
Last year, I met Rajesh Padinjaremadam at a conference. He’s the co-founder and CEO of RapidValue Solutions, an IT services company that’s garnered some impressive accolades (including a couple Gartner awards) since being founded in 2008.
His company has 450-plus employees now, which is impressive: To grow a services company to that size, you have to inherently know something about hiring and training talent. After all, you don’t have a product to sell. You’re selling your team.
Padinjaremadam’s motto: “We have a simple internal rule: Don’t let your job title define what you can’t do.”
As you can tell, I’ve been thinking about how the best companies of hire and train talent, and wanted to get Padinjaremadam’s thoughts–so I called him up. Here are the three lessons I learned from our conversation:
1. The best employees are passionate–not necessarily experienced.
Hiring candidates based solely on their experience almost always ends badly, according to Padinjaremadam. “The candidates that didn’t have the strongest resume or the most number of years of experience, but were deemed to be a cultural fit, almost always turned out to be an invaluable asset in the long term,” he says.
I’m not a big fan of resumes, and that’s exactly why. Your resume only shows an objective professional history. It doesn’t allow you to show what you’re truly capable of.
Instead, I always recommend being active on LinkedIn. It’s one of the few platforms where you can professionally show without looking like you’re showing off. Plus, it’s the first place many employers do their due diligence.
Padinjaremadam recommends trying to get a better feel for their attitude in the interview. The more positive their attitude, the more likely they will succeed in their environment.
2. The best employees take risks and fail often.
I think every founder needs to embrace failure and make it a known part of the company’s culture. You should make a point of regularly taking on challenges that run the risk of failing, and encourage your employees to take those leaps without hesitation.
Padinjaremadam agrees. “Instead of reprimanding mistakes, we encourage our team to learn from them and move on,” he says. “We wanted our team to take risks. This is the only reason we continue to grow.”
At an old job, I remember distinctly one of my old managers telling me, “We don’t fail here. Failure is not allowed.” I almost couldn’t believe my ears. Instead, I took a risk and started a new initiative–and the small failures we suffered along the way eventually led us to better learning and success.
Don’t be like my old manager and try to instill fear of failure.
3. The best leaders get out of the way of their teams.
Padinjaremadam recommends that every team member be able to step out of their comfort zone. Just because your job description says one thing doesn’t mean you can’t do something else.
“My job as a leader is to let them step up and get out of their way,” he explains. “If you can’t get out of their way, they will never step up.”
When it comes to stepping up, I can’t think of a better example than Amazon, which started as a book company and created an entirely new industry by offering cloud computing services. If Amazon’s leadership team didn’t empower its staffers to step outside their job descriptions, I guarantee Amazon would have faded as a mediocre book company.
If you’re building a company, stop using resumes and job experience as your hiring method. Get to know your candidate’s passions and let them take risks without you reprimanding them if they fail. If you hire the best, they will help your company grow.