The best advice I ever got was to hire complementary skills. It took me till I was 35 years old to learn this from Ichak Adizes. He noticed that I – like many people – went about hiring people I liked who were often people just like me. Those people had the same views and attitudes as me, and although they were not “yes-men,” they often had the same outlook as me. That did not lead to the best decision-making.
I learned that there are really four main characteristics of people in organizations.
The “E” type is the entrepreneur, who dreams, who comes up with the idea for the company, and who sees over the horizon.
The “P” types is the producer, the person who gets things done, who finishes the product, or gets it out the door, or sells it, or in general makes things happen.
The “A” type is the administrator, the person who helps the trains run on time, who keeps things orderly, who collects the money, pays the bills, makes sure everything is working.
The “I” type is the integrator, who helps all those other three types of people work together, because in the extreme case, they would hate each other’s guts!
The first three styles are so different in mentality and attitude that they need the “I” glue to hold them together.
What is needed is mutual trust and respect between all the personality types so that the best of all can be heard.
A company starts with E, but then fails if it can’t produce. Then if it has P it can produce and make it to the next stage. But then, if it doesn’t get some A, the right amount, not too much, then it can become even more successful. But with no A the company will eventually fail too. Finally, without I, the company can never get to harmony long-term.
So my biggest learning is you need a harmonious balance of all these skills, and you need to both recognize, recruit, and reward all of these skills in your company to grow beyond a tiny startup to an impactful company that can make the world a better place.
This article is published in collaboration with LinkedIn. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.
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Author: Bill Gross is the Founder and CEO of Idealab.
Image: A businessman avoids puddles at the International Financial Services Centre – the business district of Dublin. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor