At insurance firm Marsh & McLennan, you'll find a lot of conservative ideas--it's an insurance firm after all. But you'll also hear something that's really quite radical. The company's CEO Daniel S. Glaser recommends hiring people he doesn't get along with.

In the latest Corner Office featured in the New York Times, Glaser tells Adam Bryant that at his company, he seeks out unconventional new employees. Specifically, he looks for people who are "kind of impatient" and have a sense of "urgency about them, even a little edginess."

The best way businesses can avoid becoming complacent or arrogant after a long successful run, is by establishing a culture that values speaking up, he says. By challenging convention and questioning culture, he adds that you'll always find a smarter way of doing something.

Maybe it's because Glaser grew up in a household where conventional wisdom was looked down. He explains, "They would make us think for ourselves... Even today, when everybody thinks a direction is right, I just feel myself pulling in another direction a little bit."

Or perhaps it's because he is a firm believer in that "sometimes you win, sometimes you learn." He's not afraid of differing viewpoints, and that, he says, has helped the company stay fresh.

He also admitted that over time he has developed more perspective on how to deal with difficult employees. While before he was quick to dismiss an unproductive hire, now he has a "basic belief that almost everyone wants to contribute and do well." Glaser adds, "Some people, for a whole variety of reasons, have difficulty doing that, and at least an attempt or two should be made to try to help them."

Published on: Jul 15, 2016