"Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify and vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as crazy, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."
Steve Jobs said that 20 years ago, and it is more relevant now than ever before. If you want a team with an entrepreneurial spirit, a team akin to what Steve created, you have to actively seek out those that challenge the norm, those that have opinions which move discussions forward, and act with tenacity and determination. HR was never meant for rebellious entrepreneurs. That's why it doesn't work.
This article is for all those unreformed rebels and risk-taking entrepreneurs just getting started, venturing forth in a wide world, and bracing for the flood of bad advice from a bunch of fearsomely dull men in grey suits. Those of you that plan on attempting to invent or, even better yet, reinvent an industry, remember: true drivers of innovation always have the spirit of rebellion. They stand out. Others consider them to be the misfits, Mavericks, the oddballs.
Eventually, once you've become a successful entrepreneur, you're going to have to build a team. You're going to have financiers, accountants, lawyers, and corporate flat tires giving you tips on "how to grow", and who you should hire. Remember they are a very different breed from the rebellious creatives and entrepreneurs like yourself who shaped the business. When it comes to hiring and building a team, you need to feed off other rebellious talents, with a diverse and unexpected set of skills, not just relying on the usual suspects (however good they may be).
Feed off diverse and unexpected talents, not just relying on the usual suspects.
You have to recruit from all sorts of backgrounds, and mix in the best talent of outstanding outsiders. The truly creative are not the ones who had formal education. They sure the hell don't have 10 years of experience doing the same thing on their resume. You won't find the truly creative, the disruptors, the misfits, the ones who aren't afraid to try one hundred bad ideas to find the one that works, with a college degree in 'risk-taking' or whatever they call it now, B.S. in Entrepreneurship? That's nonsense.
Every time I have ever hired someone with a degree in marketing or advertising, I have quickly learned to regret it. They are unwilling to unlearn old habits and thought patterns making them blind to un-obvious ideas. I've also become weary of those with 10 years of experience in any one industry especially my own. They'll constantly tell how they've done it before or what you need to do differently. Yet these guys (or gals) always seem to forget why they were disenfranchised with how things were at their last job. The ones I've hired that didn't even have a degree were the ones most willing to learn with an unquenchable thirst, they were always the most fearlessly talented.
The ones that actually thought they knew what they were doing either were not trying hard enough or were the most dangerous. Like the captain of the Titanic who "knew what he was doing" the whole time until sailing into an iceberg, you will be dragged to the depths of mediocrity if you rely on those that brag they know it all.
You never want employees, only collaborators. And ultimately, a collection of misfits who stop talking about ideas and get on with getting new stuff invented, developed, and done. Pioneers invent new ways of seeing things instead of clinging to those ways of thinking that confine your world forever to inside the box. We need to stoke the fire in the spirit of those we hire, not resort to those pretending to have all the answers.
Stop hiring from the usual talent pool. The well-developed mainstreamers, and highly experienced skill-sets inevitably favor business as usual -- however brilliantly and creatively they do it. Different doesn't come from those that sit inside an office looking at the same thing the same way, every time. Creativity and ideas are no longer enough. We all need those that challenge our own perspectives. The scientist and the artist need the space to come together.
I can't emphasize strongly enough the fact that you've got to surround yourself with people who can argue with you and question your assumptions.
Don't fall into the trap of the corporate mindset of hierarchy and positions or how things were done in the past. New hires are the people you will actually be working with. Never allow others to build your team for you, they're not the ones that need to be constantly challenged. You do the interviewing, not in the office or at a desk. Tell them to take you somewhere they can teach you something new. This ensures that you're hiring for the right team and the right reasons. So get ready to care a lot about the people you work with.