How to attract A-players

As a company, you’re only as good as the quality of your team. That’s why A-companies are almost always run by A-teams, backed by A-investors and work for A-clients. And by A, I mean Awesome. The problem is though that Awesome is hard. Hard to find, hard to motivate and hard to retain. It’s the way it is.

To make the matters even worse, Awesome people always have options. Everybody wants to hire them because they get things done, they push the company forward and they attract other A-listers. So in a world where A-people can get any job they want, how does one find, motivate and retain A-players?

Reputation. Let’s take Yahoo! as a case-study. A few weeks ago, you wouldn’t be able to get an A-lister even 10 miles close to a Yahoo! office. Today, thanks to Marissa Mayer’s reputation, I’m sure many A-players would love to join the company. Reputation works well because you can’t fake it. You’re either an A-player or you’re not. You’re either an awesome startup, with an awesome product and awesome clients, or you’re not. There’s only so much hot air and smoking mirrors you can project, but smart people will always spot you out. Awesome people look for awesome companies, so those who figure out how to communicate that well externally will attract the best of the best.

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