Three best traits to look for in a recruit?

From an intriguing piece (PDF in case) in the New York Times…

Three traits that might be more useful than the old ‘self-starter’ or ‘go-getter.’ (From an extraordinarily successful CEO):

“When I play in Sunday-morning soccer games, I can literally spot the people who’d probably be good managers and good people to hire.”

Based on what? asked the interviewer:

“One is reliability, the sense that they’re not going to let the team down, that they’re going to hold up their end of the bargain (ital added – KK). And in soccer, especially if you play seven on seven, it’s more about whether you have seven guys or women who can pull their own weight rather than whether you have any stars.”

Then he adds this little gem:

“So I’d rather be on a team that has no bad people than a team with stars. There are certain people who you just know are not going to make a mistake, even if the other guy’s faster than them, or whatever. They’re just reliable.”

‘Mistake’ here refers to the basics, not ingenuity or creativity in a pickle. The practice of medicine reports a similar phenomenon: plodders make better surgeons than talented stars.

Third, he asks his folks to choose something to be CEO of. He told them:

“By the end of the week, everybody needs to write what you’re C.E.O. of, and it needs to be something really meaningful.”

He adds

“And that way, everyone knows who’s C.E.O. of what and they know whom to ask instead of me. And it was really effective. People liked it. And there was nowhere to hide.”

One way to do this in a business of newbie entrepreneurs is to see what areas of the business a person wants to be CEO of while they’re in training. There are many parts to learn – dealing with the company, working with downline, scheduling your time, tracking your dials, talking to people – online or offline – these are skill sets to be mastered at various stages of the business.

If a person starts with what is meaningful to her, masters it, and is then available to teach that to others, she’d be, in this way, a CEO of that skill set.

Most new networkers have never owned a business of their own before. The CEO idea provides a way to learn the pieces, one at a time. And to take responsibility, a piece at a time.

To the extent that your business thrives as a team effort, here’s how I read this.

Look for people who

1) report they are reliable and would not let others down (they do what they say they’re going to do)
2) are not self-important stars, and
3) those who jump at the chance to be CEO of part of their business and help others learn that skill.

Your take?

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • I too would rather have a team of people who all individually are good at one particular skill. Together we'd be 'unbeatable.'

    Uhm, isn't that what teamwork is about in the first place?

  • Hi Kim,

    Great post. I like these 'traits' on my potential partners. I was just thinking what kind of questions could I ask in a conversation or in a qualifying call to find out if the person I am talking to has these traits.

    If for example I ask someone "Do you consider yourself reliable?" I know the answer would be a bit biased.

    So do you have any questions to suggest?

    I'll also think about it and tell you what I came up with.

    Theodore from Greece

  • Reading this post while watching SportCenter has me thinking of Peyton Manning.
    He is going to go down in history as one of the greatest QB's in the history of the game not because he is the most physically talented to play the game but because he doesn't make mistakes and bad decisions.

  • Hi Kim,

    I read your summary and asked myself if I honestly had those qualities. I answered yes to each and then I asked myself for an example of each to prove it and the examples flew up instantly. So I am right back to attracting people like me.

    I bet many of your subscribers would have identical results with the same self-evaluation. How about you?

    Wishing You Plenty To Live,
    Tome Doiron

  • I love this article. Putting your team in charge of helping your team.

    It is a great way to keep people involved. You are much less likely to quit something if someone is depending on you.

  • I'd never thought of utilising the team like that, it's a superb idea. Especially when it comes to online marketing, if one person loved doing videos, another one really liked article marketing, and another one creating blogs or something like that. Provided the compensation plan allows for team work, it could work out great.

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