Chapter 6. Finding New Pools of A-Player Talent

People who grew up on family farms. Junior military officers. College athletes. What do all three of these groups have in common? These are just a few of the specific talent pools from which executives love to find A-players. And here's why.

People who grew up on farms have worked hard all their lives. They woke up early every day to get things done on the farm before they went to school. They understand just how hard you have to work to keep a business running. They already have the work ethic that is so important for success.

Junior military officers know what it means to lead people and have had to assume a lot of responsibility at an early age. Structured, hierarchical organizations feel like a good fit to them. JMOs bring these abilities with them to their new careers.

College athletes essentially work two jobs through college (school and sports). They are competitive, committed, and willing to do what it takes to achieve their goals. Plenty of executives— particularly those who share this background—place a premium on these abilities and love to hire former college athletes.

Do the skills above line up well with your company's A-player profile? If they do, you can focus your recruiting efforts on one or more of these talent pools. As you know, there are skills that you can teach (technical knowledge, product knowledge, understanding of a particular client) and skills you can't (motivation, leadership, commitment, the ability to sell, ...

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