I came across Betty Liu's (Executive Vice Chairman at NYSE) article highlighting comments made by John Chen, CEO of Blackberry and found myself agreeing with every word. Building a team with people that have experienced failure makes perfect sense to me.
Chen is quoted "I wanted to start a new business and I didn't want to teach those people the pitfalls of failure or where the problem is," he said. "The people who actually have failed before gave us a lot of good insight and experience and also have the proper attitudes about not thinking everything is smooth sailing."
When employing sales people I'm always wary of success after success after success. It makes you wonder what would happen if things got tough - how would the person cope.
Start-ups, for those of you that haven't been in that environment, can test your resolve to the extreme. You need people that haven experienced failure - they're going to be able to stop potential issues and provide valuable experience.
I recall back in 2000, when I was at an early stage start up, I was interviewing for salespeople, one very pleasant person was keen to join. He liked the appeal of a start up but his most recent role was 15 years at BT. I didn't take him on - I didn't have time to teach him what the pitfalls and problems would be.
Fast forward to today - if I was building a sales team I wouldn't employ anyone that didn't have a solid understanding of social selling. They would also need -
- an above par LinkedIn profile
- be a regular and proficient user of Sales Navigator.
Without meeting these basic requirements they wouldn't survive without a lot of coaching and training. Those of you that are hiring teams should be adopting a similar attitude. The number of years of experience counts for nothing if the individual isn't properly prepared for business today and in the future.
John Chen, CEO of BlackBerry, sought out people who had failed before. Speaking on Radiate, he said that at one point he was basically looking for people who failed at startups. "I wanted to start a new business and I didn't want to teach those people the pitfalls of failure or where the problem is," he said. "The people who actually have failed before gave us a lot of good insight and experience, and also have the proper attitudes about not thinking everything is smooth sailing." Exactly. He was looking for enlightened and experienced people to join his team.