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Only Hire People Who Are Better Than You

| January 19, 2013 | 12 Comments

Max Gouchan for UNDER30CEO picture

So you’ve got a brilliant idea and you are ready to change the world. There’s just that one thing missing: a partner or two. How to choose the right one?

Some months ago I ran into Bjørn Kjos, who is the founder of the airline company Norwegian, which is one of the largest in Europe. While chatting I saw the opportunity to ask him if he had any advice for me from what he has learned over the years. He told me, “Only have people who are better than you on your team. Then you will do fine, boy.” Since I am 18 years old and without higher education, I thought, well that shouldn’t be too hard.

This advice has probably changed my life. I remember before meeting Kjos, I was often frightened to delegate responsibilities. As somebody who is very focused on top results, all the small details, and so on, I was always afraid that people wouldn’t do the job as well as I was capable of myself. It made delegating into a very stressful task and I was overloaded with work that should have been delegated to others. I found out that I ought to try this out. After all, Kjos is a very successful man and it would be stupid to just ignore such advice from him. This changed everything.

For my latest project ClickLift I have only hired the best of the best; people who are much better than me. And it has been amazing. As CEO in a small start-up company I can now delegate tasks much easier, and know that they will be finished better than I could ever imagine, or at least as good as I could do myself. This has been a great pressure release. And it makes me proud.

When being interviewed, I never talk about myself or what I am good at, instead I focus on boasting about my team and how proud I am of them. Kjos’ advice worked. You shouldn’t be afraid of hiring people who are better than you. They won’t steal your idea or your business from you, as I was afraid of, especially during the early stages of the start-up. By hiring the best of the best, you can trust that they will understand that this is business and that you are in this for it to succeed. After all, it is your idea, and if it is good – which it has to be, in order to get the best people – they know that you are a smart guy who has managed to come up with this brilliant idea.

So I want to pass Kjos’ advice on to you: When you are looking for someone to join you on your adventure, make sure that you just don’t pick up a friend or someone who seems to be OK. Never settle for just OK. Go for the best, and I can promise you that you and your business will have a much greater chance of success.

Max Gouchan is the youngest CEO working in an oil related company which consists of engineers and sales-people, and who is probably leading one of the most innovative, exiting and fun companies in Norway to work for today and for the foreseeable future. 

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Category: Startup Advice

  • Kevin Finch Ng’etich

    What is the best way to scout for these talents (best of the bests) who will build you a great team ?

  • Max Gouchan

    Simply just show up.
    If I didnt show up at StartupWeekend I would have never met Arnfinn who is now our technical manager. If I never showed up at an entrepreneur course I would never met the person who became sales manager. Simply show up at events and get out of the office. You never know when you will meet one of “the best of the best”.

    Best regards Max :)

  • Brandy Anderson

    Love this perspective — I’ve adopted this in my personal life as well. I always think, surround yourself with people who are smarter or better at something than you and they will always be interesting, and they are much more likely to help you grow both personally and professionally.

  • Max Gouchan

    Thas sounds wonderfull brandy! :)

  • Opata Olende

    I forget the exact quote, but I once heard this – “If you’re the smartest person in the room you’re in the wrong place.

    It’s challenging approach, but it’s fantastic advice. Thanks for sharing.

  • Anika Davis

    Some business owners are afraid to hire the person they know who can do better than them because of some anxiety. As a result, they ended up hiring the person that has no enough experience about the task given to them.Thanks for this advice Max!

  • Max Gouchan

    Thanks! :) Yeah that quote is great !:) Thanks for reminding me of that. Best regards Max, ( Hope you follow me on Twitter!:)

  • Max Gouchan

    Hehe if you want to win you need to get the A players, not the B . Glad you like it!

    Follow me on Twitter if you want to :)

  • Opata Olende

    Yup – just added you (@GREENMANGOcc). Cheers!

  • Opata Olende

    Kumbe there are Kenyans hanging out here! Fresh picture my guy.

  • Kevin Finch Ng’etich

    Cheers Roy…. Kenyans everywhere. Informative blog

  • Kevin Finch Ng’etich

    Thanks Max … Bottom line is being “social with a purpose”