Finding a Re-producer

Like brass knuckles, this new concept hit me hard. When hiring in the past, finding a producer was my number one goal. When I say 'producer' I mean someone who can make things happen. They don't need a lot of hand holding – they're a self-starter – they jump in the ring and start swinging.

Here's what knocked me out. I still look for a producer but now I am upping the ante. I hunt for the ever-elusive re-producer. A re-producer is someone who shares his strengths, skills, and mindset with others around him.

The simple and sharp point is that he's a cultivating leader. He lives, not only in the ring, but in the corner, coaching others up. He's a leader that's not interested in followers – he's interested in leaders. Finding them and growing them.

Conventional wisdom taught me to find followers, not leaders. I thought I needed followers. I remember the early days of my first startup thinking, I want people to do what I say, people who won't question me. Just-do-your-job was my inner mantra.

This all shifted when I heard, John Maxwell say:

"Those closest to the leader will determine the success level of that leader."

Think about that. The people around you – those you've hired – are responsible for the level of your success. That means you need to be hiring people that are better and smarter than yourself.

When you hire a follower you're using addition. When you hire a leader you're using multiplication. When it comes to revenue, user growth, content creation, value added, would you prefer to use addition or multiplication math?

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This is why I'm only hiring reproducing leaders at our startup. It's not enough for you to be a good producer anymore – you have to be a re-producer, someone who is looking for and growing leaders.

The way you find these re-producers is becoming one yourself. Albert Schweitzer wrote many years ago, “Example is not the main thing in influencing others… it is the only thing.” That hasn't changed. You can't attract what you don't model. It takes time to rethink your own thinking. Its been a slow but steady transformation for me and I am thrilled with the results.

Finding re-producers is not easy. The search is difficult, long, and challenges your patience. But if you stick with it, your organization's productivity and success will move at light speed.

Have you hired a re-producer? Have you become one yourself? What are some of the difficulties you've faced?