Hire people who are cleverer than you

Publishing magnate Felix Dennis used to say “never seek a replica of yourself to delegate to, or to promote”.

It is a common error in weak leaders and something many new leaders fail to realise, especially as being a great leader starts before your team even start working.

The point to remember is that you have strengths and weaknesses in your character, so why increase those strengths? Wouldn’t it be better to find people to address those weaknesses?

Ad man David Ogilvy who started Ogilvy & Mather, one of the biggest advertising agencies in its time, was a big believer in only ever hiring people who were smarter than him.

He kept a set of Russian nesting dolls, and would place sets around his offices to illustrate his point:

He used to say, “If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.”

I understand they’re still dotted around Ogilvy offices today.

Remember: Consistently hiring people who are smarter than yourself could be the greatest legacy you can leave.

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