Constructing an agency filled with top talent establishes a distinct and formidable competitive advantage. According to Bradford D. Smart, PhD, “High performers—the A players—contribute more, innovate more, work smarter, earn more trust, display more resourcefulness, take more initiative, develop better business strategies, articulate their vision more passionately, implement change more effectively, deliver higher-quality work, demonstrate greater teamwork, and find ways to get the job done in less time with less cost.
”1 Model agencies are constantly in search of professionals who have the desire and drive to be great. Social media has made it more efficient to identify and passively engage with these candidates over time. Their activity on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and blogs provides windows into their personal brands, including communication styles, interests, and motivation. At the same time, A players are able to more easily analyze agencies through blogs and social networks. These high-potential producers are very selective, and they usually have options, so firms must separate themselves in the recruiting process.
A Player Competencies and Traits
How do you recognize an A player What are the common competencies and traits they possess that make them more qualified than their peers Although intelligence and experience are key, their character, internal drive, personalities, and innate abilities are the intangibles that truly differentiate great candidates from good ones. Let’s take a look at some of the most desirable competencies and traits of marketing agency A players.
Building through the Draft
The top firms, which will lead industry transformation and deliver the most value, are built from within. Like professional sports teams that build through the draft, these model agencies excel at identifying and nurturing high-potential young talent, ideally straight out of school. These professionals are groomed within defined systems and trained to adhere to agency standards for performance. Top-performing young professionals are the most important foundation for hybrid agencies, specifically disruptors.
However, agencies cannot push growth beyond their capability to service it. One of the most challenging aspects of building through the draft is what I call the patience of potential. Although your recruits may have A-player potential, not all top picks are ready for primetime right away. Any number of factors can influence how quickly they adapt from college life to the real world and embrace the opportunities ahead of them. These are a few of the more common factors agencies face
It is common for professionals in their early-to mid-20s to struggle and even question their career choices as they adapt and seek balance in their lives. Those who resist fully committing to their careers in the early years risk falling significantly behind their peers’ development and stalling the agency’s growth.
This is why it is imperative to recruit internally driven professionals who have an insatiable desire to improve, advance, and succeed. They will put in the extra time and energy needed to build a solid foundation of knowledge that will rapidly propel them into leadership positions. Intelligence becomes secondary to effort in the agency world