Dear SaaStr: What’s the #1 Thing That Sets Great VPs Apart From the Rest?
The truly great VPs,
They have a stream of great candidates coming through the door (or the Zoom).
Honestly have no idea how they do it.
But the great ones do.
— Jason ✨2022 SaaStr Annual Sep 13-15 ✨ Lemkin (@jasonlk) September 5, 2022
The biggest, simplest lesson I’ve learned:
Truly Great VPs make recruiting, scaling, and hiring 100x easier.
Once you want to grow, the hardest part will be finding good talent. By far. Truly Great VPs just … handle this.
Not that it’s easy. But Truly Great VPs become talent magnets:
- They are tenacious recruiters.
- They are always hunting great talent, even between jobs, even when they don’t need the hire.
- They build teams that self-recruit (to bring in their friends and the best folks they know).
- The word gets out that you have a world-class team.
- Success builds on success.
- A Truly Great VP, over time, can recruit first 1–3, then 4–10, and then 50–100 very strong folks under them. It’s like magic. It may even be magic.
Anything less than a Truly Great VP, though, and recruiting will be a constant challenge. There are 10,000 startups out there. Recruiting, once you have to scale, will consume all your time without Great VPs. Every step, every strong hire will be hard. Hiring will never get easier without a Truly Great VP or two. And this will drag you down just as you are truly ready to scale.
Do what it takes to keep the Best VPs — and find them. And if they can recruit and build amazing teams … just get out of their way. Let them do it 90%+ their way. Even if you’d do it a little differently yourself.
(an updated classic SaaStr Answer)
A related post here: