So Auren Hoffman did a SaaStr workshop a few years back that was one of my favorites, I’ve embedded it below.
He made many great leadership points, but one in particular rattles around my head a lot and I think deserves its own post:
You usually won’t know if you’ve made a 10x hire … when you make the hire. They more often rise up.
I’ve never seen a bad or mediocre hire become a great hire either
But … as @auren said at a SaaStr session a few years back — most of his 10x hires he didn’t know were 10x when he hired them
My experience as wellhttps://t.co/RNyE3lqz27
— Jason ✨Be Kind✨ Lemkin 🇮🇱 (@jasonlk) January 10, 2024
This has been my experience as well. A good / great employee can become 10x in a new environment was part of Auren’s point.
I saw this live in my first start-up. My co-founder and our CTO were both wicked smart. But neither had worked on the right projects at their last company. I was able to get them into their zone and lane, and they didn’t just excel. They truly did the impossible. We took a technology that was worthless, bought it, and sold it for $50 million just 12.5 months later.
Since them, I’ve seen it again and again. At Adobe Sign / EchoSign, I knew a lot of our sales team, from Brendon Cassidy to Sam Blond (now at Founders Fund and ex-CRO at Brex) were great. But I didn’t know they were truly 10x hires. The game-changers. The same with our VP Product, Eran Aloni, who went on to Gong.
Now a merely “good” employee can’t become a game changer, at 10x. But going from wicked smart / very, very good to game-changer really can be context dependent.
It’s also why hiring someone that was so great at their last start-up, doesn’t always work out at the next one.
Hire the very, very people you can. Have their backs, but get out of their way. And see who grabs the reigns and does even more. You’ll often be surprised who truly steps up and does far more than you ever expected. Make sure they have their shot to do so.