Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and the Bulls have won six world championships. Michael Phelps has been awarded more gold medals than any other Olympic athlete in the history of the Olympics. George Strait has more #1 singles than any other musical artist. All of these people have similar characteristics. The question is what are they? What does it take to be the best in your profession? 

The other night I was doing some channel surfing and came across CMT. Carrie Underwood’s song “Blown Away” was playing, and in the bottom left hand corner by her name there was the #1. At that moment I just stared at the #1 with a circle going around it and thought to myself “There she goes again!” How does she do it? 

I am the sales recruiter for Dell. I recruit talent every day and I am always looking for the best of the best. I am looking for the game changers. I am always intrigued by people who strive to be #1. These people are not easy to find and they are even harder to attract. I have found that the people that can be part of this “Top Gun” academy have the following attributes:

1)      Have a selfless attitude. Some people are egomaniacs, but the true winners are the ones who are team players. Some people will achieve the #1 status, but without putting others around you first and empowering your team, it won’t last. I think of Barry Bonds and how he broke the Home Run record, but his steroid reputation ruined him. The Bulls were a true team. Michael was a great player, but he needed his supporting cast to get those championships.

2)      Be a survivor. You have to be willing to get knocked down a little bit. I am envious of the people who stay with the same company for an extended period of time. There have undoubtedly been challenges along the way, but those who stay despite obstacles have only become stronger. One reason it is hard to recruit a game changer is because they are loyal. George Brett of the KC Royals and Craig Biggio of the Houston Astros never played for another team throughout their career. As a recruiter, that is very admirable and sought after.

3)      Love what you do. I have never seen someone have continued success doing something that they hate doing. If you enjoy sales, you have the potential to be great but if you hate it, it will never happen. Carrie Underwood has a great voice, but you can tell she is having fun and she loves being on stage. 

4)      Have a burning desire to win. They are competitive by nature. I watched the Olympics this year and I just knew even before the race started that Michael Phelps was going to win. When I recruit sales people, I can recognize winners. Winners see challenges as opportunities and have an attitude that they will succeed despite opposition.

5)      Know your strengths and weaknesses. George Strait can sing. He has a likeable personality. That being said, his songs are simple, he hardly ever plays the guitar and doesn’t even write his own lyrics. George Strait has 60 #1 singles. That is more than Elvis. There is a reason his songs are simple and he hasn’t continued his acting career.   Find your niche and make the most out of it!

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Comment by bill josephson on August 29, 2012 at 8:30am

You make excellent points, Will. 

Most companies truly interested in hiring someone adding them to payroll aren't interested at present in a good candidate they want an exceptional one, or keep looking.  If they can't find the exceptional candidate needing a stop gap measure they'll look to a contractor till they find that game changer.


The difference is the good candidate may need you more than you need them whereas you need the game changer more than they need you.  I see a paring back of permanent staff to a core of game changers with contractors, some long term some transient, filling the voids around them. 

There are only a small handful of game changers.  They're the only ones who'll truly be in demand, IMO.

Comment by Will Thomson on August 29, 2012 at 5:49pm

Game changers are very difficult to find and I have seen the contractor route used also in some instances.  In today's economy there aren't as many positions out there and if they only have one role they want to get the most bang for their dollar.


Comment by bill josephson on August 29, 2012 at 8:53pm

Agreed.  I've been finding few quality fillable positions for awhile now.

However, some TPR's insist they're loaded with jobs and billing a fortune.

I figure they must be in a parallel universe somewhere, or I'm hitting every company laying off, not hiring, hiring but don't need me, or giving me the jobs they're not sure are fillable.

Comment by Martin O'Shea on September 10, 2012 at 11:18pm

Hello Will and Bill, 
Joining a bit late but new to this website, and have to agree with both of you as game changers are always going to be the more difficult task. What about those who don't stay at the same company because they get to comfortable at a position and feel the need to seek out a challenge for themselves at a new position at a new company? 

Comment by bill josephson on September 10, 2012 at 11:36pm

Martin, happen to be on when you posted.
IMO, a person who's good in this market place who wants to make a change may or may not be placed by a TPR but will likely become hired perm somewhere at some point.   The star's always be in demand.

The more one's the best at what they do and/or can do the work of more than one person--they're in high demand.

Comment by Will Thomson on September 11, 2012 at 8:23am

Hey Martin- thanks for the response.  Yes- it is true that changing roles for different challenges can help someone for their career.  You may not learn all of the things you want to learn at your current company.  That being said someone who has been with the same company for an extended amount of time is very admirable.  I certainly can't say that I have been that person, but admire those that have.  I have had multiple experiences with multiple companies.  It is kind of like being in a marriage- they have seen the ups and downs but stick through it through the thick and thin and learn how to become better and stronger as the years progress. 


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