As a BOSS, do you want to hire TALENT, or dumb and steady?

My friend Maria is a Marine Biologist.  Her profession and experience is very different from mine.

Maria is also an employer, and has almost two decades in managing smart and nerdy people.


So, my question to her was this:  Do you seek out the regular, steady employee.  The employee that follows directions, shows up everyday, gets along with others, and causes no drama.


DO you seek out GENIUS?  Do you want the brilliant mind working for you?  Are you willing to manage and put up with the EGO, randomness and the DRAMA that comes with a creative, and powerful thinker?

I assumed that in the world of science, you wanted people to follow direction.  I assumed that compliance and control was MORE important than having some MacGyver type going off in their own path.

I was surprised by Maria’s response:  “No question, I’ll take the egomaniac smart person, over the plodder.   Even though there will be days where the STAR is having a mood, or a pout.  Over the course of time, that creative problem solving, the ability to see through the mess has tremendous value.”

“I’m willing to do the extra work to babysit them, and try to keep them focused, but you’ll get a lot more done with this person in a week, than a plodder will accomplish in a year.”


We mostly hire “entry-level” people, with entry-level pay.  AFTER some terrible experiences, most of us become so frustrated that we’re willing to accept an employee that shows up on time, and mostly SOBER.

I’m going to ask you to stop doing that.   Don’t settle for Mediocre.   Look for the STAR.

Who is a star?


You want a person that is friendly, outgoing, and has a way with people.  The operations and procedures – all that crap you can teach.  But CHARISMA is rare.


Let me tell you WHY you want a STAR:


I’ve been lucky and have had a few stars in my operations at any one time.  Pay close attention to this:  We had opened up a new location about 50 miles from any of our other stores.  We transferred a manager from another location.  Blah.  The numbers were terrible.  The location had a BUSY street and great signage but after six months, it wasn’t even at break-even.  We tried a few other managers but never got above $5,500 per month in revenue.  I wasn’t willing to close the location, because I KNEW it was a great spot.  We were missing something.


I got to know a guy named LARRY that was running a little family cafe.  LARRY had just closed down his business and needed work.  (Regardless of my comments about hiring men, I’ve had a few great ones).  I liked the guy a lot and hired him.  Larry was in a tough spot financially and needed to work ALL the hours he could get.  I put him into the stagnant store.  Open to close, six days per week.




Within three months, the location had doubled to $10,000 per month.  At the end of Larry’s first year, the store was doing $27,000 per month in revenue.  Steady.  That’s a $21,500 MONTHLY difference.


Here’s the thing:  Larry wasn’t that smart.  He wasn’t great with collections.  I had to send somebody up there once a week for half a day to clean up the paper, and I’m pretty sure that he was skimming a few hundred per week from NSF charges/late fees.


But, Larry was a charming guy with the ladies.  When any woman walked in, 18 or 88, he would greet them enthusiastically with a “Hello BEAUTIFUL lady!”   With a disarming smile and a slight accent he pulled it off perfectly every time.  Even the most jaded, angry and bitter woman was putty in his hands.

Larry spoke four languages.

Larry would connect with the guys as he was a car and motorcycle enthusiast.  As Larry drove a 1950’s truck to work everyday, it was an instant ice-breaker.  There was never any attitude back or forth.   Larry was their buddy.  Their friend.

Most employees develop favorite clients, but they tend to treat the new clients like crap.  He didn’t do that. Everybody loved him.  He could find common ground with anybody.  Larry made each person feel special.

Hiring the **STAR** made a $258,000 difference on my bottom line.  Per year.  He stayed with us for three years and after he left, the numbers went down about 20%.


In total, hiring him made me $850,000 in additional revenue over his tenure.  Not counting the residual clients that stayed on after he left.  I think that justifies the extra time and effort I took getting to know him a little before I hired him.


He eventually left for a better paying job and moved out of State.  We paid him pretty well.  Going back in time, reviewing the numbers as I did for this example, I should have doubled his pay, created a FAT bonus structure, and chained him to the store forever.

Maria was right.  Look for the STARS.  Allow them to work to their strengths.  Find ways to prop up their weaknesses.

Our industry isn’t about money, it’s about PEOPLE.  The first, and most important hiring decision you make on your front line is people skills.  Charm.  Charisma.


Don’t settle.  Be GREAT out there!


Miro Posavec


PS:  If you want to know our secrets to finding and KEEPING stars, you should check out our Powerhouse operations course.   Click HERE to buy.

Comments ( 3 )
  • Jer - Trihouse says:


    Your real world example resonates big time. Ultimately, success – in life, love and business – is about people. Consumers, bosses, stockholders, loved ones… all gravitate to characters; to personas. Mercurial talent is to be treasured, respected and nurtured.

    Buffet, Gates, Soros, Welsh… all surround themselves with “smarter people than they are” and consistently win! Granted, it’s not easy. It’s a real challenge as a leader to provide a dynamic, growth oriented environment for a “Star” to shine and thrive.

    A position for the “slow and steady?” Room for “mercurial?” A lot of factors determine the needs of the business. Is it a launch? Is it a mature industry? Is it…

    I know one thing for certain! Miro, you’re a “Star!!” And you’re my friend and collaborator. Thank you!

    Jer – Trihouse

  • Matthew D says:

    After reading the the Title of the article I asked myself the same question. I’d be lying if I said I would go with the Genius (the one that brings all of the drama) before I read the article. You see, the slow and steady employee is the one I can accurately base production on. But after reading the post and then rereading it again, I spent time thinking back on my own experiences and realized that the few brilliant people I worked with were the real performers. The ones that brought all the drama and probably took away from other employees performance for all the loud antics they would bring. Their the ones you could count on when you needed it most. And not to say I’m a Genius or brilliant but when looking back from my own experience this person was a lot like me. My thinking in regards to hiring might have just been swayed moving forward. Good post!

    • Sam says:


      You have to be very secure and confident in your own abilities to risk collaborating with “Stars/Genius.” And the ability to absorb and embrace new information speaks highly of your business acumen. I suspect you will “win” if you haven’t already! Good comment!

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