Smart people, hard problems

All organisations want to hire smart people. Hiring pipelines are a constant battle between quality and quantity. When you demand both, the first solution offered by HR consultants is to jack up the pay and perks. You are told to match ‘market standards’. Sure, it solves the problem, but only temporarily. Because hiring smart people is only the first part of the problem, the second part is retaining them. One of the learnings I have had after going through this cycle many times over the last 10 years is this.

Smart people levitate towards where growth is. Growth happens in places where hard, relevant problems are solved and where the most economic upsides are created. So if your organisation is not working on hard problems, you will mostly have a difficult time hiring and retaining smart people and building high performance teams.