Ha! I bet you thought I was talking about a life partner. No, instead, I'm speaking about meeting the people you know you should hire. Even though you may not necessarily have a job for them.
That's a huge leap of faith, I realize, but let me explain.
We've all met them: individuals you gravitate towards because of their quick insights, ability to debate without quarrel and instant grasp of your vision. I've met a few of them over the years – people I hired even when I could least afford them…even when I had no clear role for them!
Risky? Perhaps. But when I look back, I can see that those hires were really no risk at all. By using my intuitive sense of people, and by not allowing fear to undercut my instincts, I made some smart choices.
Malcolm Gladwell explores this at length in his best-selling book Blink. One of his observations: decisions made in the blink of the eye are a result of rapid cognition. In other words, a snap judgment is not necessarily an unthinking emotional impulse, but instead a rational thought that simply moves faster and unfolds more mysteriously than a premeditated decision.
That said, it is challenging. After all, businesses have stringent methods of hiring and tried and true processes to respect – right? To further complicate matters, I didn't always know how I would be able to afford these star performers. But I was always transparent and direct. I'd let them know: a) I didn't have a defined role for them, so we'd have to figure that out together, b) they needed to be able to start adding value in spite of the first point, and c) they would have a short runway in which to show me how they could contribute.
This is not to say that I set them up for failure; quite the opposite. I gave them senior roles, was vocal about my support and made sure I removed as many hurdles as possible, allowing their potential to quickly blossom.
To be clear, these people are special – which means they are few and far between. At the end of the day, they may have taken more of a risk than I did. They all had plenty of career options – but they believed in my vision, they believed in the future of the organization and they believed they could add value immediately. These hires became my most passionate evangelists, the best defenders of my vision and almost always the people unafraid to tell me when I was not being clear, concise and on-target.
You know these people when you meet them. They finish your sentences for you. They are doing something they like but are looking for something they love. And they want to do it with you.
Take that risk together. Listen to your gut feeling and take the leap. I can assure you that this is the only time when "hire fast" actually works.