Hire for Momentum…

I see it all the time. Most SAP Leaders are just too risk-averse to hire the truly excellent.

If you really want to hire a Rockstar, don’t hire for track-record, at least not in the traditional sense.

Hire for momentum…

In my 15 years headhunting in the SAP space, I’ve seen a lot of hiring mistakes begin and end with the common misconception that the safest hire is one who has done the job before.

It makes sense. You want to hire an SAP Center of Excellence Director to lead a global effort to move to one globally scaled platform, it just makes common sense that you hire someone who’s got a successful track record of doing that very same thing with a similar company.

But if you hire for track-record, you’re missing one of the most critical components of hiring Rockstars, and that’s career trajectory.


You’ll never mistake me for the religious type, but this passage from the Bible, Matthew 13:12 contains this oft-overlooked facet of the human condition:

“For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”

In other words, winners keep winning.

The debate about this concept’s fairness notwithstanding (I believe it is, but I believe in meritocracies), it’s still one of the fundamental forces of nature. It’s the driving force behind the Pareto Principle, the famous 80/20 rule we are all familiar with.

80% of results come from 20% of the talent.

…and that 20% won’t stay still for long.

In my view, tracking a candidate’s career trajectory is one of the most important things you can do in an interview, because winners typically tend to keep winning, even despite the occasional set-back.

Make a conscious effort not to fall into the common trap of only hiring laterally. Most leaders hire safely; hiring someone who’s doing the same job for the same money at a different company, instead of hiring someone for whom this will be an upward move.

You’ll do better, more often than not, hiring the up-and-comer instead of trying to hire the proven commodity. The thing about proven commodities, is that they rarely make lateral moves. Or at least, not the Rockstar proven commodities.

Occasionally it might make sense for a Rockstar to make a move like this for extenuating circumstances, but what you’re looking for is someone who’s got momentum on their side.

This job will be exciting for them, and they’re going to have a chip on their shoulder wanting to prove that you made the right choice. Besides, Rockstars want to stretch themselves.

Give them room to stretch.

If you only hire laterally, you will rarely attract a Rockstar to your company.

I never said hiring Rockstars was easy…

Your Key to the C-Suite

For the modern SAP Leader, career ladders are a thing of the past.

They are an artifact of the Mad Men era, when you signed onto an organization at 21, followed the rules, were incrementally promoted along the way, and retired with a gold watch.

Those days are long gone.

The concept of a career ladder died about 30-years ago, when over 85% of Fortune 1000 companies downsized their white-collar workforce. particularly mid-management jobs.

As those companies thinned out, leadership positions disappeared and will never be seen again.

The career ladder has been replaced with the corporate pyramid. Most top-performers (and if you’re reading this I assume you either are a top-performer or you want to be one) have a burning desire to expand, develop, and advance both personally and professionally.

However, as you move up the food chain in your career, the competition for the top-spots heats up, and the failure rates are staggering:

The Harvard Business Review puts the failure rate among management hires at 60%, and the consequences of failure in your current role can derail a once-promising career.

So if you’re a VP who wants to break into the C-Suite, an SAP Director who feels you have what it takes to be a ‘Veep,’ a Manager looking to step up to the next rung of career success…

…or even if you’ve made it to the top of the mountain but realize now that all eyes are on you to lead your people to the promised land (all while building shareholder value)…

…the higher up the food chain you are, the hotter the competition gets. No matter how good you are, or think you are, if you want to compete and win, you need an edge.

Jack Welch, in building General Electric to become one of the most respected companies in the world, famously spent 50% of his time on talent issues.

Why were talent issues such a focus of his? Because he believed despite a company’s technological innovation, intellectual property, or brand recognition, talent alone is the only true sustainable differentiator that really matters.

Larry Bossidy (Jack’s most well-known protégé, CEO of AlliedSignal, and incidentally one of my business heroes) famously said:

“Nothing our company does is more important than hiring and developing superior talent.”

And the cliche that effective leadership means hiring those who are smarter than you, is a cliche precisely because it’s true. So why is it that almost 50% of all hires are mis-hires, across every industry?

Your key to the C-Suite, or to greater shareholder value, or just to feel like you’re a top-performer yourself, is the talent you hire.

Focus on this, above all else, because without a Rockstar team behind you, you’ll never the opportunity to show the world how great of a leader you truly are.

Want to Hire an SAP Rockstar?

Want to hire an SAP Rockstar? But don’t know how to attract one?

…and tired of hiring duds?

Consider this…a sense of self-actualization is the most important and most shared characteristics of Rockstars across all industries.

The Bar-On Eqi assessment, the most widely used tool to measure emotional intelligence (with more than 500,000 tests given in 40+ countries), found that a sense of self actualization was by far the #1 trait shared by all top performers.

They want to grow their skills, expand their capacity, reach for the stars. They’re not afraid to sweat, or to take chances.

They’re not spectators. They’re IMPLEMENTERS. They don’t want to just push their limits. They want to shatter them.

They don’t chase money. They chase excellence, knowing that the money will come.

This is what makes a Rockstar a Rockstar. I would go so far as to say that if they do not have a strong sense of self-actualization, by definition THEY ARE NOT A ROCKSTAR. They are an average
performer at best.

☑️So the question you need to ask yourself is, does your Employer Value Proposition (EVP) ooze with potential?

☑️ Is the ability to self-actualize baked right in?

☑️ When a Rockstar hears your EVP, is it a no-brainer?

If not, you’re hamstringing your ability to recruit them, as well as keep the ones you have.

Hawaiian shirt Fridays and ping-pong tables in the break-room won’t get the job done.