The Myth of the Hero

A lot of people assume that when you want great talent, you need a hero; someone who will rush in, destroy every barrier and magically carry their team to victory. Unfortunately, heroes like this are mostly mythical beings.

By far the most effective team members are those who are consistent.

Your best employees show up for work and meetings on time, ask others how they can improve, take predictable paths that have been proven by past experience. In short, you know you can count on them to do what they say they will.

This isn't to say that companies don't need innovation, but I do think that "mavericks" are often overvalued. Predictable team players are the kind of people you can build a business on.

Consistent, team players might not get the recognition the "superheroes" in your organization do, but you know that every day you can count on them to meet expectations and encourage others to do the same. They won’t take undue credit and they’ll keep an even temperament. They’ll admit it when they screw up, and they’ll learn to be a little more cautious next time they take on a similar project.

Even in high-risk ventures like startup businesses, you want predictable performers. You need these people to balance you out; you need them to consistently pull through when the riskier elements of your business fail.

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Karl Hughes


Software Engineering