The ABC’s of Hiring

Rick Wartzman
Rick Wartzman

In his latest column for Forbes online, Drucker Institute Executive Director Rick Wartzman writes about a new book by Mort Mandel, a self-made billionaire who built Premier Industrial Corp. into an electronics and auto-parts distribution powerhouse.

Wartzman notes that Peter Drucker consulted with Mandel in the early 1970s. “Drucker’s advice—identify extraordinary people and place them into your most crucial leadership roles—may sound simple,” Wartzman writes. “But few, if any, have ever executed on this principle better than Mandel.”

“His philosophy,” Wartzman explains, “boils down to this: The most powerful forces in any enterprise are, far and away, the human beings—the people who build it, manage it, lead it and inspire it.

“Consequently,” Wartzman adds, “Mandel goes to incredible lengths to hire only the very best—‘A players,’ as he calls them—who exhibit real strength in five areas, ranked from most significant to least: intellectual firepower, values, passion, work ethic and experience.”

When you bring in A’s, “you get a multiplier effect,” Mandel writes in his book, It’s All About Who. “Leaders who are clearly A’s attract and make optimal use of employees who are also A’s. In fact, A-level professionals will not work for long under leaders who are not A’s.”

“So why do so many organizations opt for other than A’s?” Wartzman asks. “Some of it is due to laziness. Much of it is because of the perceived exigency of the moment.” Organizations are “under pressure from colleagues or customers to fill each job because work needs to get done,” Mandel says. “There is compromise everywhere. That’s why there are so many B and even C players in so many important positions.”