Bob Sutton, Stanford Professor (on the right)

Surround Yourself With People Who Get It

Download PDF

We are doing a lot of faculty and staff recruiting, and I read a blog post tonight that really resonated with me.  It is by Bob Sutton (on the right in the picture), a faculty member at the Stanford Business School who teaches management and related subjects.  He is the author of several provocative books, including The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t.

Sutton’s blog post is about the following advice given by the CEO of a start-up company that helps other companies hire people for small projects.

“Life is too short to waste it with people who don’t get it, whatever “it” may be for you, so make sure you surround yourself with people who do”

Sutton rightly says “[t]his is such good advice because human attitudes and behaviors are so infectious. If you are surrounded with a bunch of smart, graceful, caring, and action-oriented people, all that goodness will rub-off on you; and if you are surrounded with a bunch of people with the opposite attributes, that will infect you too.”  Amen.

It is important to hire people who have the right technical skills, but that is not nearly as important as hiring people who get the mission of the School.  That is the “it” for me.  Knowledge and ability are important.  The mistake is to settle for those qualities if there is any doubt about their commitment to the mission, or about their ability to be good and supportive colleagues.

We have been incredibly lucky over the years to attract “a bunch of smart, graceful, caring, and action-oriented people.”  Thank you.  As we recruit for important faculty and staff positions, let’s continue to surround ourselves with people who get “it.”

4 thoughts on “Surround Yourself With People Who Get It

  1. As someone who has just finished a job search, I think Sutton’s advice also applies to employees. Finding a workplace that “gets it” and is full of “smart, graceful, caring, and action-oriented people,” might be a better predictor of job satisfaction than the work an employees does as part of the organization.

  2. Mike, you have articulated exactly why I am so proud to be joining the School of Government. It’s rare to find such a mission-driven, engaging group of people. 77 days and counting.

Leave a Reply