Don’t Hire Ducks!

I was doing a management conference this week in Charlotte, N.C. and remembered a bit of advice that I’d been given close to 25 years ago.

“If you want to work with eagles, don’t hire ducks.”

I remember laughing when I first heard it, but look back now, and realize that it was one of the best management/leadership lessons I ever learned.

The person who taught me this went on to say, “You can hire a duck and put him in eagle school.  He might even graduate.  But guess what?  He’s still going to quack and he’s still going to waddle.  Why?  Because he’s a duck.”

Many times over the years, I wanted to hire someone quickly because I had an open position that needed filling.  Unfortunately, I sometimes hired in haste, and it was never a good deal.

So my recommendation is that you first figure out what an eagle looks like.  Write it down on paper in detail.  Get a clear mental picture of what you want.

And then, don’t compromise!  Be disciplined about this.  Stick to your guns.

As my friend Kevin Myers says, “There are two types of pain in the world.  The short-term pain of discipline, and the long-term pain of regret.”

Trust me.  Short-term pain is better!

PS, Residents of Oregon are exempt from this rule…  GO DUCKS!!!

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  1. Matt Fagioli
    Matt Fagioli11-11-2011

    haha, Kevin Myers also says “Pain follows Stupid”. The long term pain of living with a bad hire makes you feel that way too!

    • Robert Mallon
      Robert Mallon11-11-2011

      Very true Matt!

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