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Builders or Growers: Who Do You Really Need to Hire?

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Pioneers plants are always the first things to grow in the harshest environments.

Resilient they survive in conditions that would be impossible for the average plant, while creating the conditions for more lush vegetation to thrive.

They're an essential part of a thriving ecosystem, without them much of the world would be barren and uninhabitable for plant-life.

Pioneer plants

Not every company, team or division has the luxury of lush conditions in which to grow. Many are still figuring it out, they're still working out how to be successful.

These teams need to hire the human equivalent of pioneer plants. People that can figure things out and create the environment for the company to thrive.

Other teams have found the formula to success - they need people to come in, pour gasoline on the fire and scale their new processes.

We're talking about two very different skillsets here, and two very distinct hires - "builders" and "growers".


Builders create procedures and solve problems. They can perform with limited resources, and are great at getting things off the ground.

They're athletes - you can hire them to wear multiple hats at your company, to play multiple "sports", to run multiple projects.

If you're building a startup or creating a new division at a large company, builders are what you need. They excel at figuring things out and getting stuff done.


Growers are the people that can hit the accelerator pedal. Once you've established a process, they're the people that can come in and scale it.

They tend to be specialists, with plenty of experience in one small area - they only play one "sport". You hire growers to do a very specific job, and do it well.

You hire growers when you know what the playbook is, you know what works and you're doubling down.

When you make your next hire, think carefully about who you _really _need, a builder or a grower?

A little while back we wrote talked about the importance that you should give to potential over experience when it comes to hiring for your team, if you enjoyed this post you might like that one too.

 ### State of Talent Engagement 2019 report The results of the State of Talent Engagement 2019 survey are in! You can download the full report here for statistics and data on how companies plan to engage with talent in 2019.

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