Why a know-it-all is the last thing you want on your leadership team

A company can have all the big bells and whistles, the greatest product, the coolest campaign, and still fail.

The recipe for success will always be something even more essential; finding the right people, and working collaboratively towards a common goal.

The people in any company are the blood, bones and organs that keep it alive, and there is no living without those in good health.

Assembling and maintaining a strong and healthy staff is an art, and Hudson Jeans (like every other company) has had its good and bad hires over the years. A collaborator once told me, “Everyone has skills. Lots of people can learn the skills for a job. You can’t learn enthusiasm nearly as easily, you can’t mandate the right attitude.”

This continues to be true for me over and over again. Company culture is sacred, and must be maintained and cultivated with as much care as the very product or service your company provides.

Like I always say, we learn best when we fall down. It takes so many great, hard-working people to make a company culture spectacular, but it only takes one wrong fit to derail it. One bad attitude or toxic personality can be the failing organ that ruins a perfectly healthy company culture.

Bringing in someone, especially on a high executive level, has to be done with extreme caution and care.

A most important trait
So, I have one guiding idea that I repeat to myself when I think of what makes a good employee. It is my safeguard, because if someone meets this criterion, usually everything else falls into place. I look for people that are dedicated to being master students of what they do, and that aren’t too comfortable as an expert.

I believe that experience is truly a killer of creativity, and so I instead praise the pursuit of wisdom above all else.

We all have experiences; we all have cool places we have worked or things that we have done. But it is the student in all of us that keeps our eyes open, our dreams big and our spirits hungry. It is that constant gathering and compiling of lessons that builds a great team player and leader. I look for someone who can be wrong, admit they don’t know something, ask for help, throw out the book when they need to and not miss a beat.

Be a sponge
Businesses and markets are changing all the time. Hudson is in denim, so we are in conversations about fashion, technology, pop culture, shopping, what’s cool, what feels good, what season it is, who wore it last and things that are evolving by the minute.

We don’t have time to get stuck in our ways. We don’t have time to think we’ve got it all figured out. We have to be students, be sponges, be healthy collaborative parts of a larger body of people that are all working and growing together in a healthy way. ●