Microsoft founder Bill Gates says: “The best thing you can do for your competitors is to hire badly.”
NinetyOne founder Hendrik du Toit’s hiring by Investec in the 1990’s is the stuff of corporate legend and you will hear different versions of it on the podcast. Suffice to say it took a while and the founders of the bank knew they wanted him, and only him, to start their asset management business. They persisted for an extended period of time and even made concessions to duToit a hotshot young analyst at the time as they knew he was the person most likely to build a successful business from scratch.
“Always hire people better than yourself,” has become a trendy statement for CEO’s to show their magnanimity and inclusive management styles. Few actually have the courage to do it. I first heard the statement made by venture capitalist Michael Jordaan while he was building FNB into what would become named as the most innovative bank in the world in 2012. He sought to hire specialists in their field knowing it made sense to hire the very best talent and accepting it was his job to orchestrate their actions to ensure he got the best possible team result.
NinetyOne has a very particular culture in the world of asset management. Most of its fund managers have an extended track record within the company because they are incentivised for long-term performance.
There is an obsession with the internal culture which prioritises collaboration and client satisfaction,. du Toit is adamant that the business will grow only organically rather than by trying to short cut the process via acquisition. Global data shows that most acquisitions fail to match up to their lofty expectations and the internal dislocation they cause far outweighs any benefits they might have brought.
Catch Episode 2 of the Genius Podcast series and learn more about why you need to be precise about who you bring into the team, knowing when to decline a candidate, and why that matters.