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- Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt on why you should hire the divas: “Steve Jobs was a diva”
Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt on why you should hire the divas: “Steve Jobs was a diva”
“If you read any management textbook, it says ‘don’t hire the divas’ because they’re nothing but a pain in the ass. And by the way, they are. But the people who are the divas—who believe—are the ones who will drive the culture and company to excellence. Steve Jobs was a diva. I worked with Bill Joy who was my colleague for many years—he’s an example of a diva. And I mean this in the most flattering way: they expect a lot, they drive people hard, they’re controversial, and they care passionately. If you find those people, you’re probably going to work for one so be nice to them.”
However, Eric does not mean that you should tolerate arrogant jerks at your company.
In his book How Google Works, he uses use the terms “divas” and “knaves” to distinguish between who you should tolerate and who you shouldn’t:
“Knavish behavior is a product of low integrity; diva-ish behavior is one of high exceptionalism. Knaves prioritize the individual over the team; divas think they are better than the team, but want success equally for both. Knaves need to be dealt with as quickly as possible. But as long as their contributions match their outlandish egos, divas should be tolerated and even protected. Great people are often unusual and difficult, and some of those quirks can be quite off-putting. Since culture is about social norms and divas refuse to be normal, cultural factors can conspire to sweep out the divas along with the knaves. As long as people can figure out any way to work with the divas, and the divas’ achievements outweigh the collateral damage caused by their diva ways, you should fight for them. They will pay off your investment by doing interesting things.”
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