People with different skill sets are a better match than top talent players

This article is related to what I’ve learned about people (so far) during my professional path. I’ve had the pleasure to join a bunch of different teams. 6+ years of intense freelancing gave me this magic opportunity.

We have our own Dexter Lab @PixelGrade. The perfect mix to empower people and explore creative potential.

On top of that, in the last four years, I was pretty active as a community builder. Not social media manager, ok? These are different things, and I’ve already written my two cents about this hype topic. However, I had the chance to meet people with different backgrounds and skills sets, with a different perspective about the world and different tastes regarding the coffee they like to enjoy every single morning.

I’ve learned a whole lot of stuff about life in general and people in particular.

👩‍👩‍👧 I had a working relationship with all of them — closer or not so — for some months or some years. What I can definitely say is that I’m always surprised about how people react when they’re inside of a tribe. Especially if it’s a creative one.

Being in the right creative tribe you have the chance to step into the spotlight.

People want to be on the scene, not behind the curtains

Even though our day‐to‐day job doesn’t require to be in the spotlight, we want to capture attention in various ways. Some of us feel good when we talk in front of a large audience, others when we’re the first ones who fix a bug or three or four, some when we’re the icebreaker and talk first in a meeting, others when we feel the need to get some extra recognition.

👋 Whatever the case, the behavior is the same. We’re eager to mark our presence in a way that people see, understand, and react. Otherwise, we lack the sense of being there.

It’s part of our nature the dream to have an impact (positive, hopefully) with what we do or what we say.

Top talent achieve a lot but tend to break up faster.

The Universe knows it all, right? When planets align, magic happens and teams become stronger.

Complementary capabilities drive to better results

Working with top talent (or whatever would you define this HR buzzword) is rewarding in the short run. Yes, they can achieve a lot in a tight period, but they also have better chances to break up faster. Why’s that? Well, from what I’ve noticed, the main reason is directly related to their ego. They stumble because of their strong need to prove how smart, innovative, genuine, talented they are. They always want to come first, no matter the context.

On the other hand, creating amazing stuff with people who have different skills and level of experience gives you not only a sense of belonging but also more fuel to get things done in the long run.

🎻 When working with this type of folks, you feel like being part of an orchestra. Everyone works hard enough to be the first violin at some point — which means they give their best to practice a lot and improve their abilities. At the same time, they also take into consideration that they must resonate with the rest of the band. They have their own tempo, but also a collective one.

We are a small crew of people with the same values but with correlative capacities.

Question everything and exercise empathy on a daily basis.

We’re different, and this is great

At PixelGrade, our small crew is made by people with the same core values (at least this is what we preach and wish for), but with correlative capacities as well. Not only as job descriptions — who cares about them? — but mainly as passions, habits, ways of understanding the world and making it a better place.

🎮 We’re different also in terms of expertise. Not only related to WordPress — our main thing these days — but also regarding the professional and personal background. And this is something we’re proud of. It what keeps our wheels spinning, our curiosity flourishing, our ideas improving, our people empowered.

We highly encourage the smart debate, the witty questions, the continuous search for the best possible solution. We settle hard because we try (sometimes we fail) to put our egos at the bottom of the list. As Vlad told me at the very first meeting:

We’re searching for rock stars in terms of delivering brilliant ideas, and fewer VIPs who want to get cheap attention.

A wide range of companies, startups, even NGOs are promoting the need for top talent, or how to retain top talent, or how to attract top talent, or how to search for top talent in different parts of the world.

We don’t say it’s a bad thing or that you should skip this approach. Instead, what we definitely prefer is to keep searching for humble, but audacious people who are eager to jump in the same boat and share everything: from the desire to steadily learn to the go‐ahead attitude of trying bold experiments.

Would love to hear your thoughts (pro and cons) about your experiments in this playground. And hey, be kind and show us some love. 💚

Oana Filip

Oana Filip is a digital storyteller @Pixelgrade and community builder for creative industries. A true believer in the power of making the world a better place.