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

Oana Filip

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

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