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Can you get good people to work with you?

It's all very well being very good at what you do. But will the people you work with have an influence on the success of your career?


Conventionally this kind of article would start with, "Never work with children or animals" and I see no reason to do otherwise. The rest of that quote is, "...because however good you are, they will get all the praise." Actually I made that last bit up, but that's the point of what WC Fields originally said.

So you might consider whether you would want to work with people who are extremely good at what they do. They might overshadow you and you will never receive any attention for what you do. Or you could choose to work with mediocre people so that you are always the light that shines out.

That is a tricky decision and it amounts to the 'big fish in a small pond vs. small fish in a big pond' conundrum. Which would you rather be?

I have no doubt whatsoever that it is more satisfying to work with good people. But is it more career-enhancing?

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But let's say that your career hasn't got off the ground yet. Let's say that you are at music college, learning the tricks of your trade. All around you will be people you could work with - musicians, other engineers and producers, perhaps filmmakers or animators even.

Career-wise, you are all on the same level so the size of the pond is irrelevant. But what you will find is that if you choose good people as your collaborators, the piece of work you will collectively produce will be much more impressive than if you choose mediocre people in the hope that your contribution will seem more impressive.

Now this is where the trick is...

Some people seem to have the knack of getting good people to work for them. So if you had this knack, you would be able to invent a project and get good people to work with you on it. The end-product would be impressive, and you would take a large share of the credit.

But how do you get good people to work with you? Surely there is a lot of competition for their services?

Well there might be, but in general people who are good at what they do are motivated by working on interesting projects. So if you can dream up an interesting project, there is every chance that talented, capable people will want to work with you on it. The end product will turn out impressive and will hopefully help to get your career off to a fantastic start.

By David Mellor Thursday January 20, 2011