Nancy Dubuc, the CEO of A&E Networks (that includes A&E, Lifetime, and History, among others) appreciates the power of a good team.
“I’ve always hired people who are smarter than me,” she says in a recent interview with Adam Bryant at the New York Times. “I rowed crew in college, and I’m always thinking in those terms — will they make the team better?”
But there are a lot of smart people in the world, and there’s more to building a powerhouse team than rounding up a bunch of high IQs and putting them in a room together.
“I’m a big believer in the idea that people tend to fall into one of three camps,” she explains. “You’re either a thinker, a doer, or a feeler.” The secret for success is having the right mix.
“If you have all thinkers, nothing will get done,” she tells Bryant. An all-think team will generate ideas, imagine various scenarios, anticipate problems, and, at the end of the day, begin considering the pros and cons of various dinner options — but alone, they won’t make things happen.
Meanwhile, if you have all doers, Dubuc continues, “that can be really chaotic because you’re not necessarily thinking about the consequences.”
And an all-feeling team comes with problems of its own. “Feelers are important because they create energy” — and remember that, next time you’re inclined to dismiss someone as “too sensitive” — but if you have too many of them, “they will just dramatize the moment,” she says.
Hiring may be an art, not a science — but if it were a science, it might be chemistry. “When you put the different kinds of people together in the right way, that can be very powerful,” Dubuc observes. “You never want that out of balance.”
As for her? “I’m more of a doer. And when I have time, I think,” she says.
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