Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and the Bulls have won six world championships. Michael Phelps has been awarded more gold medals than any other Olympic athlete in the history of the Olympics. George Strait has more #1 singles than any other musical artist. All of these people have similar characteristics. The question is what are they? What does it take to be the best in your profession?

The other night I was doing some channel surfing and came across CMT. Carrie Underwood’s song “Blown Away” was playing, and in the bottom left hand corner by her name there was the #1. At that moment I just stared at the #1 with a circle going around it and thought to myself “There she goes again!” How does she do it?

I am the sales recruiter for Dell. I recruit talent every day and I am always looking for the best of the best. I am looking for the game changers. I am always intrigued by people who strive to be #1. These people are not easy to find and they are even harder to attract. I have found that the people that can be part of this “Top Gun” academy have the following attributes:

  1. Have a selfless attitude. Some people are egomaniacs, but the true winners are the ones who are team players. Some people will achieve the #1 status, but without putting others around you first and empowering your team, it won’t last. I think of Barry Bonds and how he broke the Home Run record, but his steroid reputation ruined him. The Bulls were a true team. Michael was a great player, but he needed his supporting cast to get those championships.
  2. Be a survivor. You have to be willing to get knocked down a little bit. I am envious of the people who stay with the same company for an extended period of time. There have undoubtedly been challenges along the way, but those who stay despite obstacles have only become stronger. One reason it is hard to recruit a game changer is because they are loyal. George Brett of the KC Royals and Craig Biggio of the Houston Astros never played for another team throughout their career. As a recruiter, that is very admirable and sought after.
  3. Love what you do. I have never seen someone have continued success doing something that they hate doing. If you enjoy sales, you have the potential to be great but if you hate it, it will never happen. Carrie Underwood has a great voice, but you can tell she is having fun and she loves being on stage.
  4. Have a burning desire to win. They are competitive by nature. I watched the Olympics this year and I just knew even before the race started that Michael Phelps was going to win. When I recruit sales people, I can recognize winners. Winners see challenges as opportunities and have an attitude that they will succeed despite opposition.
  5. Know your strengths and weaknesses. George Strait can sing. He has a likeable personality. That being said, his songs are simple, he hardly ever plays the guitar and doesn’t even write his own lyrics. George Strait has 60 #1 singles. That is more than Elvis. There is a reason his songs are simple and he hasn’t continued his acting career. Find your niche and make the most out of it!