The Battle-Hardened, Brightness And Brilliant Work Approach

Imagine that you are about to build a team. You will have your own view about the qualities you will look for in the potential team-members.

This section explores one approach. It is to hire people who are battle-hardened yet still hungry, who exude brightness – such as positivity – and who are able to deliver brilliant work. Let explore these themes.


Several years ago I worked with a leader who had been given the authority to build a new team. They began by hiring three people who would shape the culture.

When doing so, they brought in people who were battle-hardened. Such people were experienced and knew how to make things work. They were also still hungry.

The leader recruited one person they had worked with for many years. But they did not fall for the romantic idea of ‘bringing the band back together’.

They took a more realistic approach. Whilst they rated some previous colleagues, many were now at a different stage of life and had different agendas.

They wanted people who were happy to put in the required commitment. This highlighted another quality they looked for in people.


The leader recruited battle-hardened people who still exuded brightness – positivity. They would act as shapers and beacons for others in the company.

Such people had learned from experiences. They knew how to be positive models and create a positive environment. They also knew how to find solutions to challenges.

These people had retained their brightness and hunger rather than had become dulled. They were more likely to spread these feelings to other people in the company.

Brilliant Work

The leader made sure these people had the ability to do brilliant work in certain activities. Whilst it was important such people were positive, they also needed to deliver the goods.

Bearing in mind their own strengths as a leader, they needed people who had complementary skills. They started by hiring a coordinator they had worked with in several companies. The coordinator had the following skills. They were able:

To make clear contracts with the leader about the outcomes to be delivered;

To coordinate people’s strengths to deliver these outcomes;

To encourage people in the company to focus on continuous improvement.

The leader also hired people who could lead superb teams across the company. Some of these leaders were specialists, however, whose strengths lay in particular activities. They needed help in running their teams.

Such people were therefore given the option of hiring people with complementary skills. This ensured that the teams were able to do superb work and deliver the goods.

Let’s return to your own life and work. Looking to the future, can you think of a situation where you may want to follow elements of the battle-hardened, brightness and brilliance approach?

You may want to focus on these themes when working as an individual in your professional role. For example, what are the specific activities where you display these qualities? How can you pursue these activities more in the future?

You may want to focus on these themes when building or rebuilding a team. How can you reward, retain or recruit people who demonstrate these qualities? What will be the benefits of taking these steps?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to complete the following sentences.

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