Who You Surround Yourself with Will Define How Successful You Are 

November 29, 2022

Matt Gainsford

Matt Gainsford

How do you predict who is going to make it through SEAL training? How do you predict a top performer, and perhaps, more deeply and thought provokingly, who do I want on my team; who’s going to make the difference? 

Spoiler alert, it’s not the person/people you would immediately think of.


In 2020 Simon Sinek (made famous for Find Your Why) was recorded talking about the kind of people that make it through Navy SEALs training; the elite of the elite, the best of the best, the people who reach the apex of performance. What he had to say was surprising and immediately applicable to the world of hiring and talent strategy. 

Before we get into answering those questions let’s take a look at the world of hiring, post pandemic, and let’s start in a place that is maybe a little unexpected. 

The service industry has been one of the hardest hit, and slowest to recover. Zoom out a little and you may see that what’s going on is echoed across every industry, and in every role; why it’s so hard to find good people and beyond that predict how they are going to perform. 

Restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores; there are jobs out there but finding people to work them is a huge challenge. Why?! 

  • One, people want to do what they are passionate about. 
  • Two, there are people out there who think they deserve more (this is not job specific and happens at all levels) 
  • Three, these jobs are hard, for multiple reasons. Some might say they are jobs not careers, that they are transactional. Whether true or not It doesn’t mean these positions are any less needed. 

Jobs in the service industry require grit and tenacity to continue them in a long-term. You might have the smartest, strongest, and most capable people in these positions, but if they lack resilience and awareness of those around them, they won’t last. 

In a world where we are told that we need to look after ourselves first when the oxygen mask drops, we can often forget the section that says, “and then help the person next to you”.  

These same principles apply in any role. That’s where the term “Right Seats, Right People” comes in. This term applies to more than skill, ability, and achievement. It also encompasses value alignment, behavior, and motivation.  

We often talk about A-Players looking for opportunities that offer impact.  

True A-Players don’t just know how to perform, they also know how to get the best out of those around them. 

So how do you find them? What are some of the questions you need to ask to uncover the gold? 

Interview Questions 

  • What are would you consider your greatest achievement, personally or professionally? 
  • What made this achievement so special to you? 
  • Who was the biggest hurdle, and how did you overcome the situation? 
  • Who helped you the most? 
  • Was there anyone who proved to be an obstacle, and how did you handle them? 
  • What changes would you have made to help you achieve your goal more quickly? 

If they can point to how those around them supported their achievement and if they can expand on how they treated people along the way (especially how they handled difficult people and situations) then you’ll quickly know what kind of candidate you are connecting with. 

In tough times the people you want on your team are the ones who are going to support and serve those around them; the ones who have vision for the wider goal and the bigger picture. 

It’s one thing to ask people to do extra, another for someone to feel obliged to do so, but someone who is inspired and does it from a place of vision/desire, that’s life changing. 

At Titus we utilize the Predictive Index to help us understand behavior and how a candidate is going to approach what they do from a relational standpoint. The philosophy that we use, Head, Heart, Briefcase, encompasses an approach that looks at every angle. How you achieve results and impact the people around is much bigger than the results themselves. 

Oh, and if you’re interested, here is that Simon Sinek clip, we couldn’t wrap this blog up without sharing that with you (along with some additional resources). 


More than recruiters, Titus Talent Strategies are a team of Talent Optimizers who genuinely care about the work we do. We empower companies to put the right people in the right seats through informed, connected strategies that combine data with an empathetic understanding of what makes people tick. We recognize that our partners are investing in us and that results mean more than just people placed in a role. It’s about impact and connection.  


Refreshing perspectives and practical expertise from the Titus team.

Talent Strategies

Committed To Radical Generosity

Our dedication to radical generosity keeps us focused on what matters most, and it allows us to make a trusted and lasting impact on the world around us. It’s the foundation of our culture and our partnerships.

Read More