Finding Great People: Cleaners, Closers and Coolers

As an investor and employer, I’ve learned the hard way to exclusively work with highly resourceful problem solvers is the way to go. Great employees seem to make the company better and make their manager’s life easier every day. Until now, I didn’t have a language to refer to those people.

The book, Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable was recommended to me last month. The author, Tim Grover, was athletic trainer for Michael Jordan and other NBA greats.

Tim describes three types of people:

  • Coolers are good (they’ll do what they’re told; solid teammates)
  • Closers are great (they’re the ones you call to take the last shot)
  • Cleaners are unstoppable (they’re the relentless ones who are closers every time — even when no one is watching)

Cleaners move mountains. They raise the game of everyone around them. They care about the results and will put in the work to be great.

Cleaners are described in many different ways. Another is Paul Graham’s description of Relentlessly Resourceful startup founders.

The challenge as a manager or investor is finding those people and doing everything you can to work with them.

Michael Girdley