“One way or another, I’m gonna find ya
I’m gonna get ya, get ya, get ya, get ya
One way or another, I’m gonna win ya”


Poach And Play:
Here’s Why This Hiring “Strategy”
Is Just An Exercise In Wasting Money.


Ya gotta love Blondie. Brash, bold and tells it like it is – real and with an edge.

She’ll get what she wants. The question is, will you?

If you’re thinking a Poach and Play strategy is the key to hire transformational talent the answer is a big, fat “No”.   Why? Because it’s a loser’s strategy.

Nobody, and I mean NOBODY I have ever known or worked with has ever been successful long term trying to “outbid” or “buy” the right kind of talent that will take their business to the next level of success.

“The problem with the race to
the bottom is that you might win.”

Seth Godin
American Author, Entrepreneur And Business Executive

Internet guru and internationally acclaimed marketing expert Seth Godin has written 19 best-selling books on a wide range of topics about marketing, strategy and sound business practices. Rather than rely on a dodgy poach and play approach that doesn’t work, he suggests a simple alternative:

“The race to the top makes more sense to me. The race to the top is
focused on design and respect and dignity and guts and innovation
and sustainability and yes, generosity when it might be easier to be selfish.
It’s also risky, filled with 
difficult technical and emotional hurdles, and
requires patience and effort and insight. The race to the top is the
long-term path with the desirable outcome.”

Bingo and bada-bing.

Sounds simple and makes sense, right? Yet most small business almost always go this route which is usually just a roadmap to failure. If you’re like most business owners and leaders, you may think you offer the greatest compensation package known to mankind. Big salary, lots of benefits, substantial commissions and bonuses. You name it.

But I have bad news for you: you don’t. Consider this for a second: The American Automobile Association released a report not long ago that showed more than 73% of US drivers believe they are better drivers than most. Men especially (no surprise there.)

If you drive around Houston, you’re probably laughing hysterically. Especially if you’ve been on Grand Parkway lately. Houston is the most deadly major metro area in the nation for drivers, passengers and people in their path, according to a Houston Chronicle analysis of 16 years of federal highway data. As you can see, just like this example, a poach and pay strategy may sound good, but perception is NOT reality.

Let’s Get Real And Not Kid Ourselves: Forget Poach & Play

In highly competitive markets, especially those employing highly skilled workers, companies routinely experience a revolving door of the same list of usual suspects: hired guns and new blood that rolls into town. It turns into a high-stakes auction of bidding the highest to get the best. The big problem with this is that those hired guns aren’t loyal. Period. They’ll jump ship for the next hot offer of gold at the end of the rainbow. They won’t last long and soon you’ll be back where you started. Except for the boatload of your money they took out the door. And the big job still undone.

Here’s Why It Doesn’t Work Most Of The Time.

The Poach & Play thing “can” work. But rarely. Here’s why:

  • There’s only one winner: he who pays the most (probably not you)
  • You won’t get loyalty; just opportunists who leave sooner than later
  • It’s not sustainable financially
  • You can disrupt the culture, alienate loyal folks and actually lose ground

Like Blondie says, one way or another you gotta get what you need. Just not this way.

In the coming blogs, we’ll be talking about other ineffective strategies and how to build a long-term, multi-pronged recruiting strategy for your small business.

Until then, keep in time, stay in tune and make your business rock!



Corey Harlock
Principal Consultant

Make Your Business Rock!



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