Old soccer adage: "Better to build a system around your players, than fit your players into your system".

Superpowers are super

When hiring people, the most important thing to look for are their "superpowers". This does not mean they should be able to become invisible, or walk through walls. It means they need to have some skills to an unusually high degree; which means that they are likely to perform well in certain situations.

Now, whilst we could argue that everyone has something they're good at, in fact relatively few people have really relevant skills to an exceptionally high level, which makes them stand out. Lots of people are very smart, that in itself doesn't count (it's what you do with it). But there are a small number of people who have some truly special qualities. They may have an unbelievable work ethic. They may have a great ability to discern the wheat from the chaff, the noise from the signal. They may be outstanding learners or adapters to different environments. They may be exceptional can-do'ers. They may simply be someone that everyone seems to like.

These are all superpowers. Not many people you know have even one of these skills to 9/10 level or higher. Very few have more than one.

When hiring people, the most important thing is to seek these out. How to do so is another post - this is a great guide - but this is what you should look for. I think they mention this in the excellent "How Google Works" by Eric Schmidt. The point is that the world, the environment, the situation, are always changing. The best performers over time are those designed to succeed. Not necessarily those with the skills you need today; but those able to thrive whatever you end up needing. Hence, as a first principle, you want to surround yourself by "excellent people", who are amazing at some of these (and other) things. Such a group will perform come what may. If you find someone special - they are rare - hire them. Find them a role. You'll be grateful you did.

Finding yours

Now for the fun bit - what about you? Basically, to develop into Superman, you need to do three things:

1) Recognise and enhance your existing powers

2) Recognise and ameliorate your existing weaknesses

3) Unearth and develop additional powers.

A key point here is to remember to play to your strengths. A common error is seeing someone who is excellent at something - have their own superpower - and trying to emulate that. But of course, you can't. If you are hard-working, organized and productive, there is no point trying to become the world's best people person, because the guy that sits next to you is. He is building his brand on his strength; and you should build your brand on yours. It's amazing how many people don't consciously know what their best game is, and focus on that.

Once we've agreed on that - take the trouble to consider your strengths and weaknesses. List your main strengths and main weaknesses, so that you are consciously aware of them.

Now develop

The nuance now is self-development. By reading a lot, listening to lots of podcasts, etc, you will come across hacks that are relevant to you, and enhance your superpowers. If you're very disciplined, it may be ways to use your discipline to create a better fitness regime; or a better work regime. Basically you are looking for enhancements that utilise the talents you already have. This will also apply to new talents - you'll find a hack or a process which is attractive, but not necessarily related to something you've listed. Take it on, experiment with it. Pretty soon you'll find that your performance is getting better and better. Now, the same goes for the negatives. Get conscious of them; and start looking for ways to make up for them, reducing their impact. The compounding effect of enhancing your strengths and limiting your weaknesses will make you more and more powerful over time.

This is an important concept - taking both strengths and weaknesses into your consciousness, and then consciously working to improve on both sides. This is really the secret to ending up a sort of superhuman, and the tangible results will follow.

This can apply to sport, relationships, anything you want. Enhance strengths, control weaknesses, deliberately and with a plan. Compounding does the rest. YOU TOO CAN BE SUPERMAN.