Hiring the right talent is never easy, but Mike Sarraille and George Randle highlight three common mistakes in their new book The Talent War: How Special Operations and Great Organizations Win on Talent. Too many companies lack a talent mindset, do not connect hiring decisions to their strategic plan, and rely on fear-based hiring. So how can companies win on talent? It all starts with adopting a talent-based mindset, which is the core belief that human capital is the only thing that helps you maintain your advantage. Then, connect each hiring decision to your company’s strategic plan. Finally, make the shift to potential-based hiring, focusing on your talent’s character and mindset rather than qualifications or experience.

Key points:

  • Companies need a talent-based mindset, a strategic plan, and potential-based hiring.
  • A talent mindset is the deep belief that your human capital is the only thing that will allow you to maintain an advantage over time.
  • Your strategic plan should give specific success indicators to guide every decision, including talent acquisition.
  • Potential-based hiring highlights subjective qualities like character and mindset rather than objective standards like qualifications or experience


  • “Human capital is a subset of leadership”
  • “Special operations has five core truths, and each of those revolves around people.”
  • “Technology is great, but technology will fail. What you can’t have fail within your organization is people.”
  • “Leadership is more important than industry experience.”
  • “You can be outdated very, very quickly, in any industry. It’s your people that give the competitive edge.”

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