To put this into action, talk with your leadership team about 2-3 "dream hires." Then put a plan in place to reach out to them. Even if people rebuff your advances, you will learn what makes A-players think about switching employers. Then you can consider making these changes to attract top talent.
If creating a team of A-players is a priority for you, you have to embrace the fact that recruiting is everyone's job - not just HR's. Over the long run, the best team wins in business. Creating a brand that attracts A-players does not have to be expensive, but it takes both time and attention. Let people know the advantages that your company offers as a place to work. Figure out how you can leverage your current marketing and sales activities to do double-duty as recruiting programs. Get the word out about your A-Player profile. And put the pieces in place to create a brand that attracts A-players.
Eric Herrenkohl is the author of the upcoming book How to Hire A-Players: Finding the Top People for Your Team - Even if You Don't Have a Recruiting Department. You can find free resources for creating a team of A-players at his website www.herrenkohlconsulting.com.
*Editor's Note: This is a great use for LinkedIn.com. Don't know who these mutual friends are? LinkedIn.com will show you who your connections are "linked" to and one of the services of the site allow you to request that person arrange an introduction with the person you are targeting.