Do you ever have a problem hiring the right people?
This short blog explains some important steps I learned to take in my business that helped me create a successful business that ran well whether I showed up or not. It’s how I began my autopilot dream by hiring the right people.
Although I had several years of management experience and outstanding training from a Fortune 500 that I was a manager for, when I bought my last business, I did not perform the proper due diligence on the human capital I invested in. It was a nightmare, to say the least. I would have been better off not investing in the business and starting from nothing.
I learned how important culture was and wanted it desperately. What was so gut-wrenching for me was that our values were so vastly different. I learned quickly that I needed to be surrounded by people with similar ideals of what was good and desirable and what was not. I did not want clones of me, I just wanted people that were better than me in many areas, and that I could trust to do the right things without me micromanaging them and respect. I kept one “key employee” around way too long afraid that if this individual was bringing in a sizable percentage of business and that we would tank without him. Once I made the decision to end this person’s employment, it was the best thing that happened to the business and to everyone else in the organization. It allowed for the creation of an outstanding culture based on ability, trust, and respect. Our sales doubled within a year of escorting this individual out of our business. I am here to tell you that even ‘one bad apple spoils the barrel’.
Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great uses the analogy of you as a business owner are the bus driver. It is your responsibility to have the right people on the bus. He mentions hiring “disciplined people who engage in disciplined thought, and who take disciplined action”. He even suggests that you do not need to figure out where to drive the bus (your company) until you have the right people on the bus. He says you first need to figure out “Who” and then you can figure out the “What”. For example, who will oversee strategy, technology…. Ask who would be the right person for this role? First is the who, then the what!
5 Steps towards the Autopilot Dream
- Understand what your company values are. Take your time to figure them out with your team and write them down.
- Get the right people on the bus based on your company values and the right talent for the seat (the position). Create a disciplined and systematic process for hiring the right people. Take classes, read articles, books blogs etc. to improve your hiring skills and take this responsibility very seriously. This rigorous process of placing the right ads, interviewing, and checking backgrounds and references etc. will not be easy. Once you have a clearly defined job description outlining the major responsibilities and understand the values you want in an individual, in addition to the necessary capabilities for the seat you are looking to fill, hire based upon them and perform employee reviews based upon them. If one of your values, for example, is to exceed customer expectations, ask questions in your interview that would help you to understand how customer-driven they are and how well they will fit into your culture. If you’re not sure if they belong on the bus, don’t hire them. As challenging as this may be – especially when you or someone else is overworked, wait until you have found the right person to get on your bus. Once they are hired, you can mentor them and review them on how their actions do or do not reflect this company value. I have learned that the adage “hire slow and fire fast” is good advice.
- Get the right people in the right seats. After they have been given proper training and ample time to settle in, it is time to ask are they the right people for the bus? Could they be the right person for the bus but in the wrong seat? Some talented employees love the company but just do not like the role they are in. If they fit into your culture, have the desire, and have the capability to fill another open seat, try them out in the other seat. The goal is to have all the key seats on the bus filled with the right people.
- Kindly let the wrong people off the bus. Do not waste any more time trying to save the person. Remember, “hire slow and fire fast”. Overall, it is best for the employee as well as the company. Be kind and respectful in escorting them off the bus and hopefully you will continue to be friends afterward. Review what you learned from the hire that could be helpful for you in the future.
- Develop your people so they can eventually sit in larger seats. Plan for your employee’s growth, development, and increased responsibilities.
Once you have the right people doing the right things right, you have taken a huge step in creating a business that runs with or without you.