“You can’t create something special, distinctive, and compelling in the marketplace unless you build something special, distinctive, and compelling in the workplace.” – Bill Taylor
As a Superhero owner, you’ve decided to put customers first. But not even Superman can be everywhere at once. The obvious answer is to hire an amazing team to deliver a Superhero experience when you’re in a meeting, with another customer, or simply taking a well-deserved vacation. Unfortunately, many business owners fail to build a Superhero team. As a result, they can’t effectively grow their business, and their quality of life suffers as well.
If you take nothing else from this article, remember this: your business will be as good as your team.
A Superhero Team can give you a Superhero Business. A mediocre team will give you a mediocre business.
So the question becomes, “How do I build a Superhero Team?”
One way to answer this question is by talking about what NOT to do. Here are the three most common mistakes I’ve seen in my years of work with small business owners:
Mistake #1: They hire cheap
“A” players cost a lot…sometimes as much as two of their peers. This may take the form of money, traditional benefits, or other non-standard benefits such as flexible work hours, working from home, more time off, etc. Here’s the thing: they’re completely worth it. In this case, quality trumps quantity. If you’re a Superhero Business, you need the best you can find. The people who have a great attitude, fit with your company’s core values, and are great at what they do. Yes, they cost more. But your customers will value the difference, and so will you. Remember, you’re a professional enterprise. Model yourself after the great professional sports teams, and hire the very best.
Mistake #2: They hire fast
Oftentimes, owners are so desperate for help that they jump at the first qualified candidate. They end up with mediocre role players instead of Superheroes, which means the owners end up doing the heavy lifting. When you find them, superhero team members will ramp up faster, perform better, and contribute more to the business than you thought possible. But building a heroic team requires two things from you: discipline and patience. It also requires a hiring plan and an interviewing process. At the very least, write down the characteristics of your perfect candidate, particularly in terms of attitude and values…and keep looking until you find them. And when you do, make sure they are a great long-term fit.
Mistake #3: They hire with no references
How many people can come up with 10 references? How many people can name 3 references who were their supervisors? Could you? References help take the risk out of the hiring process. Many owners, however, don’t check references. Many don’t even ask for them. Then they are shocked when they discover their new employee has “issues”. And it’s back to the drawing board. For entry level positions, ask for 3 references. For more seasoned roles, 5 is better. For senior leadership roles, ask for 10 references with at least 3 from supervisors and 3 from direct reports. And then call every single one of them, and talk for 30 minutes about the candidate. It’s amazing what you’ll learn.
To your success,