ENT 600-50_Week 5 Post

Imagine you are planning a long road trip across the country with your friends.  You start on your trip and you are so excited.  You have your car packed with everything you are going to need and you have no worries in the world but when someone will need to use the bathroom.  You think that you are all prepared and then you hit some construction and have to detour through the mountains.  You might drive into a pothole and blow a tire in the middle of the Arizona desert.  You could run out of gas somewhere near Amarillo and have to walk 3 miles.  You and your friends could argue over who gets to control the radio through Colorado.

Starting a business is a lot like a road trip with your friends.  You are going to run into snags along the way and have to figure them out as you go.  The construction you hit is like having to reformat your business plan because that idea exists already.  That pothole is missing out on funding because you would not give up control.  The gas you ran out of is someone walking away from the startup because they are not ready to quit their job.  And that radio argument is you and the other founders deciding who gets the title of CEO.  You are going to face a lot of dilemmas when founding a business, including role dilemmas. Let’s take a look at the role dilemmas that Naom Wasserman talks about in The Founder’s Dilemmas

  • Avoiding Conflict–  Founding teams will often times try to avoid conflict by naming multiple people as key decision makers in the beginning.  This causes a problem because then everyone needs to agree on company decisions and this is not ideal for split second decisions and can cost the startup dearly because everyone must agree.  It can also cause conflict further down the road which can endanger the future of the startup.
  • Understanding “Title Inertia”The founding team should decide who is going to be the best initial CEO and understand that “inertial tendencies” will make this hard to change in the future.  If the person that is selected cannot keep up with the demands of the job or another founder proves that they are the better fit down the road, it is going to be very hard to convince the CEO to change once they have been crowned.  Most CEOs are hesitant and reluctant to give up their status and power which can cause tension.  The idea person is usually the best choice to become CEO because of their passion and vision, but the founding team should assess if they would be a better fit in a different role that requires those traits.
  • Inflating Titles– The dangers of inertia also apply to non-CEO founders who take on C-level titles in the beginning.  Once the business has grown much bigger, many of those founders might not fit or be best suited for their roles anymore.  However, replacing or demoting them could cause tension and disruption.  In order to prevent this future tension, teams should weigh the pros and cons of each person before assigning those titles.
  • Wanting Allies on Board– When the board of directors if being formed or changed, founder/CEOs will often want to have allies on the board with them and they often select co founders to join them.  But having more than one founder can have long term costs that outweigh the benefit.  If you have more than one founder on the board, it can cause role confusion within the executive team, hinder board discussions, and cause even more challenges for the CEO.
  • Ignoring Incompatible Motivations  A founder’s motivations can have a profound effect on role tensions within the team.  If you have two founders who are control motivated people, they both want to be “king” and this will lead to many conflicts throughout the life of the business.  However, if two founders are “rich” motivated, they are focused on the wealth aspect of the business and have the same goal in mind.  These two founders can work together to achieve that goal because they will not be competing.  If you have a “king” motivated founder and a “rich” motivated founder, they will balance each other out and be able to achieve their goals together.  Before founding together, potential co founders should assess each others motivations to see if they will run into potential conflicts.

Now that we have worked through all of the issues that we are going to face when founding our startup and giving our founders the right titles and proper positions, we can think about who to hire and where to find them.

I do not know if I have talked about the book How to Hire A Players by Eric Herrenkohl but if you took a look at my copy, you would see a book that is full of highlights and bent corners.  I really like how Herrenkohl encourages you to think out of the box when you are looking for potential new employees and how to find the best employees for your startup.  The following are the different places he encourages you to look to find people with the skills you are looking for:

  • Look for highly skilled women who are reentering the workforce after taking time off to raise their children.  If you can off them flexible hours that they want and need, they can bring a lot of talent to your company.
  • If you business is in the sales industry, you want to look to hire former waiters and waitresses.  They know how to up-sell and they are good at working on the fly.  Expand your network to include this talent pool and hire the highest performers that you find.
  • Teachers have strong people skills, communication skills, are organized, and are often underpaid.  Look for ways to utilize them during the summer months and provide them with the flexibility they will need during the school year.  Some of these teachers may even end up leaving the teaching world and work for you full time.
  • Starbucks and other national retailers spend a lot of time training their staff so they are highly skilled.  You are interviewing them every time you interact with a barista, even if it is just for a minute.  Establish a connect with the ones that really leave a lasting impression on your and over time, they may end up being one of your star employees.
  • Building relationships with professors and other university influencers can help even small companies attract top talent.  These connections can help you connect with students who fit into your A-Player profile.
  • Designing an internship program can help your company find A-Player talent.  Set up some clear goals and objectives for your program and make sure to create great experiences for your interns.  This will generate positive word of mouth and quality referrals for next years students seeking internships.

I would have never thought about looking in some of these places for employees.  I was a waitress for 3 years and I would have never thought of myself as a “salesperson.”  After looking at some of the options, I think that I would love to hire a few former wait staff and implement an internship program.  Having interns for certain roles could bring you a lot of A-Players and insight into what younger people are looking for (if that is your target demographic) and what is new in the world of social media.

I enjoyed reading about the role dilemmas because it was something that I never gave a lot of thought to because I always pictures myself just running my shop by myself but if I want it to be as large as I plan, I am probably going to need some help.  Knowing what role dilemmas I could face in the future will help me to prepare for them before I run into them.  Also, thinking outside the box to find A-Players will help me to get a jump start on getting the best farm team I can and getting the right people into the right position.

I learned some interesting things while reading these sections and I enjoyed it. I hope that you learned something in reading my post. Leave me a comment below telling me some unconventional places where you would look for A-Players.

Thank you for stopping by.

Until next time,
Dani

15 thoughts on “ENT 600-50_Week 5 Post

  1. Mark Fox

    Hi Dani,

    I appreciate that you included adding women with children to the workforce. Our company is made up primarily of women and to a large degree, women with children. I think this is an under utilized workforce (which certainly benefits us). In many cases, I have also created tailored positions for flexible part time to allow them the opportunity to work around their childcare schedules. While not every mom is the right hire, I find we are better able to retain employees when we work with them as much as possible.

    Like

    1. Dani Shirey

      Hey Mark,

      Thanks for leaving a comment on my post. I think that women are a very under utilized and have a lot to offer in certain job markets. I would love to hire mothers when I open my shop because I think they will be a great addition to the company and they can answer questions about using my products on babies that I cannot since I don’t have any kids yet.

      I agree with you about working with the employee as much as possible because when an employee feels appreciated and like they belong, they are going to work harder and could end up being an A-Player for your company.

      Thanks again, Mark.

      Warm regards,
      Dani

      Like

  2. Kari

    I find it intriguing how you compared a long road trip with friends to issues that may arise while starting a business. Like you, I believe it’s very important to try to identify potential road blocks that may happen in the business, during the planning stages. Once potential road blocks are determined, much consideration to solutions must be taken.

    Like

    1. Dani Shirey

      Hey Kari,

      Thank you for reading my blog and engaging in the conversation. I actually had a completely different opening for my blog but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it is like a road trip. You never know what the road ahead might hold and no matter how much you prepare, something can still surprise you.
      I think what is important is being prepared for anything but also not falling apart when something unexpected happens. Face your problems head on and do your best to plan for any missteps along the way.

      Have a wonderful weekend.

      Warm Regards,
      Dani

      Like

  3. Tyler L Sytsma

    Hello Dani,

    You analogy of the road trip of unexpected occurrences was spot on, well done. I would like to think that I would be able to keep my friends who I have chosen to let into my company in line, but I wouldn’t want to have to cross that line in case it wasn’t working out. Especially if they had become financially dependent on my startup.

    When you were going into the potential mistake of assigning people into executive roles too quickly, you made me think of some of the examples in the reading where the founders were boyfriend/girlfriend or family where you needed to have clear roles defined, and contingency plans in place in case the work arrangement starts to go south.

    I like your embrace of bringing in interns (hopefully paid interns) and helping to cultivate the A-Players you want in your company. I’ll have to give that some consideration for my own potential venture…

    Like

    1. Dani Shirey

      Hi Tyler,

      Thank you for the comment. I have thought about asking my mother and sister to be a part of my company since they are in the name “Gypsy Women Soap Co.” (The 3 of us make the Gypsy Women) but in the nicest way, I do not know if I could work with my sister. I have worked for my mother before but I have never worked with my sister and I worry how that would turn out unless I gave her the job of the face of the company.

      I love the idea of having interns and I would absolutely pay them. I actually interned for my parents my last year of my undergrad and I loved it. My mother and father taught me a lot about running a business from both side of it. I learned a lot and my university made sure I was actually working and not just getting coffee or making copies. Interns can bring so much to the table because they are the consumers at this moment and can tell you what they are looking for in your industry.

      I hope you have a great weekend Tyler.

      Warm Regards,
      Dani

      Like

  4. Marhynes

    The beginning was awesome!!
    The comparison of a road trip with friends to a startup was right on target. I must say I never thought of it that way, but on so many levels the unexpected things that happen in a road trip is just like starting business like you stated. I also didn’t think about how roles can change, giving someone the CEO position and then later down the line realizing that, that individual is not fit for the job anymore must be difficult. People do tend to get comfortable in high power positions and it becomes hard for them to understand that a new individual is needed at a different time in the business, that will also bring different resources. The bullet points really broke down the text very well. Awesome Post!!

    Morghyn

    Like

    1. Dani Shirey

      Hey Morghyn,

      Thank you for the comment. I did not intend to start my opening that way but the more I thought about it, it made a lot of sense and I had fun writing it. I had run into jobs where it was a good fit at first but then down the road, once the role evolves and changes, that person does not quite meet the needs of the job anymore. You do not always have to let them go, perhaps you can find different job that fits their skill set better.

      Thank you very much for stopping by Morghyn. I hope you have a great weekend.

      Warm Regards,
      Dani

      Like

  5. jsaavedra0014

    Dani,

    I enjoyed your analogy of a business to a road trip. It think definitely captures all the possible things that can and sometimes will go wrong. I think the key to be able to handle these and other dilemmas is simply becoming familiar with these issues in order to not be caught off guard when facing them. With regards to your comments on How To Hire A-Players, I too, was surprised to hear about the pools of employees Herrenkohl identifies in teachers, waiters, and single moms.It made me think a lot about how I could make a few changes to my business plan to be able to tap into these pools of talent. It was nice reading your post Dani.

    -Jose

    Like

    1. Dani Shirey

      Hi Jose,

      Thank you for engaging in my blog. I agree with you about becoming familiar with the issues you might face during the lifetime of your startup. I believe that it can make you a mode dynamic and stronger entrepreneur when you are aware of what you might face because then you can face it with composure. You do not want to hit some turbulence along the way and lose your cool and have your team think you cannot handle the stress that a startup brings.

      I fully intend on tapping into as many possible networks as I can that would be a good addition to my company. Single mothers can work flexible hours and can provide some insight into how my products work with baby skin. Interns can provide feedback on what consumers are looking for right now and some of the newest ways college students are getting their news and shopping.

      Thank you again for stopping by. Have a great weekend.

      Warm Regards,
      Dani

      Like

  6. exwalton1

    Dani,
    I loved the imagery you used at he beginning of this post. Very attention grabbing and accurate. Have not had any entrepreneurial experience but as far as road trip experience the friends along for the journey can be the determining factor for success.
    I agree Eric Herrenkohl leads his readers to think outside of the box. It was a very interesting chapter on characteristics of A-Players like teachers and their long list of contacts and connections or single mothers needing flexible hours when returning to work.
    I enjoyed reading your post!
    Essence

    Like

    1. Dani Shirey

      Hi Essence,

      Thank you for you comment. I have been on some road trips that hit some bumps along the way but they are some of the greatest memories I have ever made. My husband and I went on a road trip when we first started dating, 2,000 miles, 9 days, 6 states, 6 towns, and a million great memories. It was not the easiest trip and we hit some problems but we still loved it and I think it made our relationship stronger.

      I intend to reach out to as many different types of workers as possible when I am hiring for my business. The different skills that they can bring to your company are endless.

      Thank you again for stopping by. Have a great weekend.

      Warm Regards,
      Dani

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Merida

    Dani,

    You did a bang-up job explaining the common pitfalls and possible areas to overcome challenges with your story/outline of a road trip. This made me think of my business plans (and of traveling by car with great friends!). I think you idea that you can learn to overcome issues as they arise with hiring the right people that have the right skills was spot on! I also read about the Aplayers that can be found for some companies in offering flexibility and stability to single parents, new moms, and teachers. I plan to think this one through a bit more in the coming classes. I also thought to add more incentives to help bring in top talent, besides initial compensation.

    The one area I think I could add to my plans would be to bring in doulas in training to attend births with another certified mother’s hand. Or provide a training program to aspiring doulas.

    Well done!
    Merida

    Like

  8. projectideaevolution

    I am always excited to come here and read your blog posts! I love how you intertwine life lessons into your writing! The most unconventional place I looked for an A-player was on the other side of my desk when I had my own business. I chose one of our customers to be the office manager and I never had any regrets,

    Like

  9. Tanaya D. Jackson

    I really liked the analogy at the beginning of your post. The unknowns that come about when taking a road trip are a welcomed part of the journey. I believe that this thought process is very common as it pertains to a start-up business as well. You cannot prepare for everything, however, having great decision-making strategies in place for conflicts that arise make the difference.

    Great read!

    Best,
    Tanaya D. Jackson

    Like

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