ENT 600-50_Week 6 Post

As an entrepreneur, there are certain things that I think about or dream about quite often.  I have three main topics that I dream about and imagine quite vividly when it comes to my business.

  1. The day I tell my boss that my business needs my full attention and I have to quit.
  2. What my shop will actually look like.  I can picture the paint colors, the layout, the flow of the shop, the displays, the wood color, and even the smell of the shop.
  3. The day I need to start hiring employees because I cannot keep up with the work myself.

I was happy to read the chapter about the hiring dilemmas in The Founder’s Dilemmas by Naom Wasserman because it is a topic that I think about often and it gave me a lot of insight into what I will need to think about when I start hiring my dream team for my business.  Let’s take a look at some of the hiring dilemmas I might face.

  • You need to evaluate the hiring needs for each stage of the startup and when you will need to replace employees, bring someone on to supervise them, or just replace them with more experienced workers.
  • You need to think about if you should hire a generalist who can adjust to their environment and become a specialist down the road.  Generalists are great at the beginning because they can do many jobs, but later on, you might need a specialist to focus on the main task at hand.  Give some thought to who you hire and if they can transform into what you need in the future or if you will need to replace them.
  • Remember that different stages of the startup will require different compensation plans or packages.  When you are first starting out, you may not be able to pay people a lot so you offer them lower salaries and more equity in the company.  However, once the startup is established, you can offer new employees better salary but you may not want to offer them more equity in the company.  Make sure to develop this plan in the beginning to prevent confusion or tension.
  • Make sure that you think about what you will do with under performing employees who are friends or family.  Founders will hire friends or family to start out because they are easy and make for a comfortable work environment.  This can create the risk of “playing with fire gap”
    • Playing with fire gap– team members who have a prior personal relationships with the founder may be less likely to discuss sensitive issues.  This can lead to facing major damage to the relationship is things in in the startup go sour.  You could be left with no employees and no social circle at all.
  • Look at your company structure and the positions within your company.  Establish a pay structure that is unique to each position or department instead of making the same pay structure for the entire company.  Different jobs and employees respond to different pay structures.  A sales employee is going to work well with a high performance compensation structure because it will help them see how they are doing in their role.  An IT employee is not going to respond well to this pay structure because it does not correspond well with their job duties an objectives.
    • Founders may be hesitant to even begin hiring because they are scared they will hire the wrong person for the role.  But if you link the roles with the right reward structure, the weak or under performing employees will weed themselves out.  If an employee is working in a performance based compensation structure and they lack self confidence, they are not going to perform well in the job.  Therefore, they will not get paid as much and the result will be they leave because they are not making enough.

Now that we have thought about all of the aspects to consider when we are hiring and building our team, lets think about our employees.  Everyone has some great employees, middle of the road employees, and some not so great employees.  Entrepreneurs and business owners give a lot of thought to how they can have an entire team of their great employees and probably life in fear of losing those employees at any given moment.

How to Hire A Players by Eric Herrenkohl gives business owners some great tips and ideas for how you can not only keep the great employees or A-Players, but also how to help improves the middle of the road employees so they can become A-Players as well.  The key is to know where your A-Players fit into the future of your startup and the following are some steps to help you know where they fit and keep them

  • Write down your business goals that you want to achieve.  Give some deep thought to what success in your business looks like and how you want to get there.  Once you have made it, start filling in the roles with your current employees.  When you are done, you will find the following:
    • You have your A-Players that you can write in easily and can put anywhere in the chart and you know they will thrive
    • You will have some employees who could become A-Players if you give them a little coaching and get them up to speed.
    • You will have some employees who can become valuable but more in a specialist role or limited capacity
    • You will also have your C-Players who really should not be in your organization at all.
  • You need to implement the organizational strategy that you created.  You will need objectivity and time do make sure it happens.  In order to be objective, you will need to remove yourself emotionally from your current team to build the team that you need.  Also, make this your priority and cut out time to make sure it happens and does not get pushed to the side.  You can consider hiring a consultant or trusted advisor to help you implement the strategies you have made.
  • A-Players do not wanted to taken advantage of or to be taken for granted.  If they feel this way, this could lead them to walk away from your company.  Make sure your A-Players know where they fit in the future of your business.  Here are so way to do that:
    • Look at your organizational chart again and see where you put your A-Players.  How do you envision them a few years down the road?
    • Meet with each of your A-Players individually and have some ideas about what you have in mind for their future within the company but also ask them what they want for their carer as well.
    • Invite them to talk about what they want to achieve with the company and where they see themselves in the future.  Ask them for their perspective on what is working for the company, where the flaws are, and what would be better.
    • Work to incorporate their feedback into the plans that you have for the company.
    • Commit to solid next steps for making the plans you created into a reality for the company.  This includes givings your A-Players the opportunity to make more money and have more pull in the company.

Top performers can do a lot for a business and help it become successful and reach its full potential.  As a founder, it is your duty to help your top performers feel welcome and want to stay with your company for a long time.

I enjoyed reading both chapters this week and I got a lot of insight into how I want to run my business and help my best employees really shine.  I know I have mentioned it before, but I do not know if I would hire friends or family to work at my company.  I would prefer a heterogeneous team so I refrain from the “Playing with fire gap.”  I know that I am a little far off from hiring any team member for my business but it is nice to start thinking about it now and to have an idea of what I am looking for when that day comes.

As always, I found these chapters interesting and I learned a lot about hiring and how to keep some of my best employees.  I hope you learned something from reading my post.  Leave me a comment below telling me a characteristic you look for (or will) when hiring for your company.

Thank you for stopping by.

Until next time,
Dani

ENT600-50_Week 4 Post

Analyzing the risks and benefits of building a homogeneous team within my company was something that I have actually given a lot of thought over the few years that I have had my business.
A homogeneous team is a group of people or team who come from the same background.  this team might have worked together at the same company or gone to the same college with the same major.

In reading The Founders Dilemmas by Naom Wasserman, I was able to learn and study more about how I would like to build my team when it comes time for me to hire a team.  Some of the benefits of a homogeneous team are:

  • The people that you chose to hire a share a common language with you that will help to encourage communication within the team.
  • Everyone on your team will have a higher level of confidence that you will be able to develop a deep level of trust that is necessary to become an effective founding team.
  • You will already understand each other and you are able to skip over the learning curve that would absorb the energies of the people who have a much more diverse background because they would feel different or like the odd man out.

On the other side of the coin, you have the risks of a homogeneous team which are:

  • Your team will tend to have overlapping human capital because you all have similar backgrounds.  This can make is hard because you will all have the similar strengths and you could be missing out on very crucial skills needed for your startup.
  • Since your team knows each other and you worked together, you may experience a greater chance for conflict when there is a clear division of labor.  It may be hard for you to draw a line with a friend and not have anyone take is personally.
  • Your team will lack diversity and so there is no one to bring an outsiders perspective because they all have the same or similar experiences or thought processes.  This, in turn, could affect the strategic creativity of the group and could drag you down and cause you to lose your competitive edge.
  • When you have a homogeneous team, you lack diversity in your network which could cause you to miss out on potential investors and corporate partners.  Diverse teams are often times more creative and innovative and are able to tap into a wider range of potential employees as well as investors and partners.

I have given a lot of thought to how I will build my team when it comes to bringing more people on.  There are not a lot of people that I know that are from the same major or background as I am except for my husband.  I would want to have a much more diverse team of individuals because I believe that it would help to build a stronger team in the long run.

I do not think that I would select people from my personal circle to help with my startup for a multitude of reasons.  I would not want to put any of my friendships or relationships at risk if things do not work out and someone walks away from the company.  I would also love to see what everyone would bring to the table in means of experiences and networking.  Also, being able to have a break from work is very important and I do not think you are able to do that when you employ friends or family or coworkers.  You might not be able to disengage when you are done for the day.

On the other hand, when looking at the role of founders, if I work with someone who I think would be an A-Player for my company then I am going to try and hire them.  I would want to hire someone that I think would be a great asset to my company, regardless if they are a personal friend of mine or not.  It is my role as a founder to build the best team that I can and find as many A-Players to help build my time.  Some of the roles of founders are:

  • Stop being a control freak and let your A-Players build your business for you.  You hired these workers so you could have time off and be able to enjoy life, trust the team you have built.
  • Stop trying to turn some of your C-Players into A-Players.  If they wanted to be A-Players, they would be doing it.  Instead, focus on finding A-Players to bring to your team.
  • It is time to stop thinking of yourself as a boss and think of yourself as a coach.  Help show your A-Players that you want to help them achieve and do what you can to help them.
  • Recruiting is everyone’s job within the company, the weight does not stand squarely on HR’s shoulders.  You should be encouraging everyone to seek out A-Players and send them to the company for an interview.  Everyone should be a part of the recruiting process, it helps to make everyone feel like they are contributing and are a part of the team.  You can even offer an incentive or reward program.
  • Do not hire people just to fill empty positions.  You are never going to get your team to where you want it to be if that is your mentality.  You should be making every hire a piece of the puzzle that will build your great team.
  • If you are viewing recruiting as a job, you need to stop.  You should view recruiting as a way to gain a competitive advantage.  Build time into your schedule every week for recruiting so it become a habit and you will notice a difference.
  • The team that you start out with in the beginning might not be the team that you need to succeed.  Start working to find your best team as soon as you can.  Once you start building that team, you will notice that things will start happening in your business.

I enjoyed learning about all of these different roles and the benefits and risks when it comes to building a team.  When my business is ready for me to bring more people on, I plan to find A-Players for the core jobs I am looking for.  If those people happen to be people who are close to me, at least I know I am getting someone who is right for the role.
As an example, my friend Erica is amazing at networking and sales.  She can make friends anywhere she goes and she knows so many people because she is a very friendly and outgoing person.  I have told her that if she decides she does not what to study pharmacology anymore, I would hire her as my networking and sales director.  She is driven and also friendly and has a great work ethic and goes above and beyond the call of duty.  While she is a close friend and colleague, she is a someone I view as an A-Player and someone who could really take my company to the next level.

I learned some interesting things while reading this section and I enjoyed it. I hope that you learned something in reading my post. Leave me a comment below telling me your thoughts on homogeneous teams, are they smart or dangerous?

Thank you for stopping by.

Until next time,
Dani