Who You Work With: The Choice is Yours

Ask any entrepreneur and they’ll tell you — the number one challenge business owners encounter is dealing with people… specifically the wrong people.

When running a small business, with high demands, limited resources and tight deadlines, it’s easy to act fast and hire someone before truly assessing their fit. Even more, it can be really hard to take the time to break the cycle.

However, this habit can lead to a lot of pain. It did for me, at least. The wrong hire can lead to a break down in morale, processes and in your ability to grow your business. Additionally, as an entrepreneur, you want so badly to unleash that person’s potential… to “fix” it… to trust that it will get better through your guidance. But, ultimately, more energy and cost is typically wasted than it’s ever worth. 

Now, let’s talk about the right hire – the other side of the coin.  The blessing with getting to choose who you work with is that you can surround yourself with some pretty incredible people who push you to be a better leader, to take your business to the next level, and who bring a new sense of passion about what you first started, making it easier to stay inspired.

So, how do you build a team of employees who you really want to have on your side day-in and day-out?

  1. Hire Slowly
    Remember that there is no work desperate enough to get done that requires you to make an immediate decision.  What might feel like the easy, most efficient move in the moment, could actually lead to some snags later on, requiring you to go through the hiring and training process all over again. Take the time to know it’s really right.
  2. Fire Quickly
    On the opposite note, don’t take your time waiting for someone on your team to “get better.” Note the red flags early, nip them in the bud by confronting the issues right away, and (as hard as it is) let the employee go as soon as you see the problem continuing — especially after honest conversations have already taken place.
  3. Get Multiple Perspectives
    Remember that, as a business owner, you’re not regularly dealing with the nitty gritty details of the tasks at hand like the rest of your team is. Let multiple team members, who will be working directly with the potential hire, bring their own insight and needs into the hiring process. In addition, multiple perspectives can’t hurt in the decision-making process, helping to ensure that the hire is a right fit in terms of both culture and experience.
  4. Test Actual Work
    Don’t be afraid to ask the candidate to spend a day with your team, working on a couple of real-life assignments. This will allow you and your team members the chance to assess his or her skill set, adaptability, listening and comprehension abilities, and cultural fitness to ensure it’s where you want them to be. This will also offer the candidate the opportunity to experience the company environment and workload to confirm it’s a fit for them too before signing on.
  5. Look for Potential
    Remember that passion, drive and cultural fitness can sometimes be more important than a candidate’s perceived skill set.  While his or her experience and abilities are, one way or another, going to make or break their opportunity to land the job, ultimately it’s up to you to see a candidate’s true potential. So, if your gut is telling you that someone is right for the job in spite of his or her on-paper experience, ask yourself – are they teachable? Are they willing to learn and have a proven track record of learning fast? Do they have passion for the work? Do they make you feel inspired?  Do they think strategically, in a detailed manner, or whatever qualities you’re looking for in the job?

At the end of the day, this is about unleashing the potential of your business and your team which makes it. Life is too short to not work with a great team, so choose wisely. How do you work to surround yourself with team members that inspire you? 

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