Anytime you create a brand-new role in your company and you bring in someone, two things can happen: (1) they completely crush it and you never want to see them leave, or (2) you let them go because it was a complete disaster.
Here’s the thing: when you create a brand-new role, you don’t know what you need until you start, until you get moving, and until you start doing it day to day and figuring stuff out. You actually don’t really know what it is that you need. Hence, there are two paths in front of you. First is the path where everything goes to hell. That’s a path most entrepreneurs find themselves on. But then there’s this other path, the path where it does all work out. You set things up, and they just seem to work out. And it’s amazing.
You might ask, “How come, when I create a new role and I hire a new person, it’s just not working out?” How can you set yourself up to have more opportunities for making it work? First, you got to get comfortable knowing that you don’t really know how this is going to work. If you blindly walk in with confidence, thinking, “I’ve got all this stuff figured out. I know everything ahead of me, and this is how it’s going to work,” you don’t leave yourself open for changes, for tweaks, for partnering with the person coming into the role to make it happen. You are setting yourself up (especially the person you’re hiring) for failure.
If you have super-high expectations that they are going to come in and you are just going to hand them the roughest things and they are somehow going to figure it out the way that you would figure it out, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Here’s the thing: if they could do what you would do, they wouldn’t come and work for you.
Gary Vaynerchuck’s dad used to say, “If they could do what you could do, they wouldn’t be working for you.” You can’t put these expectations that they’re just going to come in and figure everything out. You need to put a ton of time and a ton of effort into building that relationship, teaching them, and making it work. You have to lead with intentions. When you look to hire a partner, you admit that you don’t have all the answers. Then when you bring this person in, work really hard on figuring it out together. Put yourself in the position where you are working to set them up for success. That way, they can drive tons of value for your company. This is what it takes to set people up for success.
Imagine just dropping someone in a role, saying, “Go,” and then later getting mad when things aren’t working out. That takes tons of time, effort, and energy. You’re going to think, “If I’m busy doing this, and I’m busy helping them, who’s going to do my job? Who’s gonna do my stuff?”
The best hires are when I bring on someone who is better than me at their given task. I work with them to figure out how to make them fit, and I empower them to drive the most value that they can. When I listen to what they have to say and help shape the company and their role around them, that’s when I’ve seen really dramatic gains in my business. When I’ve gone the other way, when I bring someone in but I kind of limit their scope of work or what I expect of them because we’re not quite clicking or not quite on the same page, it’s tough. It’s tough to have that partnership mentality.
The reality is that, as entrepreneurs, we tend to mess up the first person that we hire in a given role (or even the second one). We mess up because we don’t give it the time. We don’t make it a partnership. We don’t think about those types of things. We don’t really know what we’re looking for. We bring someone on, and they don’t succeed. That’s happened to me a lot. However, there are also people who have been with me for six years, eight years, nine years, and they’re the first person that I hired in that role.
When you create a new role and you are bringing that first person on, the very best thing you can do is work at creating a process. I don’t think entrepreneurs should sit down and create their own standard operating procedures all the time. I don’t think that entrepreneurs should control things so much that they tell everyone what to do at every single step in every single way. However, I also don’t think that people can be left on their own, that they can just figure it out on their own and somehow create the processes the way you need them to. The best thing that you can do is to work with this new employee in this new role. Help them figure out the bumps in the road, but hold them accountable for creating the processes, for writing the processes, for knowing what they do and how they do it.
Putting pen to paper takes a lot of time. It takes lots of effort to create standard operating procedures, or how things are going to work. Sometimes it’s just faster for you to bang it out. I did one with Steve. I literally listed out for Steve and the other people on my team for my Mark Drager content what I wanted a standard operating procedure to be, and it took me 10 minutes to list it out. However, It had tons of holes. I didn’t tell them what day of the week I wanted things done or how many days after the first thing the next step would happen. I just wrote the steps that I wanted to take place. I told Steve what I was thinking, but it was up to him to make the process actually work. He filled in all the details and told me what was working and what wasn’t.
That’s what it’s about. You give them enough time and attention to make sure they’re set up for success. However, you tell them to poke holes in the process, to figure out how to make things more efficient, and to write the process. That way, you don’t have to. When you do these things, six months to a year later, either you get an amazing employee who is going to be with you for a long time because they’re one of those unicorns that just worked out, or you realize six months later you may have hired the wrong person because you didn’t know what you want.
But at the very least, you get written processes out of this. You get an understanding of how long things take with that person. You get an understanding of how things worked under them. That becomes the new groundwork for the second hire or for the third hire, however many people it takes to be able to figure out what is wrong. If you’re at the 10th person, what’s wrong is you.