Neil’s talked previously on this blog about how to hack hiring new employees and one of the things he mentioned was “knowing the quirks of your team” before going on to list the “quirks of the boss”.
As someone who has been on both sides of the fence many times, as both entrepreneur / employer and employee / talent, and now as someone who works with our fast growing client companies and advise them, I thought it might be useful to look at the quirks a boss – especially an entrepreneur new boss in a fast growing company – may need to know about when hiring.
1. Regularly Communicate Your “Commander’s Intent” – Weekly At Least
I first heard Secret Millionaire Gill Fielding talk about the Commander’s Intent at her annual presentation for the Worthing & Adur Chamber of Commerce and thought it was a great way to enable employees to make great decisions in the absence of the boss.
From Wikipedia: The Commander’s Intent is an intent describing military focused operations and it is a publicly stated description of the end-state as it relates to forces (entities, people) and terrain, the purpose of the operation, and key tasks to accomplish. It is developed by a small group, e.g. staff, and a commander. Commander’s Intent (CSI) plays a central role in military decision making and planning. CSI acts as a basis for staffs and subordinates to develop their own plans and orders to transform thought into action, while maintaining the overall intention of their commander. The commander’s intent links the mission and concept of operations. It describes the end state and key tasks that, along with the mission, are the basis for subordinates’ initiative. Commanders may also use the commander’s intent to explain a broader purpose beyond that of the mission statement. The mission and the commander’s intent must be understood two echelons down. (U.S Army 2003, para.4-27) Read More on Wikipedia>>>
2. Figure Out How You Are Going To Let Me Know How I’m Doing (And Vice Versa)
Are we going to have weekly assessments, monthly assessments, quarterly assessments? Will they be by email, skype, phone or in person? Will I be able to feedback to you too? Work out how you want things to go in these meetings. An effective simple format is:
- What Went Right This Week?
- What Went Wrong This Week?
- How Did That Make Us Feel?
- What Are We Going To Change Now?
3. Pay Me Well & On Time (& Don’t Let Your Finance Director Dick Me About
I wanted to put this as Number Uno but felt that it might be a bit of a negative start! However, in the eyes of your employee it’s pretty much up there at number one on their list!
As your talent/employee I may have bought into your Vision and your Mission, but I’m principally here to get paid. If I wanted to work for free, I’d be starting my own business or lying on a beach somewhere.
If I have to spend one single MINUTE thinking about whether I’m going to get paid, when I’m going to get paid, whether I’m going to pay my bills on time, those are thoughts that are doing a lot of damage to the trust between us, my relationship with you and your company, and those are precious minutes that I’m not working in your business to make you more money.
I know, as an entrepreneur myself, it’s tough to meet payroll sometime but your employees are depending on you for this. If you know you are not going to meet payroll, tell us in plenty of time – don’t leave it till that morning.
And don’t let your Finance Director score points with you by improving your cashflow at my expense – that just sucks.
4. I’m Always Doing My Best…
In the absence of a good system! Read The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber immediately if you haven’t already.
If I screw up it’s probably because I’m winging it because you haven’t specifically told me how you want things done. Entrepreneurs aren’t known for being great at creating systems, how do do things is all in your heads, but mindmaps is a good start and then turning the mindmap into a list and starting to use something like Basecamp to map out the steps in each process. Or make a video of how you do things, send it to the Philippines to get transcribed and then turned into a ticklist.
Then when we make changes to any process, I can document that from there.
5. Know My Personal Motivation Triggers & Keep Up To Date With Those
Not everyone is primarily motivated by money, some are more motivated by the social aspect of business, some by recognition, some by the sense of accomplishment, the pleasure of a job well done. Take a couple of minutes to get to know what REALLY motivates me and keep up to date with that as life changes can change your motivation.
A great book for you to read here is “The E-Myth Manager” as it covers all this very well and also gives some great ideas on how best to recruit in the first place.
One idea is to encourage your employees to keep an Amazon Wishlist, with items of varying value on it, then if you want to say thank you for a job well done, you can just order something and surprise them.
6. Encourage Me To Think Of Your Business As My Business
Having said above that not everyone is motivated by money, a great way to get everyone, from the cleaner upwards, focused on your profit margins, is to put aside a percentage of your profits to pay a bonus to everyone in the company, perhaps proportionate to our salaries, perhaps not.
A second percentage of your profits should be set aside to reward the “rain-makers” the people who either enhance sales or bring in new business. These bonuses should be paid quarterly and profits progress communicated monthly. Transparency around overheads, salaries, bonuses, turnover and profits encourages trust.
If you are a limited company your accounts are going to be made public eventually, why not share them with us now so we can all see how we are doing?
7. Never Make It Personal
Just like when you are talking to your wife and kids, you should never make it personal. If I do something wrong or you want me to change my behaviour, tell me about the effect my behaviour had on you or your business, and how you feel about that, then tell me how you want me to change my behaviour.
Never use words like “you are….” Or “you always…..” becauese that makes it personal, I feel attacked and I’ll either defend, attack or withdraw. If I then choose to carry on doing that thing, it’s time to get rid of me as I’m making a choice, having been informed clearly.
8. Tell Me The Truth Always Even If It’s Bad News
Even tiny white lies or lies of omission have a detrimental effect on the trust between us. If you lie about the little things, I’ll think you will lie about the big things.
9. Respect The Fact That I Have A Life
Perhaps one of the reasons I’m not busily building my own business is that I’ve made a lifestyle choice, which you are now benefiting from! I’ve chosen to get a life and that’s why I’m working for you rather than being entrepreneurial.
While I’m happy to talk to my boss out of office hours if necessary, don’t expect me to talk to the clients, unless you are away, there’s a HUGE emergency, or we have pre-agreed it. And that should be in the format I’m most comfortable with, not necessarily how the clients would like it.
A client calling me – your employee – at 9pm on a Friday or Saturday night might just interrupt a row or worse, a party, and I might feel compelled to answer when I really, really shouldn’t!
10. Confirm Everything In Writing
This shows respect and that you are good for your word. It’s all about trust again. You can always re-negotiate and re-confirm if things change.
Entrepreneurs and employees are very different animals, both making lifestyle choices and sacrifices for what is important to them. This can be a symbiotic relationship, working for both, but only if both species understand each other and communicate their needs and desired outcomes to each other clearly.
At ROARlocal.com we have committed to be open and honest in all our inter-company communications and we are always looking to do better. Why not share your experiences of being a boss OR an employee using the comments area there? We would love to read them!