May 31, 2011 by Joyce Richman · Comments Off
Harold did it again. He hired the wrong person and is in a world of hurt.
Harold’s a businessman who describes himself as street smart, strategy savvy, and a sap when it comes to hiring.
First it was his financial advisor. Harold was ecstatic, he couldn’t believe his luck. He found a creative accountant who doubled as a visionary. At last, someone who agreed with his spending habits and encouraged him to spend even more. This financial wizard could see the importance of building for the future. Together they drew the blueprints of a business that could go global in the time it took to write the checks.
Harold didn’t buy luxury cars or condos on exotic shores just to be frivolous. These were first class expenses and Harold was a first class guy. Harold wasn’t sure where the money was coming from, but his financial advisor said, “Don’t worry, leave it to me. ” So, he did.
When the creditors started calling, Harold told them, “I don’t handle that, my numbers man does”. And referred them straight-away. But the creditors didn’t go away.
When the IRS came calling and Harold said, “I don’t handle that, my numbers man does”, the financial advisor went away. In the middle of the night, with what remained of petty cash and a pair of new wing-tipped shoes. Justifiably worn only on business occasions.
Harold recovered. Ever honest, he paid the creditors and got square with the government and took his hard learned lesson to heart: Don’t hire a financial advisor who agrees with everything you say and goes you one better. Harold took a course in accounting, learned how to read profit and loss statements, and hired a CPA with a sharp pencil who knew how to say “no”.
Harold, rebounding and reinvigorated, realized that his time management was out of balance, and sought the assistance of administrative support. He hired a sweet young thing who was anxious to learn from such an astute businessman. He taught her everything he knew, from the best brands of coffee to the best brains in the business. The more she learned, the smarter she got, the more she could handle, the more he gave to her. They had no secrets. He trusted her absolutely. And why wouldn’t he? Everything she was she owed to him. Right up to the day that she joined his arch rival along with his client list and business plans for the next five years.
Harold was debilitated, demoralized, devastated. His faith was shaken, his confidence destroyed.
Ever resolute, that scrappy Harold was back a few days later and hired a temp. “I’ve learned my lesson”, he proclaimed. “I trusted too quickly and assumed too much. From now on, I’ll watch my back and protect my flanks. I’ll go to work like I’d go to war.” The temp took notes, parked her gum and left for lunch.
Harold was ready for the last hire he’d need. He wanted an office manager to handle the business, the books, and the temp, so Harold could do what he does best: set the strategy, find the clients and make the money. He interviewed from far and wide. He knew to avoid reamers, dreamers, and schemers. But what to look for? He needed someone who would listen and learn and take charge.
Harold hired Hank. Hank was a strapping fellow, a nice enough guy, who took orders like a soldier and saluted Harold like he was Old Glory. Harold thought Hank was the greatest. “At last, someone who is honest and true. Someone who will do as he’s told and nothing more.” It was the “nothing more” part that was the tip off.
Hank was great at taking orders but didn’t know what to do after he got them. He’d dash off to a job, only to return moments later not sure what the job was. He was earnest and good but couldn’t find his way from one end of the office to the other.
Harold, you’ve done it again.
Your insistence on seeing the forest from your tree is driving your small business into the ground.
Lesson #1: You aren’t supposed to have all the answers. Your job is to find the people who do.
Lesson #2: Hire people whose skills and strengths are complementary to yours. You’ll get more done that way.
Lesson #3: Hire staff that can assume authority and responsibility, relieving you of the day to day.
Lesson #4: Grow your business in equal parts: if you are all front end, no one is backing you up, delivering product, providing service.
Lesson #5: Hire by asking questions and listening to the answers. Probe for deliverables based on their history, not your fantasy.
Lesson #6: Check out their track record. If they weren’t part of the solution, they are going to be a big part of your problem.
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Yes! You may use this article by Executive and Career Coach, Joyce Richman, in your blog, article in your blog, newsletter or website as long as you include the following bio box:
Joyce Richman (www.richmanresources.com) has been specializing in executive and career coaching since she started her own practice in 1982. She works in a variety of environments including: higher education, manufacturing, sales, marketing, media, technology, pharmaceuticals, medicine, banking and finance, service, IT, and non-profit sectors. A member of the adjunct faculty at the Center for Creative Leadership, Joyce is certified to administer a number of feedback and psychological instruments. Joyce is a weekly guest on WFMY-TV and the career columnist for The Greensboro News & Record. She is the author of Roads, Routes and Ruts: A Guidebook to Career Success and co-author of Getting Your Kid Out of the House and Into a Job. A popular speaker, Richman conducts seminars and workshops throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Her coaching profile can be found at TheCoachingAssociation.com.