Finding Great Staff vs Creating Great Staff
The same question applies for your team members – are they found or made?
Can you turn lead into gold?
Can you turn a seed into a productive plant?
Or do you have to buy them ready-made?
Again this depends on your industry and your patience, but it’s worth looking at your top talents an auditing how they came to join your team.
Can you afford to hire great people, or will you have to create them?
And in both cases, where do you go to look for more?
What Does The Customer Think They’re Buying?
An offhand comment turned into an impromptu market survey, as one person mentioned their idea for a roadside assistance service for PNG.
She gave a high level description of the idea, then we immediately went to the group for their feedback. It was a resounding “Yes!” from most people, and a tentative yes from others. What was interesting though was their rationale – some told stories about breaking down at night in dangerous areas and calling their relatives for assistance, others spoke about their friends who had run into harm when a road accident occurred, and some mentioned that they would buy memberships for other women in their family.
The fascinating theme here was that nobody was worried about their car.
Every story was about the driver needing to get themselves out of the area, with no real thought for the vehicle.
They saw this service as a personal security on call (who just so happened to know how to fix cars).
That means you can sell to two large markets – people with cars, and people who don’t have cars but who go out at night.
Good, Better, Best
We had a guest speaker, the CEO of Brian Bell (a beloved PNG department store).
He mentioned the brand’s philosophy, which he described as “Good, Better, Best”.
For every customer need, they would stock a product that was good and cheap, a product that was better and a little costlier, and a product that was premium in both quality and price.
This may be a good strategy for many businesses – can you implement these tiers to capture a broader range of customers with varying budgets?
As I’ve previously mentioned, there are huge parallels between the worlds of professional sports and startup recruitment.
Talent has options, good people seek out great cultures, and a business never has real control over the movements of its top performers.
Some entrepreneurs see this as a huge risk, e.g. “If I train them, they might leave…”.
The obvious retort is the old “what if you don’t train them and they stay?”, but the other question is; why can’t you become a destination for other top talent?
Yes you’ll have good people leave every now and then, but how might you attract other high performers to join your team?
This takes a deliberate effort, but it’s worth becoming an “employer of choice”.
Leadership Is Not Fixed
We talked about the ramifications of having staff members leave the business in response to the founder and their leadership.
This is often a scarring experience for all involved, but especially for founders who are looking to expand again – will the same thing happen again?
I love the self-awareness behind this question, but self-awareness can quickly turn into unhealthy insecurities.
Your leadership is not a fixed object, it is something that can evolve and improve over time…with deliberate effort.
As they say, it’s only a loss if you don’t learn from it – otherwise it’s a lesson.
A Good Plan vs My Plan
Your advisors can make suggestions and propose new goals, but there’s a difference between “A good plan” and “MY plan”.
That difference is buy-in, a commitment to put skin in the game and the decision to embrace these goals as your own.
That’s why we focus on asking great question instead of providing our own answers, so that every founder commits to their own plan.
I won’t hold you to my expectations and timelines, but I’ll certainly hold you to yours.
Isaac Jeffries is a Senior Consultant for TDi, helping social entrepreneurs to grow their business and become financially sustainable. This article was originally posted on his personal blog which you can find here.