As one of the founders of a company that is entering it’s 4th year, I’ve had the unanticipated pleasure of attracting talent that is excellent. I mean, the caliber of people are super. Frankly, they’re better at my job than I am at my job. Jeff Stewart from Lenddo passed on some wisdom that I guess is “standard knowledge” of the start-up world – a CEO’s job is to replace himself, constantly. I’ve felt strongly that in the past year this has happened at D&T, and some top-talent hires have gone better than others. So here’s a few things I’ve learned along the way.
Here’s a few DO’s/DON’T’s for start-ups
1.) Be Ready! Make sure you have everything ready for that person, a week before he/she needs it. No matter how talented, there’s always a ramp-up period whereby it’s important for this all-star has access to you and to their management team.
2.) Inform your people! Make sure your team knows that this person is awesome, and a much-valued team-member that will make huge/dramatic changes and improvements to the company. Living nebulous is dangerous for the new person, as the organization chart will shift drastically, especially in start-ups.
3.) Celebrate! Make sure you buy yourself a beer for building a business that attracts top-talent. That’s a mark of success – attracting capable people to business.
1.) Don’t compete! You, as the owner/lateral manager/legacy employee do not need to compete against the newbie. In my first hires, I felt like I was competing against the guy who was replacing me from my former duties. Moreover, I was steamrolling the person and just creating more havoc and work for everyone. Plus, I undermined the newbie’s authority. Painful less learned.
2.) Don’t take credit! You already are good at what you’re doing. Do those new responsibilities that you’re assigned to do well, and don’t take credit for the success of those below/lateral/above to you.
3.) Don’t get fired! This is a bit facetious, as a co-founder it’s pretty much impossible to be fired by a subordinate. But the figurative meaning is that you don’t just rest on your laurels, and gradually cede all responsibility/authority to those around you. Effectively kicking back, and letting others do the big work. You have important work to do, and the newbie was hired so you can do more of it, not less.
These are just some quick tips. Hopefully y’all feel they’re helpful. I’d love to hear back from the community and add to the list, so please feel free to comment!