Nine years back I hired a sales leader with a face like a European James Bond who had a great pedigree, dressed Zegna impeccably and had lots of years scaling startups. He talked a good game, like Jay-Z at the mic. Everyone was hyped up, excited by him. But the results were like aliens: They never came.
It was clear in five months that he was out of his element. Most elements. Whatever success he had before, he could not repeat. He was like my old Doberman Zeus, not able to learn much, or go beyond what he had done before. Sorry, Zeus.
If he was only open to take in the data and facts on the ground, learn, and find a working model, he would be OK. He couldn?t change?so, unlike Zeus, he was Schwarzeneggered.
Running my firms gives me an up-to-the-minute grad leadership course ? and the grading is winning or bankruptcy. Some of my greatest teachers are moments like that one: I hired peeps who had past accolades, but were harder to lead to new wins. They made me a lot smarter about running my startups. I learned to ask precise questions upfront and am far more exhaustive in my investigations prior to hire.
Put Them In The Battle.?Some of the best questions for potential hires invent scenarios and ask how they would handle them. If you were to lead people in a new area, what would be the steps to find the best people and handle your attack? What would be your plan to do it in under one month? What would your hiring model be? What would your training model be?
Perfect Recall.?Another set of questions asks them about their previous scenarios to see if what is said rings true. Tell me about a?time when you led a group of people and you failed. Why? What would you have done differently? Who can I talk to on the team to validate this? Tell me about a time you led a group and thought you would fail, but you changed strategy and won. Who can validate this? How would you rank yourself in terms of contributions against the team from your last three companies? ?Watch body language and look for inconsistencies in the stories. And remember to talk to people on their former teams above and below them so your draft picks prove winners.
A Country Of Contributors. It?s usually the entrepreneur who ?does the 1,100-pound deadlifts in the beginning. But to scale, you need to find others with the same or near amount of ripped muscle?and brainpower?so you can get results through them. This is how to best lead, and manage. Find smart, motivated, effective team members with a good heart who are loyal and want to contribute to growing your business.?It?s your most important job. ?Your bench must be second to none to keep the party going.
Walk The Talk, Don?t Be A Punk. Connect the dots so you have a zone and culture where people are pumped about coming to work and can produce their?best results. The last thing you want is someone saying ?You have such a positive culture,? but your P & L shows losses.
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