Today we feature Cameron Herold as a special guest on the Beyond A Million Podcast hosted by Brad Weimert.
In this episode of Beyond A Million, Cameron Herold discusses how to hire for hyper-growth. We hope you enjoy this week’s episode.
In This Conversation We Discuss:
- What chain of events set Cameron up to be an entrepreneur
- How do you make a business model evolve and adapt to the needs of changing times
- The main traits of the different company roles and how they interact with each other
- How to set up a proper recruiting system
- How to find your A-Players to add to your staff
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We are at W Santiago after three weeks on the road together, which is crazy. It was an awesome adventure. We’ve known each other for many years now or something like that.
Where did we meet?
We met at the Genius Network. A little background, I know you through the lens of operations. I’ll let you give some color to this. You helped build College Pro Painters and also 1-800-GOT-JUNK. At GOT-JUNK, you jumped in when they were at $2 million in revenue and took them to $100-plus million. If you could fill in a little bit of the story on that. Both are super interesting businesses.
I’ll give you the two-minute helicopter tour of what got me to where I am. I was groomed as an entrepreneur. My father was an entrepreneur. Both sets of grandparents were entrepreneurs. We were groomed, my brother and sister and I, to be entrepreneurs. We have pretty much all run our own companies for the last many years. It’s all we ever knew. We were always told having a job would be a bad idea. Being in control of your time was what entrepreneurship was about, and the money would follow. That was the set-up that we had.
I had my first real company when I was 21. I had twelve full-time employees when I was 21 years old. I ran that business for three years and then joined the head office of a company called College Pro Painters, which went on to become the largest house painting company in the world. I was in the top 30 people of the 800-person company. Every year, there were about 30 of us that had to go out and hire 800 franchisees.
We had four months to do that. Those 800 had to hire 8,000 painters in four weeks. In the next four months, we did $64 million in revenue. On September 1st, 8,800 kids quit and went back to school. The 30 of us got drunk. On September 2nd, we started again and I did that for four years. That was where I learned my operational chops. It was how you hire 8,800 people in a year and do it four years in a row. There are not a lot of companies on the planet that have done that.
That was where I learned operations. I left there and I was a partner in a franchising group called Boyd Autobody. In the US it’s called Gerber Auto Collision. We grew that to be the largest collision repair chain in the world. It’s now, but a $9 million market cap publicly traded company. I did that for four and a half years. I left there and was hired as the President of a private currency company. We built that up. We had 900 employees there. I sold that company in March of 2000, right at the crash of the stock market. We sold for $64 million. By the time we were able to get out, three months later, the stock had completely crashed.
With NASDAQ going down by 8%, we got out for $3 million instead of $64 million. I did what everybody would do at that point when you’ve lost everything. You become a garbage man. I joined my best friend, Brian, and I went in for three months to coach him on how to grow what was then the Rubbish Boys. It was becoming 1-800-GOT-JUNK, and I joined them as the 14th employee.
When I left six and a half years later, we had 3,100 employees system-wide. We went from $2 million to $106 million in revenue. We were ranked as the number two company in all of Canada to work for. We were twice ranked number one in British Columbia to work for. We had no debt. We gave up no equity. We were profitable every single year and we were operating in four countries in 330 cities.
For doing that, I started getting asked to do a lot of speaking events. I’ve now been paid to speak in 26 countries. You witnessed to be paid on my seventh continent. I got to speak in Antarctica as well. I’ve spoken all over the world. I’ve done about 800 paid speaking events. I’ve written five books. Now, I run an organization called the COO Alliance, where there are no entrepreneurs allowed to join. It’s only their second in command. I have a Second In Command Podcast where we never interviewed the CEO. We only interviewed the COO and that’s my gig.
The only thing that I did not know there was I forgot about the $64 million exit that went down to $3 million. It was very painful and crazy. We could dig into the seventeen different paths based on those 46 bullets you gave me, but what I didn’t know was your backdrop in growing up in an entrepreneurial family and being groomed through that, which is interesting because I also know your sister. It’s very clear that it runs in the blood, in some way. She’s very sharp, very dialed, and very on top of things.
It was every conversation that I recall mostly with my dad and my grandparents but every discussion was an entrepreneurial attack. Whether it was my grandmother saying, “Get out of the cottage. Go sell something.” I’m eight. My grandmother helped me go up to Bridge Night at the clubhouse at the cottage. I’d take drink orders from all these 75-year-old women and then run to the corner store a quarter mile away, come back, and sell them to them. I was charging them $1 per soda and getting them for $0.25 at the store. She helped me get that little business going. That’s not a normal thing to do with a ten-year-old kid.
Every discussion we ever had growing up, all of the grooming that we had, my dad would make us stand up and tell stories in front of my brother and sister, and he’d give us three items, a champagne glass, a camera, and a boardroom table. We would have to tell a story standing up. It made us think on our feet. It gave us the confidence to speak in front of others. We had to engage and be engaging. Those are all entrepreneurial skills. That was my life.
Also, it reminds me of something. We got to the last city we were in. We go to a pizza shop and get pizza. I was like, “What have you got to drink?” I’m looking in his fridge. There’s broken English. We don’t speak Spanish at all. He’s like, “Coca-Cola or water?” I was like, “No.” He is like, “Cerveza or Coke light?” He started listing other things. I was like, “Yes, that.” We go sit out on the sidewalk and he disappears.
He 100% ran to the store next door and bought whatever we wanted. To some people, that would piss them off. When I saw that, I thought, “You solved the problem that I had, which was I didn’t like what was in your fridge. I’m more than happy to give you an extra dollar or two if you’ll go get me the thing that I want.”
I was groomed with that from a very young age. I saw the exact same thing happen when I was thirteen years old at Prince Edward Island in Canada. We were at a restaurant. My dad ordered a baked potato with his lobster. He didn’t have any sour cream, and the waiter ran to the corner store. My dad has told me that story probably ten times since about the waiter going to buy sour cream and bringing it back. I’ve learned that hustle and solve the problem and have ingenuity, or whatever. That’s not a normal employee skill. I didn’t know that world.
I was going to say it’s not a normal human trait, but I think that it once was. I’m concerned that maybe we’ve conditioned it out of people. Maybe our educational system or society conditions it out of people as we try to structure things.
Do you know who I heard say something about that? It was Joe Rogan. On one of his podcasts, he said, “Hard times produce hard men. Hard men produce soft times. Soft times produce soft men. Soft men produce hard times.” We’re at that stage now where we’ve become soft and because of that, we’re creating the next era, the next 40 to 50 years of hard times that we’re going to go through.
If you think back to our grandparents, they were hard men. They worked hard to give their kids a better life. My dad was given a better life and my dad didn’t want to have to work as hard as his dad. He wanted a better life. He wanted to give his kids a better life so he gave us a softer life. That’s what we’re going through. We were thankfully not completely raised soft because we were shown to be entrepreneurs, but he also showed us how being an entrepreneur would allow us to have all our free time. I took thirteen weeks of vacation. That’s a little bit of a soft life. My grandfather never would have taken a thirteen weeks vacation but he retired at 55.
My grandpa was hard as F. He was a World War II tool and die maker and firefighter. There is no question about it.
Those were his hobbies. My grandfather liked all that stuff exactly the same. We’re in that era now, especially entrepreneurs. We were talking about this in the trip that I think society and the mass media have done a real disservice to Gen Z in saying being an entrepreneur is cool and being an entrepreneur, you’re going to make all this money.
Being an entrepreneur is hard. Many of them think it’s going to be easy or that success is going to be handed to them. You’ve gone through hard times growing your companies. I’ve gone through hard times growing my companies. That’s part of growing a great company, but unless you’re willing to go through that, I don’t think people will get there.
The most impressive thing to me about College Pro Painters is this revolving door of staff. That model was hiring.
It was not quite a revolving door because we had no turnover during the year. It was a planned turnover.
To clarify, I grew up at Vector Marketing. It’s on the same level. It was very similar. Your workforce is college kids and the glue of the model is management. The college kids come and go through the seasons but you want to keep the management.
Your timing of this comment is so extraordinary because, in 2021, College Pro finally closed after 50 years in business. They started in 1971. 2021 was their last year and the reason was they couldn’t find 800 university students to run franchises anymore because all of those university entrepreneurial kids were running flip and dot-com businesses and online hustles. They were day trading crypto. They couldn’t find you and me to go and work hard. They didn’t want to run painting businesses anymore. They shut down a company that had been extraordinarily successful for a long time. This is a bit of a sign of the times.
It is. I have a very good friend who owns a real estate company in San Diego. When COVID hit, he had a full tilt because California wouldn’t let people interact with other people, much less sell real estate, and you need to do that to sell real estate, at least at this point. He started citing the macro trends in comparison to 2008. I said, “Sam, you aren’t big enough for that to matter.” What I meant by that is that when you are micro in your ecosystem, you can outwork the ecosystem.
It’s better to have the wind behind your sails, but if you are the Keller Williams of the world, you are an important ecosystem so then the macro trend is going to impact you. When you look at something like College Pro Painters, my question isn’t, “Is it a sign of times and is that business dead?” I guess that is a question, but the bigger question for me is, how do you outwork it and how do you find the people to do it? How do you change hiring practices to do it?
I can’t stand the word pivot, but I think College Pro Painters as a business could have found another business to franchise to university students and made more money with less pain in the bum. They didn’t necessarily have to paint houses. They could have created a crypto trading franchise business. They could have created an online flip kind of business.
They could have found other things to do and taken all the talent of the recruiting, training, marketing, sales, operations, and culture. All those leadership skills they had could have been turned into a different kind of business. Instead, they gave up. Maybe painting houses was a tougher model to be in but I don’t think they had to quit when they had the operational excellence to do other things.
I didn’t expect you to say that. It was a stiff shift.
It ends up a no. You talked about the whole global part though, “If you were like the Keller Williams.” I had a very similar talk in 2008 or 2009 with a friend in Vancouver who owned three restaurants. He was complaining about the global financial crisis having an impact on his restaurants. I’m like, “You have three locations. Stop reading the newspaper. Stop being online and being distracted by social media.”
“Go and tell everyone for three square blocks around every location about how amazing your restaurants are and they’ll grow.” Now, the Cactus Club chain is a massive, incredible chain in Vancouver with probably twenty locations and probably close to $200 million in revenue because they decided to focus on what mattered and not let this global crisis that didn’t impact them at all. They got three locations, to your point.
There’s a lot buried in that perspective and that comment, not oddly, but it ties directly back to hard work. It ties back to if you have the character traits and values that drive hard work and if you have people on the team that are willing to do it, but it starts with the entrepreneur.
We had what we call the secret formula at 1-800-GOT-JUNK. I taught entrepreneurs the secret formula for years. It goes back to hard work. The formula was F x F x E = Success. The first F was Focus. You can think about your business now or anybody reading can think about their business. Let’s say for the last month, how focused were you? How focused was your team? How focused was your marketing? How focused were your efforts? Did you have the right plan in place? Were you distracted by social media? Were you distracted by email? Were you focused on the top five critical few things versus the important many? You give yourself a percentage rating of 1% to 100% on focus. Come up with a number in your head of how focused you and your company were for the last month. Let’s say you’re 80% focused.
The next F is Faith. How much faith do you have in your team, in yourself, in your skills, in your plan, in your marketing, or your model? Are you doing things to protect your confidence in your faith in things? Are you getting rid of the wrong people? Are you growing your skills? Are you making sure that you hire the right experts to help you so that you feel confident with everything? How much faith do you have? You give yourself a percentage rating of 1% to 100% on faith. Maybe you’ve got 80% faith in everything.
The last E is for Effort. How much hard work are you putting in? Are you working from 9:00 to 5:00? Are you working from 5:00 to 9:00? Are you working hard? Are you hardly working? When you’re working, are you putting the right effort in the right direction? It’s because if you’re working hard, going in the wrong direction doesn’t matter. The focus and effort are all combined. You give yourself a percentage rating of 1% through 100% on effort.
Now, if you get 80% focus times 80% faith times 80% effort, 0.8 times 0.8 times 0.8 times yields a 51.2% chance of success. Those are crappy odds that you will not be successful. You might as well go to Vegas and put it all on red. If you get 90% focus times 90% faith times 90% effort, it still only multiplies up to a 72.8% chance of success. 98% focused times 98% faith times 98% effort gives you a 90% chance of success. Where most entrepreneurial companies and even the big corporate companies go off is they’re missing 1 or all 3 of those areas. If you can get focused and ensure that your faith and focus are protected and put the effort in the right direction, that’s where success comes from.
I think the focus is a massive challenge for many people right now.
For people and companies because we’re distracted by the next good idea. We’re distracted by the next business book that we read that’s random and gives us twelve new things to work on. We’re distracted by the person that we meet that gives us an idea or a company that we see that’s doing something else or the economy or just life. Focus is tough.
I’m going to go back to hiring for a second because we were having breakfast and we got to this conversation about hiring and people. We’re sitting on this terrace in the W Santiago and this woman comes up. She says, “Brad, how are you doing?” She was like, “You’re back for breakfast. Is everything okay with your room?” When she left, you said, “It’s amazing that they are so good with names.” I was like, “It doesn’t count for me. I have Mohawk. People remember me,” but they remember Cameron and Ashley and what Ashley likes to eat. It’s super impressive.
You told a couple of different examples of significantly successful companies and how they have these radiant personalities in their companies. Both when questioned were, “We don’t teach them to do that. We find the people that already are that.” I think there’s some core value conversation in there, but there’s also the question of the mechanics of hiring. When you’re running operations, hiring is such a fucking significant challenge and focal point. What do you think about hiring as a system?
I hear people all the time saying hiring, marketing, PR, finance, or IT is a challenge. It is until you’re good at it. At this point, it’s very easy. One of the easiest things in the world for me to do is hiring. I’m, but I’m operationally world-class at the recruiting, interviewing, hiring, onboarding, and leadership development of people because I had to.
When you’re doing it with 8,800 people a year and you’re the 30 people doing it, you have to become world-class at that. The hard stuff for me, is IT, finance, engineering, and payment processing because that’s confusing. For someone like you, interviewing is hard because you can get the depth and training around that. For me, I’m like, “No. That’s the easy part.”
What companies have to figure out is, what are the core things you need to become operationally world-class? How do you grow your people so they’re operationally world-class at those things? How do you plug in the stuff that maybe you’re not great at, but maybe somebody else is? I’ll give you an example of something I use all the time. I have an iPhone. Who makes it?
“Apple makes it.” Apple doesn’t make it. Apple designs it. Apple outsources the manufacturing of it because they suck at manufacturing and then they do the sales and marketing of it but they found the areas that they’re operationally world-class on like design, sales, and marketing and they outsource everything except genius. So often, companies are trying to be good at everything or they haven’t identified what to be good at. Let’s go back to the part of the question about culture and core values.
I want to add to that real quick. It’s a great case study. It’s a fun and eye-opening independent comment. When you look at Apple systemically over the course of decades, they weave in and out of this in a lot of different ways, but their chips. They made all their silicon for years and then they said, “Intel is better at this.” They gave it to Intel and then they said, “It’s time for us to go do it again,” and what they produced is world-class. The M1 chipset is better than anything else that’s being produced so now they’re back there. I love the narrative of knowing your strengths, knowing your weaknesses, and being ready to bring people on.
Also, to identify what we have to get good at. Here’s what scares me about most companies. Ninety-nine percent of companies have managers in place that interview and hire people. Almost all of those managers have never been trained on how to do a job interview. How many hours’ worth of training have you had on doing interviews? How many roughly? Real pure hours of training on interviewing. I mean, none. I’m self-taught and self-learned. I’ve had a lot of hours doing it, but that’s a fall-on-my-face kind of thing.
I’ve had a lot of hours doing shit too and then I get trained in something and it gets so much easier. I’ve had dozens and dozens of hours of training, role-playing, practicing, and people-watching my interviews over video back in the VHS tapes. I had a VHS interview with Kimbal Musk. If we go back to what hiring is about, it’s hiring around two things. The core values and cultural fit of the person and the skillset of doing what you need them to do.
In the old days, people used to say, “Hire for attitude, train for skill,” or hire for core values and culture fit and train the skill. That’s okay if you want 7% to 10% growth a year. If you want hyper-growth, which I’m used to doing, 100% growth year after year, you have to hire for the core values, culture fit, and proven skillset so they can hit the ground running.
What you have to be able to identify then is how do I find the core values traits? How do I find the behavioral traits? How do I interview them to prove that they have them? How do I find the skillsets? Let me walk you through some of the basics. For every role, you come up with five core behavioral traits that that role needs to happen. It’s a different role to roll.
I’ll give you an exact example. There’s no single salesperson that will ever make it through an HR screening process because HR people hate salespeople. Salespeople are winging it. They shoot from the hip. They make it up on the go. They’re gregarious. They’re high energy. They’re driven and now HR people follow the processes and procedures. They like rules. They dot their I’s and cross their T’s. Salespeople are like, “F that. There aren’t any rules to follow because I need to make it on the fly.”
You need to identify what are the traits of each type of role. At College Pro Painters as an example, we vote for leadership, attainment, tenacity, introspection, and interdependence. Those were the five core traits. Leadership is clear. They had to be strong leaders. When you’re hiring twenty-year-olds, when I hired Kimbal Musk, he was 21 years old. He was already a leader. He’d been a leader his whole life.
He hadn’t necessarily managed teams of people, but he had all these leadership things that he’d done in his life. Attainment was the goal orientation. Someone driving towards goals. That’s exhibited at 4 years old, 8 years old, or 10 years old. You can see the traits. People don’t lose those traits. Tenacity was the dog-like work ethic to get over, under, or around any obstacle put in one’s path.
Now, I said something interesting there. I gave you a direct quote for how we defined tenacity 27 years ago. It was so ingrained that we all had the same definition for each of the five traits. Interdependence was somebody who was dependent on the system. “We gave you the franchise system. You’d follow it.” If it wasn’t there, you’d be independent enough to make it up on the go. We knew what we were looking for. We knew how to define it and then for each trait, we had five questions to start the interview process around. That was the starting point. Then we would rate people on a bell curve of one through five with five questions.
Were the questions around uncovering whether or not they had the traits?
Yes. It was how to rate them on the traits. For leadership, a question would be, “When you were a kid, who would organize all the kids to go out and play? Did you have any roles when you were in Cubs or scouts or on the hockey team? Who were the captains? Who were the assistants? You are on student government. Were you appointed? Were you elected? Did you campaign who? Who voted for you?” We learned how to find those things.
Based on what we found, we would rate the candidates. Let’s say of the ten candidates we were interviewing, four of them, 40% could be given a 3 out of 5 and 20% or two could be given a two out of five, 20% could be given a four out of five, 10% could be given a one out of five, 10% could be given a five out of five. We use a bell curve to say where they fit because not everybody could be a ten out of ten or a five out of five. Not everybody can be a three.
There has to be some reasonable distribution. We forced the candidates into that distribution and then we could have a debate. If you and I were both interviewing Bob, we could sit down and compare our notes. I’d be like, “You gave him a four. I gave him a three. Why?” We would end up deciding, “It’s probably a three or whatever,” but we had that methodology in place. A very simple system that everybody followed to rate people against those traits. That’s how we found the core value side of things or the culture side of things.
You flip from that into the skillset. You list out the core five things the person has to do in their job and have they done it before? Let’s say I was hiring a swimmer. It’s a weird example. If I needed to have a strong swimmer, do I want somebody who knows how to break world records? Who knows how to win gold? Who knows how to do all four strokes? I do. I know how to win gold. Swim faster. I know how to do all four strokes. I would drown doing the butterfly, but I know how to do it.
Do you want someone who won a world record, won gold, and competed at all four strokes in individual and team? Who are you going to end up with? You end up with true A players but because most companies don’t know how to interview, they don’t know how to hire. They don’t even know where to go and get the proper candidates for it and they say they have A-players, but probably not. They probably have B-minuses to C-plus players who they think are A’s because they don’t know what they’re looking for and they don’t know how to find it.
I had a CEO one time. I coached them from 40 employees up to 700 people. Bobby said to me, “I need about 30 days to 90 days to know if the person I hired is the right person after they start.” I said, “Bobby, that’s because you suck at interviewing.” He goes, “What do you mean?” I said, “If you know how to interview properly, you know everything about the candidate before they come. However, if you spend all your time talking about how great your company is and you don’t know how to dig, what to dig for and how to probe, how to use open questions, closed questions, and the pregnant pause, you don’t know how to look at the gaps, and if you don’t know how to interview, then it’s a crapshow.”
When interviewing is such a core part of hiring and people is such a core part of building a company, why don’t we spend time doing it? Why are people all trying to learn about social media, marketing, or sales? It’s all important things, but when you’re hiring people, it should be a core competency inside every organization.
I’m now embarrassed. I want to go cry in the corner because I don’t know how to interview people. I knew where you were going when you mentioned your friend that said, “I need 30 to 90 days.” I verbatim have said something like that. I heard it on a podcast again and I cringe every time I hear it. I also agree with you. The question is, where do you learn it?
I could pitch my stuff but I’ll give you some other areas where you can go learn it. Where I learned it was understanding that adults learn differently. Adults learn from learning concepts. You could read the book Who by Geoff Smart or you could read his dad’s book Topgrading by Brad Smart. You could get a consultant who can teach you. You could do one of the modules in my Invest in Your Leaders course on interviewing and learning.
That’s the concept. You’re learning the abstract concept. Learning changes gears and you into practicing, the role play. That’s called the active experimentation stage of learning. You’re practicing it. You’re trying out your business. You’re trying it over video. You’re getting feedback from a coach. You get that loop starting and then you learn by doing, which most entrepreneurs have learned interviewing from doing. That is the concrete experience stage.
The fourth stage is reflective observation but most entrepreneurs don’t go back and say, “What went well in the interview? What didn’t go well? What can I do better? What can I change?” They don’t get their video recorded so that somebody can give them feedback and they don’t restart the loop again by reading and watching and learning more about interviewing and then practicing.
The loop continues until you build competence from a bronze, silver, or gold level. If you think about competence in a skill, your skill in interviewing goes from no skill to high skill. That’s how I approach to stuff. You would read a book. You would watch some videos. You might watch some TED Talks. You might sign up for my Invest in Your Leaders course and watch that one module. You might read the section on hiring from Double.
You might read a chapter on hiring out of Traction by Gino Wickman. You might get some employees to come in and teach it. You might turn to some of the role model companies in your city and get their teams to come and mentor you. All of those are part of the learning cycle. What were the four stages of the learning cycle that you just brought up? It’s Abstract Conceptualization or AC, Active Experimentation or AE, Concrete Experience or CE, and Reflective Observation or RO.
I also talk about that in one of the modules in Invest in Your Leaders in the classroom teaching module. When you’re teaching students, you need to cover those four stages and make sure that you cover the auditory, visual, and kinesthetic styles of learners. You need to hit people the way they learn and remember that there’s a cycle with learning because if I teach you something right now, you might retain most of it but if all of a sudden you have an employee who you’ve fired and I come back to you and I say, “Do you want to talk about what you saw in the interview when you interviewed them six months ago?”
You’d be like, “Not really.” That’s where some of the learning will come in. “How did you miss that? What did you not look for?” One of my favorite questions when somebody fires somebody is, “How did the reference checks go before you hired them?” They go, “We didn’t do them.” I’m like, “It’s your fault.” There’s nothing wrong with the employee the day you fired them. They are the same person. You just didn’t have the right system or process in place. I get it because it’s hard and it’s confusing.
If you find the right coach or the right mentor or you follow the right resources, I like dumbing my resources down. I don’t want this to be an MBA program on interviewing. I need to give you the basics to get you to bronze or silver. Most people don’t need to get to the gold, but currently, they’re at zero. Let’s at least get you to bronze or silver on interviewing. It’s way better than where we are now.
Those four cycles I think are tremendously valuable from not only the reflection of how well a CEO or COO does in the hiring process but also certainly training and onboarding and your entire staff.
Also, in every area of our business. Let’s talk about running meetings, right? How many of our managers run meetings? All of them. They either have phone calls, which are meetings. They run Zoom calls, which are meeting or they have in-person meetings but have we trained our managers on how to run a meeting?
Nope. I want to drill into that because I know that meetings suck. I want to talk about that a little bit but I want to look at hiring. Either of these things is so fundamental to building a team that it makes a ton of sense to spend a lot of time digging into them. I look at hiring and I’m sure that this is adapted from one of the texts that you mentioned like Traction or the like but I look at hiring in terms of sourcing, screening, or selling, which is the hiring part. It’s like, “I found out this is the person I want. How do I indoctrinate them into my company,” and then the onboarding process.
Here’s something about selling which is intriguing. If you want to recruit A-players into your companies, you have to reverse the sales process. I call it the reverse sell because the more I sell an A-player on joining me and how great my company is or where I’m going, it scares them away. What I do is reverse the sale and I get them to sell me on why they think they’re a great fit.
What I do is I use the Vivid Vision process to show them where we’re going and then I ask them, “What are you most excited about?” Instead of me telling them what’s exciting, I get them to tell me. We learned this in the franchising world. If I’m trying to pitch you on buying my franchise, you’re going to run away. You’re right about selling but there’s an art to selling.
Let me clarify a couple of things on that. One, we’ve been talking about screening. We’ve been talking about the process of taking the game, sitting with the interview, and going through that. I want to talk about sourcing a little bit in terms of how you even get the people to the table. I want to talk about the backend of that, which I know is the person.
It’s the job offer side.
We’ve also got the onboarding, which is super interesting, but where are you on screening?
What you’re showing is the life cycle of the startup or the employee and companies need to identify this and then make sure they have the systems in place for each stage. On the sourcing or the recruiting, I call it the recruiting side. The first thing I do is create a job posting that has a lot of clarity on what the job stands for. I make it sound like a scary and tough job to come for which turns away the C-players and is only going to have the A’s and B’s wanting to apply.
I then have a copywriter take the job posting and polish it so the job posting looks like a sales ad. Most times, we write the job posting ourselves or the head of an area writes the job posting but if you then hand it to a copywriter, they can polish it and it attracts the right people. The third thing I do is pay to about 85% of the bell curve.
I take the common roles in the city that I’m in and now our cities we are competing globally. We’re competing against the Bay Area even though we’re in Austin or Ohio. We have to make sure that we’re paying about 80% to 85% percent of the bell curve. I put the compensation right at the very top of the job posting. I make it crystal clear.
If the average salary nationwide is $78,000 and the top end or the highest is $110,000, you’re probably going to be in the $105,000 range.
It’s not exactly the $105,000 range but I want to make sure that they see that and go, “I want that job.” We make the job posting sounds so tough that the C-players don’t even apply. Only the A’s and B’s are even thinking about it. If you have a copywriter polish it, now they’re going, “This is good.” In addition to the $105,000, they get five weeks of paid vacation including their sick days and that stands out over everything else in the marketplace because so many companies still only pay 2 or 3 weeks.
It costs us nothing to give a little bit more vacation time. If we recruit the A-players, vacations are good, especially if we teach them how to take a vacation and spread it out over the year. I’m using that as bait. I’m using them as decoys to bring them into my company. The other thing I’m doing on the recruiting or sourcing side is I share the Vivid Vision on the website in the job posting with all the candidates.
I make them read the Vivid Vision and tell me where they think they can make it come true and what they’re excited about. When resumes start coming in, I don’t read any of the resumes. An autoreply goes back right away saying, “Thanks for your resume. I’m not reading it yet. Please read our Vivid Vision and this recent article of us in the media. If this sounds like the kind of company you want to help fly to the moon, please reply with a two to three-minute video of why you want to work with us and what you love about our Vivid Vision. Based on your video, we’ll decide if you’re bringing you in for a group interview.”
We’ve all reversed the sale right away. I don’t waste any of my operational time reading 100 resumes for only ten people that are interested. What tends to happen is you’ll get 10 or 15 great resumes coming back in the door with the videos. I’ll watch the videos and I’ll then only bring the qualified people or the people I like culturally, the people who are already pre-sold a little bit based on the Vivid Vision. I’ll bring them into the interview process. It’s a marketing and sales game on the front end.
One of the questions that I have with that for you is, “Does that vary by role?” Do the screening process and the mechanism change when you’re talking about a $300,000-a-year executive that you are pulling in versus a $50,000-a-year entry-level salesperson or entry-level person?
Here’s what doesn’t change. Having a professional copywriter polish it doesn’t change. It’s probably even more important. Also making sure the culture stands out because the seasoned executive still wants to know that they want to come work for an amazing company. The five week vacation shouldn’t change because with most seasoned executives, the five weeks’ vacation is probably their benchmark and it’s nice to push that right in front of them as well.
Making sure that the actual job posting is written in such a way that it scares them. That raises the bar. The $300,000 people love that stuff because they want to work for a top company. They want to work for a challenge. They don’t want to work for some fluffy thing. The video submission afterward, if they’re not willing to submit on a video submission, I’m not sure they’re going to like the rest of the rules we have in our company, the rest of the normal policies.
Outside of that, not much is going to change. What may change with the group interview process that we haven’t talked about is having 6 to 8 candidates on a Zoom call or in person at the same time. That can change when you’re hiring people that are working for publicly traded companies and who hold proprietary non-public information. These are like CFOs of public companies. You can then tend to not be doing a group interview because they can’t put their jobs at risk or people knowing that they’re out looking. Other than that, there are not many changes.
You mandate the initial hoop or send me a video.
It’s because I’m looking for culture first and then based on now, I’ve got 5 or 6 great candidates based on the cultural survey, the video, they’ve gone through the hoop, they give a crap, they read our Vivid Vision, and now I’m going to spend time reading every word of your resume. I’m going to make notes on your resume. I’m going to prep for what the interview’s going to be like and I’m going to do three grueling interviews with you.
By the time I get TORC or the Threat of Reference Check at the end, I know more about you than you know about you. However, if I don’t know about their culture soon, then I’m spending time interviewing people who aren’t the right culture fit and I’m starting to sell myself on, “Maybe they’ll fit.” No, they won’t fit. They’ll be really strong people who might fit in a different company. What you’re looking for is energy and you feel that energy.
You can see that in the video submission. What’s nice about it is your team, especially HR because HR would love to read all 100 resumes. I don’t want them reading it. I want them to find more resumes. I want them to do more recruiting. I’ll give you a silver bullet that I get all of my clients. I haven’t told this system very much at all. This is based on the research from Topgrading by Geoff Smart and Brad Smart, who I’m friends with both the father. They are used by the biggest and the best companies on the planet for interviewing. Give me a role. Who are you hiring right now? What kind of a role? Pick a good important role that you’re hiring.
VP of Sales.
What’s the compensation that the VP of Sales going to be all in over the first year?
What I’m going to do is put an internal recruiting bonus in place for any of your current employees who recruit or who will give you the name of somebody who I can reach out to. If that person gets hired, they’re going to get a $125,000 bonus, but here’s how it’s paid out. I’m going to pay half the person’s comp as a bonus paid out in five installments at the end of month 12, month 24, month 36, month 48, and month 60 provided both people are still with the company.
Let’s say Kelly finds some VP through her old company or she posts stuff on social media on her LinkedIn and Facebook. She gets us a qualified candidate and Bob gets hired. Kelly’s going to get $25,000 at the end of year one and $25,000 more at the end of year two. Kelly’s not going to quit. Kelly’s going to make sure that Bob stays until the end of years 1 and 2. It becomes a bit of a retention bonus.
It’s a meaningful amount of money but because it’s spread over five years, it’s $125,000. The reality is if Bob came in at $250,000 and asked for $275,000 you’d probably give it to him anyway. You’re giving the $25,000 to Kelly and because she’s now making $25,000 a year more or $5,000 or $10,000, she’s not coming in and asking for raises anymore.
It’s a powerful recruiting system that helps you build out based on the culture you’ve got and A-players hang out with A-players. I used that system to go out and hire five of the more senior people. It was the group that oversaw Whistler Blackcomb. When Whistler was acquired by a hedge fund, Fortress, I used that system to hire five people within six weeks.
I have different permutations of that, but in general, I like that.
Most of the permutations are $1,000 and paid $500 upfront. It’s not meaningful. It’s when it’s a real amount of $25,000. I’d do it. If you give $25,000 a year for five years, I’ll find your VP of Sales.
Book In A Box told you they’d give you a Tesla if you give them enough clients.
I’m their number one referral source. Lewis Howes is number two, which is now Scribe. Somebody else is chasing me right now.
We are mutual friends. You were an advisor to them also.
Yes, and I have an equity position in the company.
However, those incentives matter. I think that’s brilliant and I like the way that it loops in other initiatives as well, namely longevity.
As you pointed out, the sourcing or recruiting, the interviewing and hiring, the onboarding, and the leadership development, the reason it’s so important to get that whole lifecycle employee figured out, is it drops your attrition. It drops your training costs and the pain in the ass factor. It drops your sick days. It’s easier when you have great people and then they stay and they grow. Business gets simple. We over business as humans.
We overcomplicate everything as humans in life. I’ve got the recruiting, which I call sourcing, and I got screening and the hiring process that we talked about. I have this little widget in there called selling, which is, “I know that I want this person. How do I make a job offer to them?”
The sales process starts with the actual interview process. Before you want to make the offer, sales have already been starting. The sales start with them reading your Vivid Vision, the 4 or 5-page description of your company in the future. The sales process starts by getting them to tell you why they love your Vivid Vision and why they can help make it come true. They’re now selling themselves on being inside the company.
Twenty percent of the first interview is selling. It’s reversing the sale. It’s asking them tougher questions, raising the bar, and saying, “This is going to be the toughest thing you’ve ever done. I’m not sure you’re going to be good at it. Why do you think I’m wrong?” It’s asking those kinds of questions in a way. It gets the candidates selling themselves into the role.
When you go to the second interview, it’s 50% interviewing, 50% selling but again, reversing the sale. When you’re into the TORC side, the Threat of Reference Check, the A-candidates are working so hard to sell you that they’re in by the time you make the offer. I used to have a joke back in the College Prop Painters days. I could put a pen and a piece of paper down in front of them, they’re contracted to sign and they’d be reaching for the pen. I’d pick it up before them and they’d be itching to grab the paper.
By the time you make the offer, you already know they’re pre-sold and that it’s not even about trying to sell them anymore because you’ve built that into your system. You’re right that there are sales, but I think it has to come throughout the process. The way I make the offer, and I’ve always done it the same way. “Brad, I got some good news and some bad news. Which would you like first?” Whichever way they go, “The bad news is this going to be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. The good news is, “Congratulations. You’re going to be working with us.'” I don’t even make an offer. I only say, “Congratulations, you’re in.” I do that with $300,000 people or $50,000 people.
It’s funny because I think that most people view hiring as an isolated behavior in their ecosystem. The reality is that it’s another sales funnel.
It’s absolutely a sales funnel. I have a simple little spreadsheet. All my systems are simple. If you’re hiring one person, you need to have 1.1 offers because 10% of the people reject them. You make the offer and somehow, you didn’t get them or their boss paid them more money than they’re staying. You need to have a few more offers per person being hired. Let’s say you’re hiring four people, you need to have five offers because one will reject and you end up with five.
Of the five offers, let’s say one person is being offered now. You need to have two people going through reference checks. The TORC or the reference checks won’t play out. Of those two, you probably needed to do four-second interviews to know which two to offer to or which two to do reference checks with. Of the four that you’re doing second interviews with, you needed to do 12 or 8 first interviews. Of the first interview, it’s the group interview. Of the video submission, video submission is a reference as resumes are coming in the door?
Now, you know you need 100 resumes to end up with eight group interviews and to have four people coming through the first and second. It’s the very same sales process. What I do is I engage the HR team to get me resumes of qualified people and then the manager’s job is to get them through to a second interview. The leadership’s job is to make sure that people know how to run each stage of the process.
It’s interesting to me because that shift in mentality for me happened 1 or 2 years ago when I thought, “There’s a direct comparison to all sales and marketing efforts.” I still treated it a little differently, but I think that going through this with you is helpful from the perspective of exactly how parallel they are.
One of the ways they’re parallel is let’s say that you need to have six orders in sales on Monday. Are you going to start selling on Friday? No. You’re going to start selling 6 weeks before or 3 months before to get the leads, to have the first meetings, the second meetings, and the offers. Your funnel has to start way before the hiring.
Here’s what happens in interviewing and where a lot of companies go sideways. Let’s say I need five more customer service people to be there on May 1st. Should I start on April 1st or March 1st? Probably March 1st or maybe on February 1st you’re going to start your recruiting. Those five salespeople that you want to start on May 1, don’t you want them to be fully trained on May 1, which means you probably want them starting on April 1 so they go through your training process and your onboarding process to be reasonably up to speed?
However, if you want to kick it, you’re hiring on March 15th because they need to give two weeks’ notice to quit their prior job. You have to be strategic about the hiring cycle. That’s why we were operationally world-class out of College Pro because if we missed 2 weeks, we only had 17 weeks to run 100% of our revenue.
College kids are going to get different jobs.
We only ran for four months. If we missed two weeks, we were missing 7% per week because we only operated in four months of the year. We got 100% of our revenue in four months and 0% for the next eight. We couldn’t be off by two weeks.
I have to hit on this because back to the sourcing consideration, in ’22 February, we have a different ecosystem for hiring and it is across the board. For every entrepreneur I talk to, it’s way harder to source people. At first hand, we went from getting 100, 200, or 300 applications for a given position to twelve.
I spoke to an entrepreneur. She is a great entrepreneur and a good successful company. She’s looking to hire two people in her warehouse at $13, $14 to $15 an hour. I said, “First off, that’s a crappy wage. No one can live on it. You’re way under market.” She goes, “No. That’s what everybody in the market’s paying.” “You’re not competing as everybody in the market. You’re competing against all other companies around you now.”
I went out to another client of mine who has a warehouse staff and my gut was he was paying at least 30% to 40% more. I said, “Tyler, what are you paying your warehouse staff?” $18 to $19 an hour. I went back to her and I go, “I told you. You’re way underpaying. You need to be paying $36,000 to $40,000 a year where three years ago you were paying $25,000.” What’s happened is compensation because inflation has gone up substantially over the last few years. Where comp’s gone up though now is the world is extraordinarily flat. Now, we have the entire Bay Area willing to hire people remotely.
Where Google and eBay and PayPal used to have to go into an office, now they’re like, “Damn it.” You can be in Minnesota if you want to. Another client of mine in Ohio lost an employee to a company based in Luxembourg. Most people don’t even know where Luxembourg is but a company based in Europe hired somebody in Ohio. They don’t need them to come to an office. For any roles that are non-show up in a specific place, you’re competing against all companies. You have to pay more. Your company has to be better. Your culture and website have to be better. You’re marketing in a way now that you’re competing against everybody else.
That’s good because it addressed a couple of things. What the question I asked was and I don’t know if I asked this explicitly, but how do you get more candidates? How do you change the sourcing process? Your answer was, “You don’t change the sourcing process. You need to market better. You build a better company and make a better offer to the people.” That’s the starting point.
It’s offered as decoys. I keep bringing up decoys because one of my grandfathers’ decoys is he ran a hunting and fishing resort. We put wood decoys out into the water of ducks to attract the ducks into our blinds. He taught me about using decoys to attract people. We would talk about it in the business world. What are the things that we put out into the world to attract people to our business? Do you have a leadership team page or About Us page on your website where it shows your Leadership Team page?
Your leadership team bios should read more like a Tinder profile than a government bio because all the candidates are reading that. Anybody whose reading, if you’re a Leadership Team and you’re About Us reads like a government bio, you’re turning people away. Do we have to think about how we market ourselves? How do we put our company out? What’s our website look like? What are the photos of our team like? What’s our Vivid Vision like? How much press are we generating?
It’s putting those decoys out into the outside world to attract people in. We need to pay the amount of money. We need to overpay. Yes, we more of our people once we’ve got them, but we need to raise that bar in all those areas. We need to fire the assholes. We need to get rid of the C-players because those are decoys as well. It’s all around that.
That answers quite a bit of it. From a tactical perspective, what are the locations or mechanisms for sourcing right now?
One is that crazy bonus. It’s internal recruiting. A-players attract A-players. Another one is putting a bonus similar to that in place for your suppliers and your customers where you pay them an amount of money. You use your pool of people that already love your company. You turn all of those raving fans into recruiters and you make it easy for them to share with clickable and trackable links. Anything you can do to turn those people into raving fans in recruiting is huge.
Recruiters hate them and love them at the same time, but use good solid recruiters who are proving in spaces. I have four recruiters to whom I refer tons and tons of people, but they’re all based on different niches or different sizes of businesses that they work with. Also, finding recruiters that aren’t retained. There is a hybrid between a small retainer and some contingency so they’re going to work hard for you, and you’re not only putting all your money and all your trust in them. That’s important.
Let’s talk about that for a second because recruiters are, I hate them and I love them.
It’s like lawyers. I hate lawyers and at times, you need them too.
I feel the same way about real estate agents.
Also, accountants and real estate agents.
A lot of them give very little value but there are a select few that are very good. Let’s talk about the different recruiting options in terms of who you hire. You mentioned retainers versus comps, essentially.
Here’s the overarching rule to work with any of these kinds of people. The process that you have for your company has to be used by that executive search firm. Most executive search firms will say, “No. We’ll send you the final three candidates. Pick one.” I’m like, “F you. You’re going to send me the final ten. I’m going to put them through my process.” “We’ve already done that.” “No, you’re not.” “We’ll do the reference checks for you.” “No, you won’t. You’re going to bring me good solid people and I’m going to do all that work. Your job is to find me the pool. My job is to get them through the process.”
They’ll hate that but if you’re good and you understand the recruiting and interviewing and TORC process, they’ll respect that. If you pay them fairly and they know, “I don’t have to do all that grunt work,” but what most companies fail on is they either don’t get the right recruiter. They have somebody who specializes in tech and you’re looking for marketing or they have somebody who specializes in marketing and you want marketing, but they specialize in in-person roles.
They don’t think it through clearly and it’s almost doing an interview with those recruiters to find out which one is the right fit for you culturally too. Don’t just take the referral because Brad or Cameron said or Kelly said to use them. Interview the recruiter. Get to know them. Get to know their team. Get to know their people. Get to know their process. Is it a fit for you? Tell them how you want them to run through your process and make them understand. Don’t take the first lead that comes across as your recruiter. That is how to find the right one.
These parallels run deep here. It’s the same process. It’s that if you’re looking for recruiters, there’s still the funnel to find the recruiter. It might be smaller, but there’s still the same process. One of the challenges that business owners have in general is this and there’s a good reason for it. Relationships drive everything else in the business. People often default to leaning into a trusted relationship and then they forego the necessary screening to make sure that the referral makes sense.
One of my biggest pet peeves, especially on social media, I’ll give you an example. “I need a coach to help me grow my company. Who should I use?” Seventeen people give you the name of somebody to coach you. None of those people should be telling you who should coach you because you haven’t told them what you want coaching in. Do you want soft skills coaching? Do you want confidence coaching? Do you want to coach around situational leadership or operations?
I would be a crappy coach around soft skills, confidence, finance, IT, or engineering. I would be a shitty coach if you’re a startup but if you’re in the $5 million to $50 million rate, I’m world-class and I’ve coached so many. It’s dangerous to take that and most people want to help. “We want to tell you who to use because we’re trying to help you, but we don’t necessarily know enough to help.”
The onus is on the receiver. For the person who’s receiving the referral or receiving the help, the responsibility is on you to ask for the right thing so you get pointed in the right direction. I want to say something because often I’m interviewed and I’ve done speaking all over the world. I can leave audiences a little bit scared and overwhelmed and feeling like, “I’m screwing everything up.” That’s okay.
This is supposed to be to create a gap. The learner controls the environment. Until a student is ready to learn, they don’t learn. Whether you’re eight years old and you’re like, “I don’t care.” If all of a sudden you understand why you’re learning what you’re learning, it will help you. If only what you get out of now is, “I could improve on these areas,” that’s huge. Don’t try to get as good as I am at this because I’m nowhere near as good as anybody reading at something they’re great at. This just happens to be the zone of my genius.
One of the things that I routinely try to reinforce to my staff is people feel bad when they invest a lot of time and energy into something that doesn’t work out. The reframe for that is when you invest a lot of time and energy in something and it doesn’t work out, that’s fantastic because you put energy into trying to figure it out. The lesson that you get out of that because of the time and energy, that’s where the value is.
Especially if you go back to that cycle of learning. What’s the reflective observation? What can I learn by reflecting? What did I do well that got me there? What did I do poorly that got me there? What can I continue? What should I improve on? Then, it’s worth it. If you don’t learn and you go back and try it again, then that’s bad.
I have something I tell people routinely which is I want an environment where it’s okay to make mistakes, but it’s not okay if you don’t learn from them. That summarizes it. If you don’t take time to look at it and you keep making the same mistake, what are we doing? It’s crazy and it’s also tremendously frustrating for everybody around you. It should be frustrating for you as well.
That comment ties into, and again, I didn’t want to be talking about my course, this Invest in Your Leaders. My belief is and we talked about this in Antarctica is the leader’s job, the CEO’s job is to be at the bottom of the org chart. When I spoke down there, I said, “We’re at the bottom of the planet. Our job is to be the bot.” The CEO’s job is to grow people. To grow their confidence and grow their skills.
If you identify that one area that your people need to be better at is interviewing, train them. Don’t get upset with it. Train them in meetings. Train them in coaching. Train them in one-on-one meetings. Train them on email management or project management. Train them on the delegation but give your team the skills to do the day-to-day jobs that they have to do because what we often do is jump over that and teach them about the part of the company they’re working in, but we don’t treat them how to have the executive functioning skills.
That’s where Apple was strong. That’s where General Electric was strong. That’s where Xerox was strong. That’s where Starbucks and College Pro Painters were strong. We trained our people on how to lead and grow companies not on how to paint. I had way less hours on how to paint houses than on how to run a painting company.
This is a selfish question, but I also think it’s probably pretty valuable to a lot of people. Our target market is people that are already established that are there but we have everything from the solar that’s doing a couple million a year for one person to the person that has several hundred people on their team doing a few hundred million a year.
When you’re new, my belief is that it makes very little sense to spend a whole bunch of time and energy on these ethereal concepts that will probably serve you later before you even know if you have a business. At what point in the business is it $1 million, $10 million, or $50 million, do you look at that and say, “We need to go back and make sure that we have leadership strategy in place and then I’m training on leadership.” Is that day one? Is that as soon have proof of concept? Is it the size of the revenue?
It can be both, and I’ll give you an example because I know where you were going with this. The CEO’s job or the entrepreneur’s job is to get the highest return on three things. Our people, our time, and our money. You only have those three inputs. That’s all we have in our business. What’s the highest return on investment of those three things?
Is it in your best interest to go out and build a leadership training program internally for all these modules? No. It would take you hundreds of hours to pull together. If you could plug four of your managers into my course at $700 each for $2,800, it’s a five-minute decision and then they do four hours each and they learn the skills. That’s a pretty fucking high return on $700 per person. It takes you no time at all. It takes them four hours each and they get a lot of skills. That’s almost irresponsible not to do it.
It’s very irresponsible for most companies of less than 200 people to develop an internal training curriculum. When I was building 1-800-GOT-JUNK, one of the seven business areas that I ran was a learning department. I had six full-time people building out learning programs for all of our franchisees, drivers, and navigators.
To plug somebody in or to hire a consultant to say read a book, that’s where you want to do that early. Grow your people early, and then you can focus on your unique ability. It takes you no time to go by the book Topgrading and have your three managers read it. What was the investment? $80? Do you have to do it first? The CEO has to know what has to happen. The team needs to know how to do it. You should go through the Invest in Your Leaders course. 4 to 5 hours is all it’s going to take you to do all twelve modules just to know what it’s about and go, “There’s so much stuff that we don’t know.”
You guys get good at this. I get that but let’s extrapolate. We’ve got Cameron Herold, The COO Whisperer that has the Invest in Your Leaders course. That’s how we learn operations. I’ve also got sales, marketing, finance, and technology.
You should get acceptance to those. I’m plugged into three different mastermind groups.
As the CEO, as the entrepreneur, is the expectation, “I found what I think is a great course, but it’s 15 hours of content around building a sales platform.” Is your suggestion hypothesis that the CEO should spend fifteen hours on that to learn that before hiring and bringing in the salesperson to do it?
I think the CEO’s job is to have a cursory understanding. An overview of it, to then know if we can’t learn it. A great example would be, “I’ll never learn engineering or IT enough to have a cursory understanding of programming.” I ran the product development team at 1-800-GOT-JUNK. It did all of our internal products and building the software. I can’t code line one. What I did to hire our people in engineering and IT was I brought in outside experts to do the skills side of interviewing and I only interviewed for culture because I couldn’t learn it.
I can’t learn finance and IT so I brought in Marcelo from BusinessObjects. I brought in John from our accounting firm and they interviewed on the IT and finance side. I interviewed for a cultural fit. On the sales and marketing side, I knew enough about sales and marketing to interview on the skill side as well as the core values and culture side. On the business side, I had this discussion with Joe Polish who runs the Genius Network.
Joe said the CEOs have to be amazing at copywriting. I said, “No. I only have to know where copywriting can apply in my business to know that we could use some experts who are world-class in copywriting. I have to know about landing pages. I have to know about squeeze pages. I have to know about split testing. I have to know that this stuff exists to then say, “Should we be doing this stuff?'” However, I can’t become operationally world-class at everything. I only have to know what exists but until you go through the little course to know, “There’s a system behind delegation. People should know this.” You should be at a bronze level of the business skills that exist or leadership.
I think that’s a helpful frame and I feel compelled to mention that I love Joe, but the Joe Polishes of the world, that commentary is heavily informed by the type of business that is run by that entrepreneur. It’s important to check the source. Joe is a direct-response person. When he says, “The CEO needs copywriting skills,” it’s because his world is a direct response. His whole frame is, how do you get the response from the person that you’re trying to sell to? That’s my projection on him.
It’s very true because an IT person would say, “We need automation for proper tech stack.” I now need to know that tech stacks exist and that automation can help. How can I find the right people for the least amount of money to get me to 80% of the way there? I’m always looking for quick and easy wins, bronze, silver, or gold. I’m never looking for the perfect solution. I’m always looking for momentum creating momentum in every area of the business. How do I get more momentum? For the minimum amount of money, time, and people I’ve got, how do I get the highest ROI off that momentum? I think about any new system I put in place like a satellite. How much money or energy does it cost for a satellite to orbit the earth?
Hopefully, none wants a zero.
Once it’s up there, it costs a lot of money to get it in orbit. Once it’s in orbit, it’s free. I look for solutions that I can get up into orbit that will then be free. All of the reviews that I have for the COO Alliance, the course, and for Vivid Vision, one of my books, those reviews will pay dividends for the next five years. I worked hard to get them there, but once they’re there, they pay off dividends for years.
I look for those easy wins. I’m not the smartest guy. My business could certainly be bigger and better if I can get out of my own way and get other people to give me advice on it. What most of us need to do is spend less time running our business and more time getting exposure to other people who can see our business through a different lens and then somehow deciding which are the easiest ideas to put in place that will give us momentum.
I think that there’s this balance in life and business around the reality that there’s simplicity in everything and there’s a throughline to everything. Everything’s the same in some capacity. Also, recognizing that there’s nuance in all of it. The way that I try to look at things is by looking for the pattern that applies most of the time. My staff is good at, “Yeah, yeah, but.” There are exceptions. What do I do in this scenario? The answer is, “That’s fine.” These are the guiding principles.
My guiding principles that are focused on this would be, do managers and leaders need to know how to interview better? Yes. Do they need to know how to run meetings? Absolutely. Should they be better at delegating? Probably. Do they need to be trained in time management? Yes. Do they coach people? Should they be trained in coaching? Yes. I found the ones that are, “Yes, of course,” and then how do I get them to bronze or silver?
I want something better than gold, Cameron. Can we do diamond?
You could, but for me, there are diminishing returns because I often will stop. If I can’t get them to diamond, then I won’t do it but silver is way better than where they are currently. If I can get everybody to bronze and get silver, that gives me so much leverage. There are companies out there like General Electric with their Six Sigma and their Black Belts.
They’ve got everybody dialed in, but even at General Electric, it’s only 1% or 2% of their employees are Black Belt Six Sigma, only those are at the platinum or gold level, but we do recognize or we need to recognize that we need to grow our people to some level. We need to interview better than we interview now unless you’re a company that’s certified and trained in Topgrading and stuff like Brad and Geoff Smart.
I appreciate the time as always. I’m looking forward to more of it.