I Wanted To Fire Them All
For a long time, I was a solo-preneur.
I was great at what I was doing. Heck, I thought I was the best.
But I knew I couldn’t scale ME.
At some point, I was going to have to hire some help… and that scared the shit out of me.
But I dove in, and I hired someone.
Probably one of the scariest—and most exciting—moments of my life.
I had these crazy visions of lazying around on the beach, sipping spiced rum, and kicking back as my staff handled everything for me.
Until they didn’t.
Until they messed up.
Until they were rude to a client.
Until they insulted a fellow employee.
Until they stole from me.
Until it all fell apart.
I was pulling my hair out, going crazy. Why can’t they just do it the way I do it? Why can’t they do what I ask of them? Why don’t they do what I do so easily, so naturally, so perfectly?
Ever notice how modesty and perspective goes out the window when you’re upset? I was perfect, they were all a bunch of screw ups.
Okay, it wasn’t that bad. But it drove me nuts. The smallest things…
The way they’d look at a client wrong.
The way their inflection and tone was off.
The way they replied to emails.
All little things, but they weren’t up to my standards!! And come on, it’s my business, my baby, my life.
It was driving me nuts, so I started venting to fellow business friends about it, and they’d all join in on the vent with little comments like, “Staff—can’t live with them, can’t live without them,” or worse, “People these days don’t know how to work!”
I was finding myself agreeing with them, until one (far wiser) associate gave me this advice:
“An inferior action done by a subordinate today is better than a superior action done by you never.”
That. Was. Gold.
It stopped me in my tracks and made me realize I was being a baby about it.
OF COURSE your staff will never have the same passion for your business as you do… if they did, they’d quit and start their own business!
But, if they can do something 80% as good as you, it’s WORTH IT! Heck, even 50%.
WHY? Because it’s SCALABLE.
You can’t scale you.
But you can scale an employee, even at 50% efficiency.
And from that moment on, my attitude towards my employees changed and it transformed my business.
But he didn’t stop there… he also added this little jab…
He said, “As the business owner, the buck stops with you.”
And he was so right.
I stopped complaining. If you want something done right, don’t do it yourself—make sure you TRAIN/COACH/LEAD/SYSTEMATIZE the process so they can do it right.
I took the time to build systems, training modules, checklists, and processes for everything.
I took the time to support my staff more than ever.
I built in expectations, processes, and measurement systems.
I kept on them, I kept them accountable, and I made sure I was there to support them.
They are your staff, and they may work FOR you, but they don’t HAVE to… So treat them right.
They aren’t your children—those guys are stuck with ya 😉
One last parting thought…
If you plan on GROWING beyond where you’re at, you need to build as much of your business on SYSTEMS as you can, not talent.
If your business needs raw talent to grow, you’ll always be struggling to scale. But if you can scale on systems, you’re all set.
“But my business is all about talent, without talent we don’t have a business!”
What about dentists? They’re based on talent, but they built systems around EVERYTHING ELSE, and then the dentist comes in for all of 5 minutes, does the big important stuff only THEY can do, then staff handles the rest.
Same with surgeons. They don’t do any of the prep. They show up, they do what only THEY can do, and they build systems around everything else.
I can guarantee you that there are MANY things in your business you can build systems around.
And THAT is how you grow an empire.
I mean, hey, if McDonalds can take a bunch of pimpled hormone-raging teenagers and build an empire….surely you can too!
To your success 🙂