Breaking Down The Real-Life Principles That Matter To Help You Join The 4% Of Businesses That Make The Leap To 7-Figures
MANAGEMENT • 22 MIN READ
How To Build A World-Class Team That Don't Drain Your Time
To grow a business extremely fast, you need ONE key thing: Leverage.
And there are three core forms of leverage a business owner can use to scale their business:
Now, all three of these are essential… but which do you think is the most important for creating a massively successful business?
If you happen to say people, you are right.
After you put your systems in place, getting the right people to operate those systems is the key to building a successful business machine.
In their fantastic book ‘WHO’, Geoff Smart and Randy Street interviewed 20+ billionaires and 300+ CEOs about what it takes to build a successful business. When they asked what the biggest single factor in building one is, 52% said Management Talent (well ahead of the next item at 20%).
Talent…as in people, to take the business to the next level. Not tools. Not products. Not marketing or sales. Not strategy or industry.
When it comes to building a successful business, having a talented team around you is what matters most. In the beginning, it may be you and an assistant. You build success through pure hustle and grind, and it serves you well until you reach a point where it no longer does.
When you reach this point, you must accept what got you where you’re at and will NOT get you where you want to go. You need to evolve from an entrepreneur who does everything and works ‘in’ your business into a business owner who works ‘on’ your business.
The only way you can do this is to build a team.
Hiring a world-class team is something every business owner needs to do, regardless of industry and whether it’s a team of 10, 100, or 1,000. You need to do it, and you NEED to commit to the process because if you don’t, it WILL cost you a lot of time and money!
I know from personal experience that not building a good team affects your health, productivity and bottom line. It’s one of the key differences between remaining close to where you’re at and scaling to multiple millions.
So in this article, I’ll show you how to put the right team in place and set them up for success.
But First… How NOT To Hire World-Class Talent
When I ask my clients to share their biggest struggles, they tend to focus on how they have too much to do and not enough time. So we talk about their team and how they need to grow it, but I see the same resistance and excuses:
- It takes too long to find good people
- It’s too expensive to hire good people
- I don’t have the time to spend on hiring someone
- I don’t have the budget or excess money to pay someone else right now
- Nobody can do what I can do, and as well as I do it
- I’ve hired people in the past, but they let me down
- I don’t have the time to manage them properly
- This is the first problem most business owners face when hiring world-class talent: themselves
They don’t believe it’s possible to hire someone who can do the job as well as they can. They assume hiring “the best” is too expensive, and everyone else makes their life harder. They see the time spent hiring someone new as a waste, even though they know it will save them a lot of time in the future.
Frankly, it’s all an excuse.
Your job as a business owner is to build a world-class team who can do the work for you. Not only does this save you time, but it means your team can maximize your strengths and build on your weaknesses.
Without this, you don’t have a business… you have a hustle!
So your first obstacle to overcome is yourself. Because chances are you already hire people and already have a small team. Still, I suspect you go about it wrong like most business owners do… just as I used to.
Today, I appreciate how important it is to build a team and the “right” team of world-class talent. This is one of the most significant differences between successful business owners and everyone else because the highest achieving business owner commits ONLY to hiring the “right” talent.
Whereas everyone else settles for less. And I was one of them.
I’ve surrounded myself with a team for years, but I can tell you bluntly that for the first 3 years I was pretty horrible at hiring. I wasted a lot of time and energy by not learning how to recruit and retain great talent. In fact, not long ago, I would only keep 20% of the people who made it through my initial trial period.
That’s right… 1-in-5 people!
These weren’t applications. These were people who made the initial cut and who I paid to bring on our team. I was excited about them and had big plans… Yet after a few weeks or months, I would part ways with 80% of them!
This was insane.
I cannot tell you how much time and money this has cost me over the years (literally a few million dollars in missed opportunity cost and wasted time). I figured I was doing the right thing at the time because I was hiring and building my support staff.
But I still didn’t believe the “right” talent was out there. So like most business owners, I didn’t fully commit.
I felt like I was going to be better off doing it myself. Or I would go after the cheaper option, the easier option, the friend-of-the-friend and the first person who seemed like a good fit. I would then micromanage them, spend hours shadowing them and grow more frustrated as I wasted more-and-more time.
12 Tips To Build The Right Team & Help It Succeed
If you’re sat at your laptop right now thinking it’s impossible to hire world class talent because:
- It’s too expensive
- It takes too long
- The best talent is already taken
- Your business isn’t at that level yet
Then think again! NOT hiring a world class team could cost you millions (both in real and potential money).
So here are 10 tips to help you hire the right people.
1. Tap Into Your Existing Network
At first, when trying to fill roles, I was hiring freelancers (mostly part-time) and using job sites like Elance (now Upwork) with little success.
It was frustrating…but then I realized I was missing out on a huge opportunity.
As we teach our clients today, you’re standing over a field of diamonds.
Between your network and one degree away from your network, you likely have the perfect fit that you can hire.
In fact, 70-80% of people I’ve hired in recent years have come from my existing network – either directly or as a referral… And it’s now where we begin our hiring process.
So, this is where you should begin each new hiring process:
- Share a few posts on Facebook (and boost them / repurpose them into ads).
- Share posts on other platforms like Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram.
- Create a shortlist of people you know and reach out to them.
- Write 2-3 emails and share them with your list.
- Send personal messages and get your message out there! Ask people in your audience who they know who is a good fit. Ask them to share this message with their own audience, friends and network.
It would help if you treated hiring as a big marketing promotion.
Because it is even more critical than one marketing promotion (yet most business owners don’t treat it that way).
Before long, you’ll have applicants coming to you, but unlike when you post on a job board or job site, they already know you or are a referral from someone who does.
They won’t all be a good fit, but the quality of leads, in general, may surprise you (as I say, it’s led to more than 70% of my own world-class team!).
But don’t stop there because you need to tap into your network as well as your existing audience.
More specifically… Reach out to your A-Players!
I’m guessing you’ve built a strong network of peers over the years. Some are what you consider A-Players (successful people you’d love to have on your team if they were hirable).
The reason why this is important is that A-Players tend to know other A-Players.
If you want to hire world-class talent, reach out to them and ask if they know anyone. Who they refer won’t only be of a high standard, but you’ll also develop instant trust because you both know A-Player.
This is where to begin each new hiring process:
- Tap into your existing audience (if you have one)
- Tap into your network (especially A-Players)
You’ll often find the world-class talent you’re after, but only if you take this next hiring tip into account…
2. Push For Talent Outside Your League
The problem with tapping into your A-Players is that they often introduce you to other A-Players. This is great because this is how you find and hire world-class talent.
You may fear they’re out of your league:
- They have a lot of experience
- They demand a high wage
- They only have so much available time
- They expect a lot of bonuses and additions to their wage
- Again, this isn’t their problem. This is yours.
If you want to build a team of world-class talent, you need to accept (and embrace) that you must step out of your comfort zone. World-class talent doesn’t come cheap. World-class talent has a lot of experience. World-class talent expects a lot from you like you expect a lot from them.
But remember… they’re interested in working with YOU.
Here’s an essential hiring tip I learned recently that forever changed my thinking about hiring:
3. Test Potential Team Members Before You Hire
When I speak to clients about these hiring tips, I hear a lot of resistance. They know they need to do it and love the idea of doing it, but the reality of doing it worries them because they aren’t sure it’ll work out. There are so many unknowns…
Don’t worry. It’s always possible to “try before you buy”.
Not only do we have a couple of test tasks before someone gets to the final interview, but we then move them into a trial period. Whenever possible, you should set a trial period for your new hire. Personally, I place new hires (whoever they are) into two of these trial periods:
- Initial 14-day trial (to see if they’re a good fit)
- Extended 60-day trial (to see how they work over time and with the rest of the team)
You often get a good idea of whether someone’s a good fit within the first seven days, but don’t settle for this. You need to see how someone fits into your bigger picture over an extended period. So do not be afraid to set a 30-day… 60-day… or even a 90-day trial period.
The great thing is world-class talent “gets this”. In fact, they encourage it!
If someone is world-class at what they do, they already have work/offers/opportunities. Like you, they value their time, and they value the work they do. They don’t want to rush into a long-term contract without knowing how you work.
They want to trial you as much as you want to trial them.
The alternative is the person who wants to jump “into bed” straight away. People like this are desperate and tend to be desperate for a reason. It isn’t to say they aren’t world-class talent (or won’t become it), but it is a red flag.
A trial period is perfect for both them and you.
An interview or CV only shows the best best of a candidate. In contrast, actual work gives you an altogether deeper insight. This is also your chance to lay down your rules and expectations, which is where the next hiring tip comes in…
4. Set Crystal Clear Expectations For Your Team
Another excuse I hear from clients is that they have hired people in the past based on a great interview or trial, only to get let down after a couple of months. The last thing you want is to constantly search for new people, so you must find the “right” talent immediately.
This is your job, not theirs.
I often find these working relationships break down because there are no clear expectations. Your new hire comes into the role with an idea of what you want from them, and you have an idea of their own situation.
But there’s a lot of gray area in between.
It’s your job to make sure there is no gray area!
You have to set clear expectations. Not just about their job role but other traits like work ethic, teamwork, leadership, communication and everything else that comes into working with you.
- You’re not just hiring someone to do a task.
- You’re hiring them to be part of your culture.
And frankly, to become a part of your life (for most of us that have a reasonably small team).
Many layers come into this, so you must set clear expectations, so everyone’s on the same page from day one (the moment your trial period begins).
I struggled with this for years until I learned about a “Job Scorecard” from the book “WHO”. The Job Scorecard makes it easier to set clear expectations for each new hire and track their progress throughout their trial period.
This is what our version looks like:
The role scorecard is my favorite team tool. It’ll give you and your team more clarity. This in turn increases performance month to month by ensuring everyone is on the same page.
It takes a lot of the emotion and subjectivity out of management by having clear and defined KPIs to track and assess performance.
From here, your attention turns towards making the “right” decision…which leads us into the next hiring tip.
5. Go With Your Gut
At some point, you have to pull the trigger. Whether you have two applicants or two hundred, it’s hard to know when you have found the “right” talent.
Often, several people could do the job, and the truth is you never know whether someone will work out. A trial period helps, as does previous experience, referrals and credentials.
But eventually, you have to make a decision, and it’s often best to go with your gut.
When you bring someone into your team, you don’t only do so to fill a role. Yes, they will have specific responsibilities and direction, but it isn’t what they do that matters; it’s how they do it.
You are hiring them to be part of something, and you need to know you can trust them as you continue to grow your business. So… what does your gut tell you?
6. 100% Yes Or NO DEAL
When it comes to hiring world-class talent, there’s no in-between.
- 100% YES
- Or NO Deal!
No “sure”. No “maybe”. No, “I’ll think about it”. You are either ‘all in’ or not.
If you’re not, DO NOT hire them. If you are… HIRE them on the spot!
In my experience, it’s obvious when dealing with an A-Player. They make your life better within days.
I’ve yet to meet one and not feel it, and I’ve yet to feel 80% sure about someone and have them work out well. You have to be ‘all in’, but this is how many hiring problems arise because business owners hire people they are ‘kind of sure about.
They hope they will find their way or grow into the role after a few weeks.
And sure, sometimes this may happen. But do you want to take that chance?
To hire world-class talent, you must believe 100% that they are the right person for the job.
You must listen to your gut because credentials and experience only tell you so much. The final decision has to come down to whether you think they are the “right” person for the job, and this is easier to do if you know your vision is…
7. Set A Compelling Vision They Want To Be A Part Of (Is The Team Invested In You Or Your Money?)
A lot of the indecision you face comes down to fear: your fear that the person you hire won’t care as much or be nearly as good as you are.
After all, let’s say you find a talented hire, are 100% into them, and your gut tells you to pull the trigger. You expect a lot from this person, so if it turns out they don’t care about your business, it won’t work out.
The last thing you want is to build a team of world-class talent who cares only about money. Not only will this harm the culture you create, but this whole hiring process will cost you a lot. You don’t want to keep hiring for the same role, again and again, so you must ensure they’re in ‘this’ for the long term.
If they see you as a payday, you have a problem.
Maybe not in the short term, but that problem will undoubtedly grow in the future.
You can overcome this problem by crafting a vision for your business. As well as ensuring you’re 100% into them, you need to ensure they are 100% into you.
- Do they buy into your “big” picture?
- How do they see their role developing over time?
- Do they get excited about the prospect of where your business is going?
Marketers advocate creating a vision because it helps you share your story with your audience. I find creating a vision provides an even greater impact internally, helping you craft a game-changing culture.
So if you don’t have a VISION that you can share with a new hire in a couple of sentences, it’s a sign you aren’t ready to build a team of world-class talent (yet). Your vision helps your hire decide how into you they are and whether your business is a 100% yes or a shrug of the shoulders “sure”.
If it’s the latter, they will see you as a paycheck.
If it’s the former, they may be the world-class hire you’re looking for.
With this next hiring tip, you can be more sure and see if your values align…
8. Define Your Core Values & Measure Your Hires On Them (Is The Team “Into” Your Culture)
It’s one thing to have someone buy into your vision, but another if they’re the right person to be part of it.
This is where your core values come in because they help affirm whether you share the same ones. For example, my friend Scott has built a great company over the last few years with an incredible vision for the future.
He doesn’t have difficulty finding world-class talent who buys into his vision, but not all these hires last long. This often comes down to values and how they don’t always align with one another.
For instance, he’s open-minded and says what’s on his mind. He doesn’t tend to beat around the bush, and when he hired a bookkeeper a couple of years ago, it was obvious the two of them didn’t “click”.
She had talent. She loved the company’s vision and where it was heading. But there was a disconnect when it came to her values and her expectation of what Scott should say (and how he should say it).
Nobody is at fault in a situation like this. Your core values are valid, as are theirs.
The point is you need to ensure your core values align, and this is your job to get across. You need to define your core values early and ensure they know what you expect from them — not just their role but their interaction with the team.
This comes down to the culture you build.
- You cannot build a culture overnight.
- It evolves over time.
But YOU are the person who lays the foundations.
Here’s a short video on Core Values and how to create them for your company:
9. Make Your (Potential) New Hire Jump Through Hoops
Most people start a new role at full pace, excited to make an impression. But then, after a couple of months…they grow a little complacent.
So you cannot make it easy for them. Just because you’re 100% into them doesn’t mean you should leave them to their own devices.
To an extent, this is natural, and the only way to avoid this is to ensure you’re a fantastic leader who inspires them to bring their “best stuff” daily.
You can make your life easier during the trial period by placing them in difficult situations. Because they’re going to face many of these in the actual job, you might as well test them while it’s free!
- Set tight deadlines, even if you don’t need to…
- Force them to research and use their own initiative…
- Make their first few tasks different from one another, keeping them on their toes…
In short, push them to bring their A-Game from Day Zero!
The great part about hiring world-class talent is that they’re good at adapting and stepping up to the plate (at least, they should be). The sooner you put them in a situation to showcase this, the sooner you know whether they are world-class or not.
Don’t go easy on them, and above all… never… ever… EVER… rush this process.
10. Take It Slow
“Hire slow, fire fast.” Ever heard that before?
Of course, you have. Take this hiring tip seriously. It’s an important maxim that will save you tons.
Working with clients to overcome those early obstacles and limiting beliefs doesn’t take me long. They are soon ready to commit to the hiring process — which is great — what isn’t great is when they say:
"Let's do this. I'd love to have a new designer on the team next week."
And then our coaches bring the bad news: That ain’t gonna happen.
You have to take it slow!
- It’s easy to hire anyone, but not as simple as hiring the “right” one.
- You don’t tend to find world-class talent in a few days with Level 2 effort.
- Even when you do, you still need to take your time and ensure they’re the right fit.
Right person. Right seat. Right time. With the right support and structure. That stuff takes a bit more than a couple days usually.
If you go into this process and hope to have someone new onboard within a week or two, it’s a sign you have left it far too late. You’re at a stage where you NEED someone, which is one of the main reasons people settle for inferior talent.
Rushing this process will not help!
Remember, your job as a business owner is to hire the right person, not any person. The phrase that we’re talking about here is world-class. I want you to build a world-class team, not create more work for yourself with C-players.
Take your time, even if you feel you need someone now. Rushing and pushing to get it done NOW will not help you in the future and will only keep you on the ‘hamster wheel’ for longer. It will not help you, and something else that will not help is if you try to do too much at once…
11. Hire Only ONE Talent At Once
This is the other big problem I face when working with clients because once they appreciate the impact a world-class team will have on their business, they want to have it all RIGHT NOW.
Chances are you could highlight at least 3-5 roles you would like to fill for your own business today, and it’s easy to get caught in the excitement and commit to filling each one.
Do not do this. Only hire one talent at once.
It’s hard to find world-class talent. Done right, the process is easy, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy on you:
- You will have a lot of applications to go through…
- You will have a lot of calls and meetings to have…
- You will have specific processes to create…
- You will have work to review and some ‘shadowing’ to do…
Following the hiring tips in this article will waste less time and money than most business owners, but it doesn’t make the whole process a walk in the park. Plus, assuming you find your world-class talent, there’s still a period where they need to get used to you and your business.
If you spread your focus, you’ll settle for less, leading to you having to do it all over again when they don’t work out. But another reason you should only hire one talent at once is that you’ll refine your process each time.
- You will learn lessons
- You will spot shortcuts
- You will grow in confidence
- You will come up with new ideas
- You will create a system and set of processes
Does this take longer to build your team of world-class talent? Yes!
But it doesn’t matter. All that matters is building a world-class team, and it’s worth the time it takes. So take your time, focus on one person at a time, and make sure you set them up for success from day one…
12. Plan Your Team Onboarding Process
One of the most important things you need to do as a business owner is to take responsibility for this whole hiring process. You are the reason a new hire succeeds, and you are also the reason a new hire fails.
This is your business. These are your decisions.
It’s easier to blame other people when something goes wrong. Still, most hiring mistakes are because of the business owner, not the new hire. You can take control here and maximize your success by ensuring your indoctrination process is on point.
- Make your expectations clear.
- Show them what to do and how to do it.
- Create a process and set of instructions to follow.
- Give them the confidence to speak to you and ask questions.
- Provide a platform to share ideas and use their initiative.
In short, build a process that sets them up for success instead of hoping for the best and setting them up for failure.
Their role and your business determine this indoctrination process. Still, assuming you have followed the previous eleven hiring tips, you should find this easy to build.
At this stage, you know everything about them and their role, and they know everything about you and your business. All you have to do is lay this out so they know what to do, how to do it, and when they should.
- Do this, and you will sing off the same page.
- Do this, and you will set them up for success.
- Do this, and you will build a team of world-class talent!
The final bonus hiring tip I will offer is to resist the urge to micromanage your new hire (or team as a whole).
This is hard for many business owners and comes back to those initial fears we discussed earlier. Because managers only micromanage when they aren’t confident in the process they have built.
Once you follow these 12 hiring tips, you’ll have no reason to micromanage your team ever again. World-class hires don’t want that or need that.
And if you need help to build your world-class team, and then set them up for success, we’re here to help when you’re ready.
Build Your World-Class Team And Set Them Up For Success
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