Tag Archives: Hire

What is Your 3-Year Plan? Six Suggestions

Situation: A founding CEO wants to cut back to 1-2 days per week with someone else overseeing day-to-day operations. Her timeline to accomplish this is 3 years. Currently she splits her time between engineering and sales support, managing operations, overseeing the CFO and managing the company. How do you accomplish this transition? What is your 3-year plan?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Advertise for and hire a General Manager/engineer who can understand the company’s applications and develop unique solutions.
  • Advertise for and hire an understudy for the sales person. This could be someone in their 40s who is experienced, and who can act both as the sales person’s back-up and develop additional accounts to diversify the business.
  • As the company continues to grow it will take more time and effort to manage all the activities. Plan the company’s organization chart and infrastructure to account for this.
    • Be careful not create an infrastructure during good times that is unsustainable during down times.
  • As the new GM gains familiarity with the company, this individual will and should start to take control. This automatically means that the founding CEO will have to agree to release some of her control. Prepare for this.
  • Consider several alternatives for the GM:
    • Super President – $400K.
    • GM with engineering talent – perhaps a consulting or engineering sales background. Hire at $150-200K and develop into the President.
    • Given the 3-year lead time this individual could be a Technical Lead or Project Engineer. The objective will be to develop a very talented person into the GM or President. This alternative opens a larger pool of talent, at lower initial cost.
  • Where are these people found?
    • Trade association contacts.
    • A high-quality engineer that another CEO won’t be hiring over the coming months. Talk to friends and industry contacts.

How Do You Replace Aging Talent? Four Options

Situation: A CEO is concerned that all her key personnel are over 50. This includes software engineers who are experts in languages which remain at the foundation of many customers’ databases, but which are no longer formally taught. How do you replace aging talent?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Look at which areas potentially limit the company’s growth. Is it technology and software expertise, or marketing and sales? Based on this assessment, rank the critical positions to be filled and start hiring staff who can grow into the most critical positions.
  • Take a cue from the Japanese. For years their aging workforce was predicted to limit the country’s growth. Instead, they chose to retain employees through their 70s and this has helped them to maintain both productivity and employment.
    • Many Baby Boomers are finding that they don’t have the savings to retire and are working well past the historic retirement age.
    • Other Baby Boomers retired but found themselves bored after a productive career and have returned to the labor pool.
    • These factors may delay the company’s need to replace aging talent.
  • The bigger question is what to do if a key player is lost. Focus on hiring back-ups to key personnel and allow several years for them to come up to full speed. Current employment trends suggest that numbers of experienced people are returning to the labor pool. Look for a few good people to add to the team.
  • What are the plans of the company’s key clients? Do they plan to stay with the company’s products and expertise, or to sunset these and replace them with new technology? Adjust operational objectives, as well as the exit strategy, to achieve desired growth given customers’ timeframes.

How Do You Build Consistency and Reliability as You Scale Up? Three Keys

Interview with Greg Hartwell, CEO and Managing Director, Homecare California, Inc.

Situation: Fast growing companies find it difficult to manage consistency and reliability of service as they scale to their next level of growth. They need to systematize what works and leverage technology to enjoy the benefits of scale. How do you build consistency and reliability as you scale up?

Advice from Greg Hartwell:

  • Invest time and effort to build an experienced management team. As a small company building a new service delivery model, it is helpful for the founders to know all roles so that you have a sense of what’s needed for each role.
    • Be open to hiring people from other industries. This brings a fresh perspective and broadens the pool of talent. There’s value in industry experience, but attitude and cultural fit are key.
    • The split between tactical and strategic skills is 80 / 20. Basic skills are necessary, but specialized knowledge can be learned.
  • Institutionalize how you recruit, screen, hire, train and retain. How do you do it like Disney – attracting and hiring the best of the best?
    • Know your market and the personality of those who will excel. This greatly simplifies the screening process.
    • Work hard on training. Our customer-focus starts with our employees. We complement natural talent with training that focuses on soft skills, and on consistency and reliability of service.
    • Find great advisors who can help build a training and retention system that works for you.
    • Minimize turnover by compensating people well, and treating them even better. Build a culture of recognition and shared experience that emphasizes the importance of the team and its members.
  • Embrace technology which enhances your ability to scale.
    • Don’t wait for something bad to happen and then rush to fix it. Anticipate and prevent mishaps.
    • Leverage communication technologies to tighten the bond between client and provider agency. Provide added services that are valuable and affordable.
    • Hand-held device technology is developing rapidly. Leverage this to increase consistency and reliability of service, enhance case reporting, reduce human error, reduce the ratio of supervisors to caregivers, and increase productivity. Be at the head of your industry class!

You can contact Greg Hartwell at greg@homecarecal.com, www.homecare-california.com

Key Words: Fast, Growth, Consistency, Reliability, System, Technology, Benefit, Management, Requirement, Talent, Recruit, Hire, Train

Do You Hire for Character or Skills? Four Thoughts

Situation: A small company has a candidate who seems a great fit for their culture and comes with excellent references. However, this candidate has little experience in their industry. They are struggling to assess which is more important – the quality and character of the person or their experience and skill set? What is your opinion – do you hire for character or skills?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Overall, personality, character and values consistent with the firm’s values outweigh skills. However, if the individual needs significant training to attain the skills required for their new role, you must assess the ability of your firm to provide that training. Either that or bring them in at a lower level and let them grow into their eventual role.
  • If the candidate will fill a business development role, put them across the table from you and others, one-on-one, in a sales role play. Can they sell you on hiring them for the position? If the candidate will have to develop their own leads, make selling you on their ability to do this part of the role-play exercise.
  • Open up the search to other possible candidates, and assess the current candidate vs. others who may want the position. See if this individual rises to the top in a competition for the position.
  • Large company experience may not be relevant to the needs of a small firm. Better to find an individual with experience in a firm more similar to your size than with only big company experience.

Key Words: Hire, Candidate, Character, Culture, Skills, Experience, Training, Business Development, Compete, Large, Small