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  • Writer's picturePaul Seabridge

Hire people smarter than you

Do you think if Richard Branson doesn’t show up to work that his companies don’t perform?

Of course not. Richard Branson is a master at recruitment. He brings great people to run his businesses – often for less money than they were paid in their previous job.

A business were the owner is heavily involved in the day to day operation will stifle growth.

Your business needs to run & effectively function without you.

You need to think strategic. Recruitment.

I built a global recruitment business doing just this, not only did we help our clients hire the best of the best but I assembled a world class leadership team that meant I had people smarter than me at running & growing a recruitment business. Why did I do this? Why did I want people smarter than me? Not because I wanted to be the dumbest person in the room, but because I wanted the best people – if I had the best people I had one of the biggest ingredients in my business that meant it had a fighting chance to grow (I had people there that had done it before, knew how to do it again & make it happen).

So how do you find great people? It really depends what you want? If you want a good sales person – go find someone selling products or services to your target market, or selling what you sell but doing it for the competition.

If you need someone with finance/accounting skills, go hire a really good accountant from your competition or from a similar business to yours – it depends on whether sector experience is important. In my business I didn’t need someone with ‘recruitment finance’ experience I needed someone that had worked in finance and been used to working through a fast growth business.

You phone them up yourself, you tell them you are looking for someone just like them to run X project or X team or the company or whatever role you want them to play. You tell them your vision and what & how you are creating it. You talk passionately. You tell them you will stop at nothing to achieve that vision which includes making sure you will pay whatever it takes to assemble the best team.

Having recruited for FTSE 100 & Fortune 500 companies as well as many SMEs in the UK, US & Europe I can tell you that whilst money may be an important factor, it is not the reason why people move. 67% of people move because of the opportunity.

I know one entrepreneur running a £10m telecoms company – he managed to recruit someone from a FTSE 100 company (who was paid £400k a year) running operations, and he managed to recruit them for £150k a year, why – the guy was bored in his ‘corporate’ way of life and wanted to experience working in an entrepreneurial fast growth business – he wanted to build something himself. He wanted a challenge. He had a mega bonus that if he doubled the company from £10m to £20m he would earn a £1m bonus. He earned the bonus.

Its all well and good hiring the right people but you need to give them the space to work & do there job & you need to lead them.

The way I have learnt over the years is to apply to 10-80-10 rule when it comes to managing my direct reports – 10% of my time is spent defining what I want. “Hey I want you to look at this project, or how we can achieve XYZ”. I outline what I want, and my thoughts on how I think it should be done. I ask them what they think? I tell them, I want them to go and work something out. They then do 80% of the work. The last 10% is check through what they have done & provide feedback. If you got your recruitment right, then you can probably get to a point were the last 10% isn’t necessary. Early on you will say “when you have something, come run it by me” – once you can see their capability you say “ok get on and do it. I’m hear if you need anything, but I’m happy for you to run with this”. All you do is ask “how are you getting on with the project” or at the end of successful deliver “you did a great job”.

The vision needs to be bold, you need to deliver it passionately, and you need to get your team inspired by what you are wanting to create.

So you assemble the smartest people you can afford;

You inspire them with your vision;

You apply to 10-80-10 model;

You motivate them – read Adrian Websters book “Polar Bear Pirates” about great inspirational leadership – I particularly like his section on TNTs.

TNTs are ‘tiny noticeable things’ – these could be simple things like remembering when its your staff members birthday and sending a bunch of flowers, or bottle of bubbly, or just simply a birthday card.

Be a great boss. Be a great leader.

Go get recruiting!

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