Sit down and invest the time to make a staffing ratio chart. If you don’t know where to start, don’t stress. We have an interactive tool available to help you 24/7. As an example, with our photography business, I know that one diligent and honest sales person who can sell $11,000 of photography services per week produces enough revenue to support eight part-time photographers and two full-time editors while producing approximately a 30% gross operating profit for the company. I know that every year the editors will come to me and say that they feel overworked during the wedding season and then they will be practically begging for work during the winter and non-wedding season months.
As a business coach, the goal here is to create the following systems within your company to help you always maintain the optimal levels of staffing without ever being over or understaffed.
1. Create a time in your calendar for weekly job postings.
2. Create a time in your calendar for weekly interviewing (As a business coach, I prefer the group interview because it saves time).
3. Place an agenda item in your weekly meeting with your managers to ask about any current or foreseen staffing problems.
4. Block out an ongoing training time in your weekly schedule to help train up honest and diligent people so that you can punt the skilled people who are not honest and not diligent. You can teach skill, but you cannot teach character.
Remember as you grow your team, an A-player will run circles around a B- or C-player. I have literally hired one person who was able to do the work of 5 B-players. You especially see this in sales.
“When you’re in a start-up, the first ten people will determine whether the company succeeds or not. Each is 10 percent of the company. So why wouldn’t you take as much time as necessary to find all the A-players? If three were not so great, why would you want a company where 30 percent of your people are not so great? A small company depends on great people much more than a big company does.”
(The co-founder of Apple and the former CEO of Pixar)
As a business coach, I have worked with many contractors over the years and almost universally see an A-player who literally works four times faster than everyone else and who has less call backs (where the technician has to go back to the property to fix something that wasn’t done right to begin with).
“If you pick the right people and give them the opportunity to spread their wings and put compensation as a carrier behind it, you almost don’t have to manage them.”
(Arguably the most successful CEO of his time. He grew GE exponentially during his tenure with the company.)
Don’t let the B- and C-players suck your soul or your finances. The mental grind and the amount of emotionally focused coaching required goes down dramatically when you hire only A-players. Remember, you must always be interviewing because if you don’t, you may miss that A-player out there who would allow you to fire that constantly yawning, slow-thinking, negativity-spreading, gossip-creating C-player you wanted to fire yesterday, but couldn’t.
“I noticed that the dynamic range between what an average person could accomplish and what the best person could accomplish was 50 or 100 to 1. Given that, you’re well advised to go after the cream of the cream. A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B- and C-players.”
(The co-founder of Apple and the former CEO of Pixar)
27.2 – Marshall Marination Moment: The Culture of an A-Player Team
As you’re building your A-player team, recognize the value of your A-players and grant them latitude to be great. I am NOT suggesting that you not hold them accountable. However, you may find it valuable to allow them to customize their workstations in a particular way, adhere to a different type of dress code for non-customer facing positions, work on special projects for the company, and lead different teams. Each A-Player will be a little bit different, so spend time identifying what makes each individual tick. While public recognition may not be what they value, making sure A-player employees understand how you value them is vitally important. While developing these A-players, it’s important that you not let B- and C-players influence their work ethic and thought process. This can be avoided as simply as adjusting the location of desks or workstations. As a business coach, I’ve specifically moved employees closer to each other or away from each other in order to impact their development. The last thing that A-players want are B- and C-players to get in their way of doing their job.
28.1 – Look at the Numbers Before You Leap into a Big Capital Investment
It’s very important that you look at a major purchase from every possible angle, analyzing all of the facts involved before you make any commitments. More times than not in the fast-paced world of business, business owners disregard this warning and begin taking small steps down the wrong path toward the infrastructure from hell as their company scales. As an example, as a business coach, I have found many new business owners start out buying the products and services they need from people they know.
Let’s say you purchased your computer parts from “a guy you know” who lives in Brooklyn, New York, who used to date your sister’s friend Andrea. Louie “the computer guy” was a great solution when you only had one location of Ray’s Pizza. Now, however you have multiple thriving locations of your Ray’s Pizza and Louie clearly does not know how to help you set up your IT systems for your nationwide expansion. Your business has clearly grown at a rate that has outpaced Louie’s rate of self-improvement and ongoing education.
At the same time Vinnie, a guy you know because he went to high school with your step-brother Joe, is no longer able to build you a website that looks modern and that is mobile compliant. You know this all to be true, but for some reason you are not willing to make a change of vendors because of your allegiance and unquestioned loyalty to Vinnie who went to high school with your step-brother Joe and Louie who used to date your sister’s friend Andrea. At this point, you must ask yourself the question, “if you hadn’t already spent the money and invested the emotional energy into the providers, tools, and vendors that you are currently using, what would be the most logical decision to make moving forward before investing a large amount of additional capital into a solution?”
“The time to take counsel of your fears is before you make an important battle decision. That’s the time to listen to every fear you can imagine! When you have collected all the facts and fears and made your decision, turn off all your fears and go ahead!”
-George Patton, Jr.
(He was a member of the U.S. Army who was in charge of the U.S. Seventh Army in many of the battles fought in the European and Mediterranean regions. He is best known for his leadership of the U.S. Third Army in both France and Germany after the Allied Invasion of Normandy in June of 1944.)