Why You Don't Want Your Next Hire to Be a Rock Star
When you start a company, a natural tendency is to try to bring on other employees who are passionate stars--just like you. One of the hardest lessons an entrepreneur learns is that rock stars are rare and--even if you find one--won't care about your dream and vision as much as you do. They are looking for their own stage.
I often hear entrepreneurs or small business owners say, "I don't want to hire someone just looking for a job." But, in truth, the best course is probably to find that kind of solid operational-type employee.
Here's what you need to know when hiring someone who's just "looking for a job":
He will do a good job.
Just because he doesn't live and breathe your company the way you do doesn't mean he won't do a good job, or that you could do it better. The fact is, he may be more deft to execute certain tasks without obsessing as you might about aspects that don't really matter. You are building your dream; he is getting a job done without the emotional attachment. Learning to let go helps you focus on more strategic aspects of building your business--where your team really needs you to pay most attention.
He will follow the rules.
Rock stars are not rule followers. If you have a task that needs to be accomplished, assigning it to a rock star might be a mistake. Rock stars are likely to spend time trying to change it to something better or new. That said, an employee who is "just" doing his job will do it exactly the way he is taught, which is great for repetitive tasks that require precision.
He'll be loyal.
Rock stars are always looking for the next big thing--and are rarely willing to hang around for the long haul, especially if they don't think their star will shine. True rock stars are probably working on their own thing on the side anyway, and your company is either a training ground or a temporary paycheck. On the other hand, hiring that individual who wants a "job," gives you a degree of stability and predictability. Your investment in his training is for the long term. He gives you a base to build from so you can concentrate on more complex aspects of your business.
You'll need to build him up to get him to step up.
Rock stars are always looking for accolades and recognition, and they will definitely ask to step up to the next position or challenge. A good solid worker, though, will rarely ask for recognition and may actually be hard to get to step up to the next role. He'll even likely tell you he can't do a job, even when he may already be doing it. It's up to you to encourage and advocate for him. Your other employees will stay around longer when they see a reliable staffer recognized and promoted for his hard work.
He'll keep a different schedule.
One of the first things I delegated was managing other people's calendars. I unapologetically love to work and don't separate my personal life from my professional life, but I'm not naive enough to think everyone else will follow my schedule. When others tell me about the details of when they are coming in, leaving, or taking vacation, I start having heart palpitations. Delegate managing your staff hours as soon as possible and trust that the work is getting done, even if it's more structured and defined than your around-the-clock style.
He'll keep you in check.
These "regular" employees will give you clues as to when you might need to dial it back. Productivity will suffer if people don't have a break. Working with those who have a more balanced approach to work can also help you keep your personal life in perspective.
ERIC V. HOLTZCLAW is a serial entrepreneur who has founded multiple startup companies, including one of the first profitable Internet enterprises. His last company appeared on the Inc. 5000 three years in a row. Holtzclaw advises clients on the whys of business--why customers buy, why teams work, and the all-important "entrepreneurial" why. He is the author of Laddering, and his weekly radio show, The "Better You" Project, shines a spotlight on entrepreneurs' individual business journeys and successes. To learn more about Holtzclaw, visit ladderingworks.com or e-mail email@example.com.
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