Talent Arbitrage, or How I Find the Best People You Would Likely Miss
Admit it, it is hard finding talented people with a good attitude, who are not set in their own ways, and who are eager to improve their skills! Yes, we are already at a disadvantage since we don’t have the deep pockets of an IPOed company. But, we also tend to create several other self-inflicted major disadvantages: Using a fishing analogy, we “trawl” instead of using our line to fish for candidates. If your recruiting team complains about too many resumes, they either need to be re-educated or fired. We look for “Mr(s) Perfect Fit," which is just about the dumbest way to lose out on incredible talent. An unwillingness to hire people with the right foundations and mentor/t[more]
Signs It Is the Right Time to Hire an Operations Executive (COO or VP of Operations)
The day-to-day execution and administration of a business often takes an excessive amount of time, so the primary reason to augment your team with an Operations Executive is to maximize your CEO's and other co-founders' contribution to the enterprise. I firmly believe that staying true to a vision is best achieved by having a founder as CEO. It is almost always preferable over "hired guns" that can help you execute on the vision but seldom understand it as well and are often too pragmatic. That said, a management hire can be very much a champion of the vision and a true partner with the founder. Good managers are seldom unreasonable, and it takes “unreasonable people” to do the sorts o[more]
Your Past Restaurant Job May Be Worth More Than Education
Ever since I was a talent agent in the entertainment industry, I have been developing and continuously improving my patterns for detecting gifted people who are more talented than they know. One of my mentors used to say: "catch them before they have a chance to destroy themselves with swollen egos and visions of grander". After all of these years observing what kind of people do well and what kind end up bitter with their tails between their legs, I can bravely say that I got the pattern down pat. Yes, when I am seeking great people to join my teams, I use methods and patterns to be efficient. So what are the methods to my madness? 1. I want to know if you have ever worked in retail o[more]
7 Rules for How to Sell to “Darth Vader”
We all know there are a lot of bad sales people, just like there are a bunch of lousy artists. I therefore have a great appreciation for excellent sales professionals. Plus, being an operations executive is truly a sales job, and I have to get a buy-in on any larger initiative. I also have been in sales myself, built many systems to make "sales hunting" easier, and recruited my share of sales people. So where does Darth Vader come in? Blame it on one of the Boston's best sales masters - Matthew Bellows, founder of Yesware, which is a really useful e-mail tool for sales. I recently went to see one of Matthew’s stellar presentations. Unfortunately, the video isn’t available online yet,[more]
Myths Why Startups Don’t Need COOs and Operations Executives
As my regular readers know, I am a startup operations veteran with "battle scars" from 9 startups (co-founder in 2 and early employee in most). I have acquired a PhD in operations from the school of hard knocks after years of being around some very smart people and working on difficult problems. Today, I am going to address some common misconceptions about startup operations executives. Let’s get to it! First and foremost, let’s get the lingo and caveats out of the way, since many myths start and won’t die because of a substantial lack of clarity. What’s the difference between a COO, VP, Director of Operations, or GM? – Depending on where your company is based, how it[more]
Better Solution to Outdated One Time Employee Referral Bonuses
One time employee referral bonuses need to go the way of the dodo. They are an antiquated reward system that motivates the wrong things. Yes, some of the most well known companies use them, but these companies end up hurting both themselves and also the business community. Even the biggest morons can waste investor/company money, so enough with these one time referral bonuses! Before I suggest a solution, let me tell you why one time referral bonuses are a waste of money: One time large rewards do not work! The effect of the bonus wears off by the next paycheck. I’ve seen this happen many times - it is often like flushing thousands down the toilet. The person referring the can[more]
What Do Operations People Do?
Your operations people are the reason customers are happy, vendors continue providing you with services, and employees have enough resources. Operations team is the "A-team" of vision logistics and their #1 mission is to take care of the organization (feed it, protect it, and maintain it). Not all small companies and startups have operations teams, since a company has to mature to have one. In addition, operations is functionally incorporated into other divisions in many companies and only officially becomes separate once the company becomes a sustainable business. “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.” - Muhammad Ali That quot[more]
12 Lessons I’ve Learned From My Mistakes Managing Employees
Ever since I discovered a phenomenal app called Evernote (it works on all my devices!!!), I have been diligently documenting the lessons I learn each day. I also write drafts of blog articles whenever inspiration hits. If you don't have Evernote, get it; it will change the way you work. That said, in the last couple of weeks, several conversations with my consulting clients and venture-running friends motivated me to dig into my notes and produce this post. Since people management seems to be the dominant discussion I am having these days (sales operations and marketing automation are a close second), here are 12 lessons I’ve picked up along the way about leading and managing employees [more]
Stop Wasting Resources on Improving Weaknesses!
So here is my question for the many organizations that have an unhealthy fascination with improving the weaknesses of their talent: How was Michael Jordan in baseball?.. Exactly! I started my career as a talent agent. Yes, a talent agent in the entertainment industry. I even went to the top school in the field, Columbia College Chicago, to study under some of the luminaries. Even though I transitioned to the technology industry half way through my career, I picked up a lot of wisdom from several of my mentors/teachers including Irwin H. Steinberg (founder of Mercury Records and CEO of then 2nd largest record label in the world - Polygram) and Joey Edmonds (talent agent who discovered gre[more]
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