Empire Building Episode Recap: Who You are in Business with Matters

Empire Building

In this episode of Empire Building, we dive into the topic of hiring & training — one of the single most important things leaders can do to be successful.

“We are the sum of the five people we spend the most time with.”

– Jim Brown

Who you surround yourself with is extremely important. Why wouldn’t you pick the very best of the best to spend 8-10 hours a day with?

Empire Building breaks this down into 3 easy steps:

1. Framework on how to evaluate yourself as a leader. 

2. Framework on how to evaluate who’s on your team. 

3. How to adopt and develop the right talent mindset to attract more talented team members.

Vija leads the way on how to evaluate yourself as leadership by sharing her journey. She describes the framework as a leadership pyramid, saying, “Your pyramid can only be as big as your foundation.” Self-leadership is your foundation. Before you evaluate a single team member when concerned with their performance, you have to ask yourself, as a leader, are you doing the 3 fiduciary tasks you are responsible for?

  • Have I, as a leader, set the standard? It is crystal clear?
    • This may require you to over-communicate.
  • Am I providing the environment, tool, and coaching for my team to succeed?
    • This is where a lot of organizations can fail — normally the issue is coaching.
  • Inspect what you expect and provide accountability.
    • Create a list of expectations and put it in front of your team at least once per week. You need to hold them accountable daily. Then have someone go back and inspect.
    • Once you find the disconnect, go back in and coach around what you found.

As a leader, you need to understand that having massive turnover should trigger you to look into your processes and update them as needed on a weekly, quarterly, and yearly basis. Giving your team the opportunity to learn from what failed will improve performance. The new people on your team may need access to their leader more often to help them understand the expectations you lay out. They need to know what success looks like to you.

If you’re a very talented person, you do not want to go to work with a bunch of people that don’t match your ability. Talent wants to be around the best because they know they are going to motivate you and pull you up. Andy Stanley said, “It’s always the talented, good people that leave a dysfunctional organization first.”

The way to organize your people is simple and easy. Write down everyone’s name and give them a score of 1-10. You then understand your levels; 1-4 is Red, 5-7 is Yellow, 8-10 is Green. 

Red zones harm your organization and harm themselves by doing something that doesn’t help them. They have no desire to perform. Yellow zones have potential but might be lacking or not have clarity on their role. Green zones need to be celebrated and recognized for the great work they are doing. Their stories will help attract other great talent.

The beauty of building a larger organization also allows you to build a bench of talent. This means if someone leaves or does not meet your standards for performance, you have someone ready to take their spot if needed. You should have goals around talent, such as making a rule of having at least 2 employees deep for a given role. 

Being in a pandemic puts empire builders in a unique situation. You may have access to talent that wouldn’t have given you the time of day before, but now might be looking. It’s ideal to promote from within, but given the wealth of talent currently available, a lack thereof is not a viable excuse. 

As a leader, identify where you’re lacking in the framework. Even though you may have an established operations manual or training regiment, are they as good as they could be? Are they clear to understand? Are you holding your leaders accountable for executing on them? 

To hear more from these talented Empire Builders, download the Empire Building podcast today through your podcast app or visit https://go.kw.com/empire-building.

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