Momentum Podcast: 411

Beware Of Big Corporate When Hiring

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

Recruiting new team members is exciting, it means that your business is growing and you're moving forward. When you're hiring and you get somebody who has come from a big name corporate company, you feel like you've hit the jackpot. This person is going to solve all your problems. The challenge is, there is a massive difference between the way people work in large corporations and how entrepreneurial teams work.

If you're hiring in your business I want you to be careful because you might think you're winning with the person from the large corporation with the impressive resume but there is a monumental shift that person will need to make in order to survive in your entrepreneurial business

Full Audio Transcript

When you're building a team for an entrepreneurial company, it's critical you get people who are all in, true believers, ready to help your business grow. Now there's one place you have to be careful because if someone has too much experience at the wrong type of company, it can make it very difficult for them to be successful in your entrepreneurial business.

There's a scenario I have watched play out all together too often in entrepreneurial companies. In fact, I personally have been in the middle of this very challenge in a company that I was involved in when I was in my 20s. It's where entrepreneurial businesses grow to a point where they get excited and they're growing and they have volume and then they go out and start recruiting and they feel like they've hit the jackpot when they get somebody from a big name, Fortune 500 or Global 100 company and they feel like, that's going to solve their issues.

It sounds something like, oh you know, we've been growing, we're finally at six million and we've recruited a senior VP from Proctor and Gamble or Gillette or Microsoft or some other large corporation and we can't wait to have them onboard and see all the changes they're going to make.

Well I was in that scenario in my 20s. I actually was part of a consultancy where my partner hired the author of Topgrading, Brad and Jeff Smart. Actually the father son team that authored Topgrading and I can't remember the other books. It's pretty much the bible on recruiting top talent. He hired them to come to the business that we were running together, analyze our company and figure out what we really needed as far as people. They did an analysis of the business and here's what they determined.

My partner didn't want to run the business, his name was Ken. He didn't want to run the business and I was effectively running the business. They determined I didn't have enough experience and so what their solution was is that Ken and I should go through an exhaustive search and hire a CEO that was going to come in and run the business for us. I was the minority shareholder, Ken made the decision to go ahead and do it. We went out and we ran this exhaustive search and we hired someone that Ken was over the top excited about. It was one of the senior vice presidents at Microsoft in Latin America, Microsoft Latin America. Somebody who'd run a big part of the business for Microsoft and he was coming into our business and he was going to take over and he was going to show us how to run it.

Within about one minute, he and I clashed. I couldn't, here's why. He didn't work. He didn't do anything. He just sat around talking and having conversations and he infuriated me because he didn't want to be productive. I can remember, one of the first things that we did was he flew into south Florida and we were going to have a meeting with our entire team. We flew in our team. We had everybody in south Florida. We got together and when I would have meetings with my team, they would go from about 8:30 in the morning until about 7:00 at night. When we flew everybody into south Florida, I wanted to make sure we got as much productivity as we possibly could and we made it happen.

I remember the first meeting I was ever in with this new CEO, we worked from about 8:00 until noon and then we left at noon and we went for about a four hour lunch somewhere. With the team. And we were talking and talking about family and I was sitting there and everybody else was having a great time because here's the new CEO of the company and if he's going to have a four hour lunch with us then that's really what we should be doing. But as one of the owners of the company, I can remember thinking, what the heck are we doing here? We are burning daylight. We're burning dollars. It was driving me crazy.

The result was, after not too long of working with this person, I went to my partner and him and told them I just couldn't do it. I had to leave. I didn't want to work with him anymore. I didn't want to report to him. I didn't want to be beholden to him. I didn't respect him. And I told them I wanted to leave the business and I was going to take a small part of the consulting business we had and give them all of the shares that I had in the company.

And I remember when we had that conversation, they were giddy. I could tell that they were so excited. They were getting rid of me. Getting my shares and all they had to do was give up the domestic part of our business. I can remember I was giddy 'cause I wanted to get out from under this guy and I knew I could build the business back up.

Well here's what happened in that scenario. This new CEO that we brought in, this new savior that we brought in who had worked at Microsoft and had done all these important things, within nine months he had effectively put Ken's side of the business out of business. Ken ended up going to work with Xerox and having to get a job. Nine months later, my business had grown exponentially. In fact, it had exploded and it went on to continue exploding and we signed new lines and we got new manufacturers we were working with. And I built a team and I grew it like crazy and I went all in. I obsessed over it. I didn't take any days off. I worked all the time because I'm an entrepreneur. That's how you do it when you have to do it.

The challenge with hiring somebody from corporate, the challenge with winning and getting the person from the big company is this, in large corporate organizations, the average person only really works on productivity a few hours a week. I've read studies on it. I've read anywhere from six to 12 hours is what the average person in a corporate position is productive in a entire week. Can you imagine as an entrepreneur being productive six to 12 hours? I would have a heart attack. I wouldn't be able to deal with myself. I'd be frustrated with myself. I'd be upset every single morning and just like sideways.

But, when you look at large corporations, they actually train people not to be productive. There's so many meetings and interruptions and other things that they're doing and emails and being blind copied and doing stuff to CYA, cover your backside. All of those things detract from being productive but they help you survive in a corporate environment. And in corporate environment, it's the impression of what you've done, not what you've really done a lot of the time that counts. People in a corporate environment learn how to give the impression they're productive. How to quote unquote, become more responsible for things. How to take on more responsibility 'cause in a company, you want to have as much responsibility as you can with the lowest amount of work that you have to do because then if you have a lot of responsibility they can't get rid of you and if you're not doing that much work, then you're really winning.

If you're hiring in your business, I want you to be careful because you might think you're winning when you hire the person from the large corporation. You might think you're winning when you get the person with the impressing sounding resume but if you're hiring someone who's been in large corporations their whole career, there's going to be a monumental, tectonic shift they have to make in order to survive in your entrepreneurial business. When it comes to hiring in a small business, be careful. You want people who show a long track record not just of success but of productivity. When you talk to them and you interview, you want to hear that they are obsessed with what they do and that they work on it like crazy. You want to hire the people that when they get something wrong, it keeps them up at night. You want to hire the people that are so committed and have a chip on their shoulder 'cause they want to show that they are capable and that they can accomplish and that they can achieve success.

Oftentimes, you will not find that from the big name corporations. I went through that scenario when I was younger and since then I have watched dozens, maybe even more, of friends of mines, of clients of mine, of small businesses that I know, have the celebration and put the press release for the person that they recruited from the major corporation, only to have weeks or maybe even months later, have that person quietly leave the company in a termination because they can't believe how little the person actually does.

When you're recruiting, be careful. Sometimes the big corporate reputation isn't all it's cracked up to be. Find people who want to be productive. Find people who are excited about getting work done. Find people who have a chip on their shoulder and want to prove just how much they can do and you'll have the people around you who you will trust because they will work as hard as you do. Be careful with big corporate, there's a lot of habits there that don't help in an entrepreneurial business.

If you're ready to start building a team around the opportunity you've created, if you're ready to start really growing your business fast and experiencing the explosive exponential growth, you know is potentially there and take advantage of the opportunity you have, help more people and make an even bigger impact, do one thing right now. Go to Fill out the short application we have. You'll get on the phone with a member of my team or with me and let us show you how we can help you build your company faster, grow a team around and take advantage of the opportunity you've created. Make a bigger impact and never feel like you're doing it all yourself.

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