When you’re a business leader, it’s only natural to want the best employees to help you run your organization. You expect the best from the people you choose to get on board, but can you pass their expectations of you and the role as well? In this episode, host John Laurito talks about what a leader must do before hiring people. Based on his own experience, he shares the things that need to be defined and expectations to be set to hire the A-Players and keep them in your company.
[0:42] How do you bring people into your organization?
[4:10] Things an A-Player need
[6:55] So before you bring A-Players in…
John Over the last two decades, I’ve been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership. Obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good after running companies small and large for the last 20 years. Today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name’s John Laurito, and I’m your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic. What makes the best leader so good? Welcome to tomorrow’s leader!
John All right, welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dive deep on all things leader-related, related to leading yourself, and leading others. I am John Laurito, your host today and in a different spot of my house. Figured, what the heck, you know, why am I sitting at a desk all time when I want to just get up and move around and stuff? So I’m doing that today because I really felt like I needed to stand up. And um, so you’re looking at a different background if you’re watching me.
So in any event, let me share with you today’s topic. I had a conversation with somebody that is actually going to be an upcoming podcast that I interviewed for the podcast, and he and I were talking about the concepts of when an organization is trying to hire people. What are all the things that need to happen before that? And what are the mistakes that people make and everything like that? And he got me to thinking about what I think is a really important consideration for leaders and something that I have dealt with personally many, many times. And I’ll share with you a story about a mistake that I made in this area. But it has to do with the whole concept of how you bring people into your organization. And I want to talk about and I want to go through a zillion different things, but I want to talk about one specific aspect of how you bring people into your organization. And this, I think, can be multiple episodes because there’s so much to how you onboard somebody and so much to learn from companies and organizations that have done a great to organizations that have not.
John And we’ve all been part, for those of you who have worked at different organizations and companies, of an onboarding process. And for some of you, you may look and say, you know what, that company did a great and others. You may look and say, Wow, there was so much lacking or I just didn’t feel like I was part of the organization or it was disorganized or whatever. So I’m not going to talk so much about the process. But what I do want to talk about is the concept of what does need to happen before you are even in the process of looking for someone. Now what I thought of for a long time is I said, You know what? And I actually had a mantra around this. They said, if we get a bunch of great people together in this organization, they are going to figure out how to do great things, great people, you know, collaborate, collaborating together in a group together, figure out how to do pretty amazing things. And there’s some sense to that. I’m not saying that’s totally flawed, but it is flawed in the sense that if they do not have a clear expectation and objective and they do not know exactly what their role is, it’s a recipe for disaster.
John OK, so I face this and I’ll give you an example. I brought in somebody who I was really excited about in one of my organizations. His name is Ed. You know who you are out there. And Ed, I looked at and said, Wow, this guy is awesome. He’s a great fit for the organization. Super smart guy brought a lot of talent, brought a lot of expertise, brought what I thought is a great culture fit to the organization. And I said You know what, I’m going to bring this guy in. Admittedly, at that time, I was somewhat unclear as to what I would be having him do, but I figured, you know what, if I get this guy in this organization, he’s going to do great things. He’s not the type of guy that I need to handhold or whatnot. I can just kind of let loose in the organization, let him do his thing, and he’s just going to make stuff happen. That’s bad leadership on my part. Right. Because what I forgot is this essence, this whole essential part of how you work with and develop A-players.
John So if you think about it, A players need three things or they’re going to either not join your organization to begin with, or they’re going to be part of your organization, and eventually, they’re going to leave. If A-players do not feel like they are making as big of an impact as they can make. OK, not just an impact, but as big of an impact as they can make. If they don’t feel like they are growing, and also they don’t feel important or valued, then they will leave. They need those three things. They need to know that they’re making the biggest impact they can. They need to know that they’re growing and they need to know that they’re valued and appreciated and recognized. Well, it’s very hard for a player as great as they are if they don’t have an expectation or the right type of leadership to let them know what winning in their role looks like, it’s really putting the odds against success as great as that person might be if they don’t know exactly what success looks. Like and what they need to do to create that success. And what are the boundaries or parameters or what kind of free rein do they have, what kind of, you know, processes or limits are there, whatever the case may be, who are they working with, who they are not working with if there’s really no ground rules, so to speak? It’s really hard for that person to achieve success.
John It would be like coming on to a baseball team and the coach not telling you what position you’re playing. You’re a great player. I just don’t know. I’m just going to just join the team and you can’t know how you’re going to really contribute to that team unless, you know, specifically, OK, what’s your role on that team? And what does it look like to create success? You know, I get asked a lot of times by people that are looking to move into another organization. They’re interviewing, let’s say. And I said a great question that you want to ask a prospective employer is if you hired me and a year from now, we’re having a conversation and you are absolutely thrilled with the decision of hiring me. And I’ve been here for a year. What has happened? What have I done specifically? Think about that. That’s a great question. And if if if I was interviewing somebody and they asked me that question number one, I would respect the fact that they really want to know what does it look like to do such a great job that I’m thrilled. And they also want to be able to quantify and understand clearly, what does that take? So that they can determine, OK, is this an organization that they can do that and do they want to do that? And do I even have an answer? If I don’t have an answer for that, that’s going to be really tough for them to have massive levels of success.
John So I would before you bring on that A player, you have to be able to answer that question. OK, if this person came in, as I brought in ED, I couldn’t tell you really specifically. I could have had I thought about it and planned it, but I didn’t. I was so excited to get him on board. I just rushed the process. I skipped a lot of steps. I said, OK, I’m just going to get him here, and then stuff’s going to happen. And it didn’t. And it was because I did not provide the right leadership. I didn’t define that clearly. OK, what was Ed’s role exactly? I had an idea. I said, OK with his expertise he’s going to help us deliver better advice to clients. He’s going to train advisors, he’s going to help with our case size. We’re going to get in different markets. We’re going to do more estate planning because we’ve got this extra expertise.
John But I couldn’t define exactly for Ed’s sake, and I didn’t what that actually looks like. What does his typical week look like? What interactions does he have and how frequently and with whom? How, what part of what leadership team is he part of? What is his whole kind of cadence in this organization? What’s the communication? What’s the expectation? I was not willing or able to define that and spend the time to do that, and that was a really costly mistake. I should have spelled it out really clearly. Ed, in a year… Here’s what success looks like. OK. Exactly. OK, here are the results. Here are the tangibles and the intangibles. Now let’s reverse engineer this and figure out, OK, what would you need to do on a daily, weekly monthly basis to get to that point? Then Ed would have had a track to run on. He would have had a plan. He would have made a great impact. And he would have been a larger and larger portion or role in that organization. Instead, it began to feel demoralized, lost. Unsure of what his place was in the organization. And everybody kind of felt that, you know, here’s this guy with all this talent and what? He’s just this underutilized great resource.
John And it ultimately became, it became frustrating. It became confusing. It just didn’t make any sense. What? I don’t get it. What exactly is his role? Advisors didn’t really know when and what situations they go to him. I didn’t communicate that out clearly to everybody. So what I did was I. I failed to create the right expectations for this role. Before you bring in that great person, before you even look for that great person. You’ve got to be able to define exactly what this role looks like. What are they doing? Who are they doing it with? What does success look like? What is lack of success look like? And be able to measure it. And then you find the person. Then you figure out, OK, what are the skill sets that I need? What type of individual kind of background? What kind of personality do I want in this role? And then you begin your search to hire.
John It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t mean that you disregard great people that happen to cross your path at a time when you might be able to fit them in the organization. But unless you can do this pre-work ahead of time, you’re going to set them up for failure. As I did ultimately with it, that’s my responsibility, not Ed’s. That’s my responsibility. And ultimately that could have been avoided entirely.
John So in any event, quick lesson today and the importance of when you find an A player, what are the things you’ve got to do before you bring them into your organization? Know exactly. A year from now? What does success look like if they are thrilled and I’m thrilled with what they’ve done? What have they actually done and how have they done it? And now let me work backward to what does that look like on a daily and weekly basis? What is this person actually doing to create that result in a year?
John All right. So I hope this helps. It’s kind of fun standing up and doing this new approach. I may continue to do this. Maybe this is just my Friday late afternoon thing. I don’t know. We’ll see. I appreciate you watching. I appreciate your ideas and suggestions for future topics and guests. And as always, I greatly appreciate you sharing and liking a little subscribing. And go down below. Give a five-star review. Yes, do that, please now. Thank you. Have a good one. Bye.
John Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching, reach me at John@johnlaurito.com. Once again, that’s John@johnlaurito.com. Thanks. Lead On.