Employment issues were one of the top stressors for business owners identified in our recent Pulse Check and, while we know letting people go is hard, taking people on can be even more difficult, particularly in times of rapid growth.
I recently ran a session for twenty of our members with Patrick Lencioni, author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, and other business books. We discussed the process of employing others during growth periods and how – in our rush to fill the jobs – we can end up taking on the right people with the wrong skills or, as Patrick described it, the wrong type of ‘working genius’.
To precis his concept, there are six types of working genius we all possess split between two things we are born to do, two things we are capable of, but require us to make considerable effort and two things that leave us completely frustrated. Some are born to ideation, some to activation and others to implementation and, as employers, we need to balance this mix of abilities to get the best from our teams.
During the recruitment process we should turn our attention to what the role needs rather than rushing to get people in the door as we might be putting them in a role that leads them to frustration rather than allowing their personal genius to bloom.
Rapid growth in business can be hard to manage – US company research indicated that 50% of bankruptcies follow a year of strongest growth. Rapid growth comes with cash flow pressures and employment issues as the business owner tries to meet demand.
Following on from the session with Patrick, we mapped out jobs and opportunities that have emerged through this ongoing COVID19 period and the types of ‘genius’ that would help develop growth and maximise the opportunities. We also looked at how the wrong people in the job would lead to the business getting stuck and, from this, decided that in some cases it is better to leave the post vacant than have the wrong person in the role.
The lesson learnt for us all was to pause and reflect, particularly during our growth periods. This might seem to contradict accepted business norms which have been inclined towards increasing staff numbers but biggest isn’t always best. What’s best is to understand what’s needed, what we want from the role, define that and then find the right genius for the job.