When you’re hiring leaders or rounding out a team, there are three different strategies you can employ:

  1. You can back fill a position 
  2. You can upgrade a position 
  3. You can create a new position

Oftentimes, when we work with small business owners, their instinct is to either backfill a position or hire someone new.

We had a conversation with a client who was working with an inside sales team that was not performing the way they needed to. Their thought was: “if we could just get a good inside salesperson, if we could just backfill a role, get someone else who knows what they’re doing, maybe we can get this team to perform better.”

Here’s the problem – if you have a team of inside salespeople who are underperforming, and you drop a new person with the same level of experience into that environment, they’re not empowered to make changes.

They’re not empowered to drive productivity. The only thing they can do is drive their own personal productivity.

So, maybe you’ve increased the productivity of your department by one person. But, if you keep them in an environment of underperformance, even if they are a top performer, one of two things will happen.

They’ll either start thinking “why am I working so hard?” and they will lower their performance to meet the group average, or they’ll start thinking “why am I working so hard and these people aren’t?” and they’ll go find a new environment where other people are working hard.

High performers do not settle for low performing environments. So, we either need to raise the bar to meet their standards, or they will leave. If you’re trying to backfill into a team and just add a new element and hope that the overall performance of the team will rise – it won’t. 

Our recommendation for this client was to upgrade that position instead of hiring another Inside Salesperson. So we hired an Inside Sales Leader. Instead of adding to the current underproductive department, we hired a leader who can take on some of the workload and improve processes and procedures.

The probability for success is going to be higher with this strategy because we have a leader who’s driving productivity and demanding the same from everyone else. 

The good thing about upgrading a role is as you progress into the future you have people in place that have capacity. They have experience, they have ideas, and they can now be moved into different roles within your growing company.

Whereas if you backfill a role and the company grows, we now need to go out and hire new leaders who don’t have that internal knowledge and experience with your company. So, upgrading a role and having someone with a skill set that is able to take care of your current problem and who can also be transitioned into future roles is a huge advantage for your growing small business. 

The third option is to create an entirely new role. We’ve seen this happen a few times where a client has said: “hey, we need to hire for this position.”

Let’s say it’s a General Manager role.

Let’s say in this situation, after doing our diligence, we find that you don’t need a General Manager – you need a Director of Operations. Sales are already strong, but operations are really struggling to fulfill orders or services. If we hire a General Manager who puts some focus on sales and some focus on operations, you’re not going to be able to level up. You’re going to aggravate that gap in productivity or execution.

So, you need a Director of Operations. You might not have any safety procedures, lockout procedures, whatever it might be for your equipment. If you grow any more and you want to add to your facility or add shifts or add hours, we need to make sure we’re doing this safely, and we need to make sure that we have effective processes.

If you’re doing $10 million in sales on a $5 million process, adding more time is the only way we can make this work.

And eventually we run out of time. People get tired and accidents happen. So adding a new position is often the solution. If you’ve been running sales as small business owner and you’re saying to yourself: “I just don’t have time for this” or “I don’t have this level of expertise.” Well, maybe that’s where we need to create that new role. Take a look at your organization. What are the real needs? What are those key pieces of information and capacity we need to inject into your business so you can add those procedures, processes, policies, KPIs, and drive productivity to grow your business.

So those are the three different areas to consider when you’re thinking: “we just need to hire someone.”

Are you going to backfill a role? Do you have the structure you need to grow? Do you have the structure to operate at today’s business level? And do you have the experience and capacity in your business to scale and grow?

Or, do you need to add some experience and capacity to the business? Do the current people you have in the business have the capacity needed to facilitate the growth of the business?

Or, are you already at a crucial point where you’re struggling with expanding capacity? 

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Until next time, stop grinding and start growing!


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