This week on the Growth Whisperers Brad and Kevin talk about how to get someone to come in and run your business. This could mean appointing a CEO, COO, a President or General Manager, but where you are handing over responsibility to run the business day-to-day.
They discuss the best practice to appoint a new CEO if you have time and can be prepared, and 6 essential tips if you need to do it in more of a hurry.
Finding the right person to run your business
Episode 41 – The Growth Whisperers
The Growth Whisperers is a weekly podcast hosted by Brad Giles and Kevin Lawrence two advisors to mid-market businesses, one Australian, one Canadian, who each work with CEOs and Leadership Teams across the world with a mission to build enduring, great companies. Each weekly episode covers interesting situations and questions from the world of strategic planning, leadership development, talent and hiring in high growth entrepreneurial companies where real results matter.
Kevin Lawrence 00:12
Welcome to the growth whispers podcast where everything we talk about is about building enduring great companies and enduring great teams and in turn great products and during great experiences. I’m Kevin Lawrence, and I’m joined today as I’m always with my co-host, Brad Giles, how are you doing today?
Brad Giles 00:34
I’m doing very well. Very good. Summertime here in Australia. Lots of beach time, lots of pool time. We’re just coming out of the holidays, which has been an awesome time. How are you doing?
Kevin Lawrence 00:46
I’m doing great. Well, it’s the opposite season as we know and it’s wintertime in Mountain Time and had a chance to be in the snow and the cold and actually had to have a fun extra appearance. My kid’s puppy, now almost a year old got a chance to play in the snow and got completely impacted with snow on its whole underside. It took us like an hour to get these frozen ice cubes that had his hair twirled up into tight little knots a poor little guy. So yeah, we’re enjoying the opposite season. And it’s great. It’s great to be in 2021, 2020 behind us. And yeah, it’s good. Tell me, what do we have today? What are we talking about today?
Brad Giles 01:32
It’s something that we see quite often, and it’s finding the right person to run your business. Sometimes you may not be able to run your business, or you may not want to run your business, perhaps you’ve got another venture that’s taking up your time, maybe you want to semi-retire, or maybe you want to go skiing full time. Who knows. But we often you and I often see situations where people need someone else to run their business and they’re stuck. Taking a back step, maybe they’re going to just be the chairperson on the board or something like that. And, and so how do you find or what do you do to find the right person to run your business? What are the best practices around that really interesting and challenging subject? so hard? I’ve sent it to custard so many times,
Kevin Lawrence 02:25
yes. And for so many different reasons. So we’re looking at this is one of the biggest moves, it’s one of the most professional moves you can make in business is to build something and then have someone else take it over. And ideally have them do a better job than you did. So the ideal, the optimal, and most people don’t do a great job of this. But the ideal is to be groomed two or three people over two or three or five years. Theses is things we talk about all the time called succession planning, but as to do it, and to do it well. And to always be prepared for this and you know, the best leaders we will look at or work with sorry. They’ll always have a few people that they’re grooming, you know, and one of things they’ll Warren Buffett does is he tells his CEOs that he works with every year to tell him if they get hit by the bus who to put in charge. So it’s almost a pre-designated annual successor. So that’s a that’s an emergency mechanism. But what we’re looking at here is how do you make sure you’re ideally grooming people. And so we’ll take a few minutes to talk about what that looks like. That’s Plan A. And you know, shockingly, sometimes it’s the guy or gal down on the maintenance floor, who ends up being with you for 10 or 15 or 20 years, who sometimes ends up being the best candidate. I’ve seen it a lot of times, it was motivated people coming through the ranks. Ideally, they’ve got to work in a number of different departments. And that is the best. So I’ll give you an example. So one company I worked within another country, substantial business. The CEO that had been running it, he was not the founder. He was an employee who was running it. He came out of the accounting team. But he was a very sharp motivated aggressive accountants. So we can’t so he knew the business incredibly well. And then he went on to be the CEO. Well, no, going back a few years, we started working with him on his succession for who’s the next person and we had two different people that we were considering there was a third but not really but two. And with both of those people, we started doing some assessment. We were doing some coaching, and we were getting them to go and take some courses to go and enhance their skills. And we were giving them challenging extra projects that normally would have fallen onto the CEOs plate. So over a course of 18 months, it was crystal clear. Of the three, we know we probably had two of the two, only one of them was that successor, the other one just didn’t make well we know that one. If needed, that person could be an excellent, at least short term, potentially long term successor now that CEO is still there running it, it could he could run it for another three to five years, there might be somebody else, but that that development is there. And if needed, we could make a move. So that is the ideal thing to do consciously giving these people projects, responsibilities and development to enhance their skills and build them towards the role.
Brad Giles 05:47
And your test driving what could happen, interestingly, coming at it from another level, and that is mental health, surprisingly enough. So one of the questions that I asked with the leaders that I work with often is, so tell me, what has been the last holiday that you’ve taken? Or when was the last holiday that you taken, which was more than two weeks or three weeks? And many times they reply saying it’s been 12 years since I started this business, I haven’t had more than two weeks in that whole time. And so I say, Well, why don’t we set a goal sometime in the future, it could be a week or 10 years where you will have more than four weeks off. Let’s go for five. So we tried to say we’ll have five weeks off because the business has to course correct and run itself in that time. You know, and then we work towards that. Who’s going to do this? Who’s going to do that? Who’s going to author it? How is it all going to work? And in? It’s funny enough how surprised they always are that the business just seems to keep on running it just
Kevin Lawrence 07:12
yeah, especially in our smaller companies where they think that they’re indispensable in it and it works. The other thing that I do, and it’s one of the chapters in your oxygen mask First, the book that I wrote a few years ago, it’s called make yourself useless. One of the chapters, which is to build a team so strong, there’s not much you need to do, which fits in line with us. Many people are so integrated into the daily operations of a business, that they can’t extract themselves and take those holidays or, or they can’t have the business function without them being involved. 20,30,40,50,60 or 70 hours a week. Yeah, so it was just, it all comes down to building a team that is so damn strong, you can get out of the way and allow them to continue to do their thing. And whether it means more time off. I mean, it’s another business, it means succession. And just going to the board, the key is growing and developing people properly. And most people don’t put any time into it. It’s closer to the survival of the fittest well, most of that succession tends to happen in most companies, especially when they’re smaller.
Brad Giles 08:20
So really best practice is to select two to three leaders in your business or people in your business, who could become a leader, a CEO, or whatever you want to call it to run the business in two to three years and work on and coach and develop them. Even if they don’t even know it yet. I’ve had several leaders who’ve said to me, this is the person I want to run this business. And we’ve kind of worked without them even knowing to develop their skills and to get better.
Kevin Lawrence 08:57
And if you don’t have any options, you have these key seats that report directly to you. People in those seats most many of them should have the ability to so then you got to think of what can I do to make sure that people that report to me at least a couple could take my job if none of them can take your job. Not a great scenario. There’s a great opportunity for you to build some succession and back up into your as a side note, you know, one of the CEOs we work wit is really big on this. And they even have a plan of what happens if something happens to them. You know, sadly, we had a CEO that we did some work with their company, and we hadn’t really engaged deeply with them yet. But a CEO passed away at a very young age very suddenly and left a business without a leader. And we’re doing some work right now to work with them on figuring out that transition, which is You know, pretty challenging has kept my team busy over the holidays. But the key is is is to know what happens and to acknowledge that some stuff does happen. And we’ll talk about that, you know, and so this other CEO that we’ve worked with for years, they have a 90-day transition plan. What happens if something if the CEO gets hit by a bus? What happens and you know that we have an advisory board, that becomes a formal board, then the board will take charge, and the board can do things? And then it’s figuring out how do we then get this higher or figure out and potentially promote someone to become the next CEO? It’s, a very detailed, what if plan? Yeah, very responsible? Yeah, because that’s what we should, and most of them won’t have the plan. But many people may find themselves in that situation.
Brad Giles 10:50
Yeah, and so what we’re really doing here is we’re saying best practice is, what you do is plan two to three years out, get people from within the business to step up, they will have the culture, they will have the values alignment, they’ll have the respect of their peers. And so it will be a much easier and more effective transition, potentially, it’s like they will just grow into that job. But you can’t always do that. One of the stories I wrote about in my book was in Australia, there was a mining company that was working in, Africa. And quite successful, they went, they went into Africa, they had developed a mine there. And the CEO, along with the board, flew to look at this mine, and there were some problems. And they were supposed to take two planes because the board’s charter said they couldn’t all fly together. Like they did because one of the planes didn’t work. And they were celebrating the opening of the mine. And this was a really successful up and coming company, the plane crashed and they all died. And so they lost the CEO and the whole board in one hit. That’s a terrible, tragic story. But purely to illustrate, things happen, hopefully not as terrible things as that. And your example, sometimes it’s just, you know, what, I’m too busy doing something else?
Kevin Lawrence 12:30
Or sometimes they get burnt out and psychologically destroyed. And then yeah, recovery period? Or, who knows what the point of it is? What do we do when it happens? Suddenly, you should be provocative when we ideally build up people and so you’re prepared. But if you’re not, what do you do when all of a sudden, oh, now, oh, we need a CEO. Right? You know, or whatever it happens to be. Got to bring a little Canadian cheese into that,
Brad Giles 13:02
that right cheese coming back into this export
Kevin Lawrence 13:05
grade, you got it So the first thing is, you know, whether it’s urgent, for whatever reason, let’s assume that you’re still involved. And it’s not that a medical issue or something happened. But if it has to happen quickly, for some reason, he’s got to make sure that the person in charge is ready to let go and have someone else run the business, psychologically, and that’s in the, you know, in the ideal case, or, in the sudden case, sudden case makes it easier, because there’s a little more urgency, but, you know, for a lot of people, you know, it’s like having someone else raise your child. Yeah, right. And even when the business has been sold, and the founder has been paid a whack load of money, but someone else is coming in to run the business, psychologically, it’s very challenging, and people often get in their way.
Brad Giles 14:09
For many ladies, the business it represents who they are the business that that defines their character and who they are. And so, to give that to someone else is really challenging. So, you got to be ready to do that. You got to be ready to say, I don’t want to have the ego. I don’t want to have the perks, the stimulation that come with and the power that come with running this business day to day.
Kevin Lawrence 14:38
Yeah, and the headaches too. But the key is, is to be psychologically ready for someone to come in with different ideas and to take things you’ve done for years and probably do it differently. And not to be involved. You know, the ego and the pride and the excitement of being involved in every decision but to really be open with being different, I met a guy 20 years ago, and I remember, he owned five different nightclubs, you know, back in the day when people would get together in person without masks and, you know, be shoulder to shoulder and body to body and a club, he owned five. And he said to me something he had learned early in his career, he goes, Well, if I have one, I can run it at 100%. And it can be outstanding. But if I have five, they’re probably going to run at about 80%, they’re not going to be perfect. And as a result, now, instead of having 100% of the money from one, I have 80% of the profit or money from five, eight times five is 400. So that I get 400% of the money. But it’s from five that are good, versus one that is great. And psychologically to be okay with it being not quite as good or as efficient or not quite the way you would do it, psychologically is a big shift. So that’s, you know, it’s easy to say it’s hard to do.
Brad Giles 16:13
Are you ready to let go. I’ve, there was a client that I work with. And it took him 10 years, to get his general manager to run the business where he only attends one, two hour or two-to-three-hour monthly board meeting, and he doesn’t have anything else to do with the business whatsoever. Other than he, he receives an email that says the board pack beforehand. So, you know, it took him a long time. But to his credit, the day came and he shut it down. And he said, this is now yours to run, I’m going to my farm. And he went to his farm and, you know, played with cows and chickens.
Kevin Lawrence 16:57
And that helps I have another client who owns probably 50 or 60 companies. And it’s been easier for him along the way. Because he was handing off this business to go focus on the next meal, other exciting new opportunity or something else. So again, psychologically, there’s different frameworks that I do so so when you got to really be ready and committed to have someone to do it, and they got to have some of their own autonomy to do it their way and put their spin on a second thing. So once you’re there emotionally is to really be clear on what this role is, and what it is, you got to be crystal clear what it takes. Oh, I’m going to have a general manager. Well, what does that mean? I’m gonna have a president, what does that mean? What do they do? What do they not to? What authority do they have? What authority Do they not have? What does success look like? What does it not look like? You know, and really, thinking about how, who, somebody who somebody needs to be to thrive in that role. And this sounds straightforward, but a lot of people this is where people get burned. They’re not clear enough on what the role is and isn’t and what it takes for someone to win there.
Brad Giles 18:13
And when do you find them? Like, if you were to take on a job the thing that you really, I think everybody really wants to know is this is the circumstance under which you will be fired.
Kevin Lawrence 18:29
At what point is it just so not tolerable that you don’t get to stay? Got it? Yes,
Brad Giles 18:36
yeah, you want to have that conversation at the beginning. This is how you succeed. But then the opposite of that is, this is how you get fired. Now I don’t want to fire you. So let’s stay away from that. And let’s focus on success. Like, but if you don’t know how you’re going to get fired, then suddenly, it’s this spectrum of doing things that upset people that you don’t really know, it’s the same for any role, but especially in this role. Because the great fear of people going back to kind of number one, the great fear is that I hand it all over, and then one to three months in, people are coming up to me and saying, you know what, like this need later. I don’t think he’s going to I think we’ve made a really big mistake. That’s the worst nightmare that you want to avoid in this situation.
Kevin Lawrence 19:25
And they’re probably going to say that no matter what, because people don’t like change. And they often don’t like the new boss or how the boss is changing things. So the chances is that’s going to happen. You just want to ensure it’s more resistance to change or some adaptation versus a serious screw up.
Brad Giles 19:45
Yeah. And assuming that people will be going to do that, that only reinforces that point for everybody to a degree we’ve got to know you know, what if the retention Right, is there or whatever the metrics are, if the profit rate today if the growth rates are there, that’s what matters. And, you know, we’ll work through those issues that you’ve mentioned, at the board level.
Kevin Lawrence 20:11
Right? And, the culture, which we’ll talk to a couple ideas down the road here, right? It’s not just the numbers, if it’s just numbers, they could kill the company. But yeah, so being clear, and we, you know, we’re both big advocates for a methodology called top grading. And so much we’ve been we’re even doing an education seminar coming up on it. And it’s, you know, with that is, it’s called they call it the job scorecard, is where you get mathematically clear on what the job needs. What are the specific measures of success? How do you measure whether you got a good one or not, not how they look, not how they talk, not how you feel, but you know, the business measures, and then assessing this person on just different skills, they called competencies you need to have, it makes it way easier. And there’s other tools you can use, we find this to be the best. The job scorecard from top grading, we require it when people are doing key hires this project we’re doing right now. We’ve made a scorecard for the CEO role. And we spent a lot of time getting that scorecard right. And one that anyone that would be is
Brad Giles 21:23
what I’m sorry, what types of things does that scorecard have in it for clarity to clarify what it means to those who might not know?
Kevin Lawrence 21:31
Yeah, so it would have an overview of a paragraph about what the job is, most job descriptions are like two pages of words about a job. So paragraph about the job, key a list of key responsibilities, things that that person is responsible to do, like, you know, to ensure that their relationship is maintained with the board of directors, and that there are effective board meetings every month, and, you know, sales and new business development, to make sure that we continue to add the right new accounts and working with the head of business development on that, etc. Then there’s measures of success, which are the financial measures, right measures of revenue growth, or profitability growth, or employee engagement, or a culture index. The numbers that we just say that, you know, we the CEO is doing things, right, but it’s not just financial, it’s culture, because this in this company, culture is very, very important. And then those competencies, which are what, how, how capable, are they, at these 50 different things that matter? And even the act of getting clear on this helps you understand the type of a person it takes it from being a role that 1000 people could do down to a role that probably 10 or 15 people could do because it’s so much crisper and clearer. And, you know, the way we look at it is it you know, as I was talking with Chris, who is the president of top grading of the day, we did a webinar for our network. And I said to him, you know, most job descriptions are like, you know, a sketch of a building you want to build done by a six-year-old kid.
Brad Giles 23:15
Kevin Lawrence 23:16
And what we’re doing is that this job description or job scorecard is an architect’s rendering of the building. That’s it. Child’s chicken scratch, to architects, rendering, and we’re getting much clearer upfront, and we got a better chance of winning, so you got to know what it looks like, what it’s going to take, you know, and really getting clear upfront. So let’s move on to the next one. Number fitness. Yeah. Which is actually number three. Number three, I think I think we’re still on three
Brad Giles 23:49
could possibly be number three. Yeah,
Kevin Lawrence 23:52
I think let’s, let’s give it a go with number three.
Brad Giles 23:59
So we’ve got the scorecard, you’re ready to let go. So number three is deep interviewing. So normally, in this top grading methodology, you know, we’re saying we want to have a level of interviewing, which is much deeper than most job roles would anticipate. So that could be my take on it would be about a minimum of three interviews for a normal role, which is a telephone interview, and then to one two-hour interviews, right? To get an average, let’s say not frontline, but an average kind of role within a company to get the right person, which takes a lot of time but for someone to run your business, it’s a whole new ballgame. I think that this involves interviews with the leadership team interviews with maybe the mid-management team, maybe taking them out to dinner with your spouse. Maybe Even your external accountants or lawyers, some kind of level like that, so that you’re getting a 360-degree view on this person, and how are they going to interact with the people that matter? Going deeper and further,
Kevin Lawrence 25:19
yes. And all of those interviews will give you a sense of how they interact with people that matter that they want to be nice to. And that may not be who they are. But it is this, you will learn a lot about them. And so like we’re doing this process for a company right now. And so the only we would be for sure doing is an interview that is four to five hours long. And we’re going to go back to their highest when they were in high school and do what’s called a car and you go through their career, and digging deep to understand things they did well, and where they didn’t do well and how they interacted with their boss. And it’s a character uncovering and competency discovery, over four to five hours with that person to get incredible amounts of data of what they’re about. That will be helpful. And then going back and talking to at least three or four or five of the people they reported to throughout their career, not their friends and their family, but bosses, or boards, if they’re a CEO already in the past in their career. But talking to people that have worked with them to get the real deal. Those two things I just described will give you 10 times the data you would get from any other process, and probably triple the success rate. Like that’s it’s a big now then the things you’ve talked about broad 100% meeting the other people because those people will pick up things. But if they’re not professional interviewers, they’re pretty easy to bullshit. Pretty easy to put on a good game face, and then find out six months later you got, although the social stuff is important, because sometimes even though they can be amazing, they will not show up, right? Or they could show up well,
Brad Giles 27:21
That’s managers a simple question after they’ve the mid-managers have spent time with a candidate? Would you be proud to report to this person? Like, yes or no? And if No, exactly, it gives them a sense.
Kevin Lawrence 27:38
Yeah. And then what is it? What is it that I’m picking up they like or they don’t like? And then that’s another piece of data to take in? Absolutely. Absolutely. You know, we’re also a believer in, in that process of doing some assessments as well. I’m a big fan of psychometric assessments, it doesn’t say the person will be good at the job. It just tells you how they’re wired. Yeah, and you know, we use both disc and enneagram. And I am telling you, what you’ll learn about a person a disc gives you a simple baseline of how they operate. And it would eliminate some people from the role because of their disc. It could, potentially, but enneagram gives you insight into their wiring and their psychological injury and their psychological makeup, and how they’re going to show up in different situations. So that also helps you it doesn’t again, say whether it be good or bad, it just tells you how, how they will handle different situations just deeply understanding that person. And it’ll help us when we get into the number four we wanted to talk to before it also helps us with that one a little bit as well.
Brad Giles 28:49
Yeah. Number four, of course, the culture and experience feet. I remember how is this person going to interact and handle your culture? Are they going to compliment it? Or is the culture going to be better? Or worse? Are they going to you know, is there going to have you ever run your hands along sharkskin? It’s Yeah, sharks in its very rough one way and very smooth. Another way Are they going to be with or against the grain? In terms of culture, I remember one of the clients I’ve worked with buying a business. And we spent about seven months during the due diligence and everything working on the culture and how we’re going to integrate the culture now. It was still not perfect, but it was so much better because we thought, how will we integrate this culture into our culture? Because if you like we were building we were buying a business that was in terms of the industry that were more competent, or they were viewed as being more professional, let’s say so, yep, we needed to buy someone who was more professionally viewed, certainly integrate them, and then come up with a better culture. And that translates in this sense as well, how much time do you need to spend? How will this person fit into your culture? Will they be in addition?
Kevin Lawrence 30:28
Now, and will they not become a high performing jerk? Right, because they could be excellent at the job. But if they’re not consistent with the culture, it’s going to create a lot of friction and drama, or worst-case scenario for a CEO. They bring in some of their past colleagues, and they change the culture, which I’ve seen happen before, you know, if you’ve got a person who, who likes to drink way too much, there’s a pretty good chance they’ll bring some of the drinking buddies or surround themselves with other people like to party all the time, you know, or whatever it happens to be, is a silly example. Yeah, not that silly. But it’s understanding the natural way in which they behave, you know, behave and treat people, is it consistent with how you do now you got to have your culture clearly defined, but it’s a big thing and underfit. I mean, I’ve seen people off culture, and there and I remember one guy, I never forget, in the Middle East, I was working, and this guy was a general manager of a business. And I went toe to toe with a guy and we almost got into a fight. Remember, I’m a consultant for the company. He was so rude and disrespectful to people, which was and condescending and off the culture. And I called him on it. And it’s one of those ones where I started washing his hands to make sure he wasn’t going to take a swing at me. Oh, yeah. And we probably he was promptly no longer at the company, his behaviour was absolutely unacceptable. But the fit one is the more interesting one, I remember this guy that we hired, I won’t say his name, a wonderful man loved the guy the challenges, he came from a company that sold big earthmoving equipment and heavy-duty equipment, long sales cycle or big-ticket items. Well, they came into another business that has a daily sales cycle and low lower ticket items. One was business to business, the other is business to consumer. So even though it was highly skilled, totally fit the culture. awesome guy. He’s a b2b, expensive, long sales cycle guy. I mean, he might as well not even have been a business person like he, he was from another planet, and it was the wrong planet. Yeah, there was, there was no way because a daily or hourly sales business to consumer business is it’s not even the same. And awesome guy, and it just didn’t work. And it was painful. Because he’s, he’s trained in a different environment, it’d be like a pilot, you know, someone in the military, you know, being a jet fighter pilot, versus a tank driver, you know, the pilot might be able to drive a tank, probably not tank driver definitely would not be able to fly the plane. Yeah, and it’s just, it’s just not fair to the person when we put them in those roles. And we do it all the time that their experience is not similar in the dynamics and environment they work in. It’s not about the industry. It’s about the dynamics and the working and the processes and stuff like that.
Brad Giles 33:43
And the second part of that is experience feet. So there’s an absolute decision if you’re forced to make this decision sooner rather than our best practice of having two to four years to to grooming into the role. Do you hire externally? Or do you promote from internally? And how does their experience fit? You gave the b2b versus b2c example or business to business versus business to consumer example. You know, it may be there from within or not from within the industry. You know, there are a whole range of factors. Will people respect someone if they’ve come from not your industry? Or will that be evaluated? There’s, there are so many cultural and experience considerations that you’ve got to make here.
Kevin Lawrence 34:40
the root of it is can they thrive in the role and do great work and lead the people well, consistent with your culture?
Brad Giles 34:50
Kevin Lawrence 34:52
Yeah. Awesome. Let’s go number five, Brad.
Brad Giles 34:55
So one, so this is onboarding them and your team. So let’s imagine that we teach the First four boxes, you’re ready to hand over, you’ve got to do a good job scorecard that defines what it is and what it isn’t. You’ve done the fit fantastic interviews, amazing interviews, and everyone’s confidence. You know, they’re going to be a culture and experience fit. you’ve signed the contract. They’ve come on board. Now, it’s about onboarding. So with that context, I want you to imagine you’re looking at the Olympics, and you’re looking at the relay race. And there’s, it’s the baton race, there’s a person running with the baton. Now what we normally see is a person runs up, they extend the arm, the other person is running alongside them, they extend their arm back, the baton is passed, and then they can start running faster as the previous baton holder runs slower. That is a good analogy to good onboarding because what so many people do is they see the person and then they chucked the baton up in the air, hoping this person is going to catch it in the relay race. And 80% of the time they drop the baton. Right.
Kevin Lawrence 36:06
And then they blame the person that didn’t catch the baton. That was 20 feet over their head.
Brad Giles 36:11
Yeah, that that’s so good. onboarding is like, that seamless, beautiful, seamless transition that we see in the relay race in the Olympics. And you’ve got to think about that. And that begins with what we said earlier, which is, what does success look like in the role? How do you define success if you’re willing to let go? And what are the milestones? This should not be a one-day handover. Unless look, I can, even if you’re in this situation like we have where someone has passed away, unfortunately, or something like that, right? Even in those terrible, I still believe it should be a longer onboarding. And I reckon six months is a number I’m going to put out there for a role of this significance would be best practice. Whereas it might be whether
Kevin Lawrence 37:07
that’s by the board, or by the person, or whatever it happens to do the previous CEO.
Brad Giles 37:15
I got it. And so that could be that the first 60 or 90 days, they just shut up, they just close their mouth, and observe, and walk around and let the business run, and gather information and data, whatever it like, I don’t want to be prescriptive on that, other than to say, it’s not a one-month onboarding, and it’s not a 90 day, 90 day, I think it’s a longer onboarding for this type of role. And that is getting an understanding of what is your definition of success? What do they need to do in a week, one? month, one month, two months, three months, four months, five months? Six? What do they need to do? What are all of the things that they’ve got to do through that path?
Kevin Lawrence 38:01
Yep, it’s awesome. And, being clear, and as you mentioned, like the checkpoints, right, there should be checkpoints, both with the team around them, and them, hey, how’s this going? What’s working? What’s not, you know, don’t want to be in the way but you got to make sure that it is actually working. And then And then secondly, and we recommend, and you know, there’s one of these I’m working on right now. And I recommend that there is a monthly ideally, to start with, check in with a third party. So as a coach facilitator, I have with the entrepreneur and their president, I have a monthly Hey, what’s working? what’s not working? How do we dial this in? What do we have to align around? What do we have to debate? So that stuff doesn’t build up? So it’s a transition plan of having someone else facilitate discussions because some people are really, really good at putting their concerns on the table. Some aren’t. And there’s a lot of transfer of control involved here. And most people suffer from a lack of direction, and they don’t get enough direction from a CEO or a CEO from abroad sometimes. So it’s helping that process along to make sure that the challenging and valuable conversations happen to happen along the way.
Brad Giles 39:24
Yeah, yeah. And within that onboarding, it comes back to when will we fire them. So after three months, we might do something like a 360. You know, if that’s an overwhelming negative 360, we’re going to put you on performance management and there’s a good chance that you’ll be, you know, fired or if we don’t see the growth or whatever it might be, like, build that into the onboarding so that we know we’ve everybody’s clear and transparent on the same page. So let’s maybe move on to number six.
Kevin Lawrence 39:56
And by the way, I am a big fan of doing that kind of thing. 60 check-in, because it helps the person to make sure that they’re growing under it because they have blind spots. Okay, let’s go on to the last one, go ahead,
Brad Giles 40:10
follow the org chart. So you’ve hired the person, you’ve hired the person, they’ve been onboarded, or they’re being onboarded. But you’ve got these relationships that you’ve built over many, many years with staff members in the business. They respect you, you like them, they like you. Sometimes they might want to go past the new leader to you, maybe they know where you live, maybe they got your phone number, maybe you have a barbecue together, or whatever it might be.
Kevin Lawrence 40:44
But maybe you’re used to talking every day about stuff. You’re used to having lunch every Friday, or beers every Thursday or Saturday morning chats while you’re driving to keep your kid’s soccer game. Like who knows, you have this channel of communication and this bond, and it’s awesome.
Brad Giles 41:04
But that can be detrimental to success in the role that can undermine that person’s contribution. And it can, it can be massively damaging. I go back massively. Yeah, the successful example I provided before he handed the reins over on a set date. And he said, Now I’m going to play with chickens and chaos on my farm. And that’s it. And he doesn’t, and
Kevin Lawrence 41:33
that’s not normally how what happens. But the thing is, is that, you know, you could do the perfect job. But then when Sally in HR, or john and finance messages you on a Saturday morning, saying you’re not gonna believe what’s happening, drama, problem, your desire to take care of your long term loyal people and take care of the business kicks in. And next thing, you know, you get involved. And it’s not that you shouldn’t listen to these people, right, and I had to learn this as a coach. It’s not that you shouldn’t listen to them. But you need to hear them and direct them back to the proper channel to deal with their issue. The proper channel is not you, it’s to go to their manager or their manager to go to their manager to deal with it in the appropriate channels.
Brad Giles 42:32
So you’ve got to have a job description for yourself. This is what I do. This is what I don’t do in my near role. And this is the line in the sand between what were the two of us interact.
Kevin Lawrence 42:45
Yeah, and give you a great example. CEO, I worked with this also in the Middle East, he ran a large retail business, and when he would walk through the store, and in this case, it was a department store they’re walking into. So there was him. And then the person who is the manager of all the department stores, and then the manager of this specific store is there on this walk as they’re walking through and looking at things. As he’s walking through and talking. He knows if he says gives anything that sounds like direction. It’s like he’s talking directly to the store manager not through his boss. So what he would do is he would go through a walk, and he would ask a lot of questions. He would ask questions and wonder and appreciation. And be it’ll give a feat positive feedback to people. But if something wasn’t right, he didn’t say a thing. Yeah, something wasn’t right. He would wait till the end and then go to the head, the leader of all the department stores and say to her, Hey, here’s some things I noticed, you know, you might want to think about it. I’m not sure what’s going on, maybe you notice but he wouldn’t do anything that had anything to do with any feedback of sort, because it would be taken as direction. And then he’s undermining the person who is responsible for all the stores. And that is easy to say hard to do. And if you’re running a factory and you see something wrong, you don’t ideally you don’t jump in and say oh my gosh, I mean, if it’s a safety thing, yes. But a normal course of business. You go to the person who manages the factory, and they run through the proper chain of there. So follow the org chart, or follow the chain of command. Sorry, I cut you off there, Brad, go ahead.
Brad Giles 44:38
It’s the same as parenting, okay. Children will often say, Now go and ask one parent. Can I go to my friend’s house and that parent says no. And then they close that door and then they go to the other parent and they say without even saying that I said to the first brand, can I go to my friend’s house? And then that put that parent may say yes. And then they go, Well, I’ve got a Yes, I’m out of here. So the between two parents, the key is to be on the same page to you know, use that analogy. They’re following your chart were aligned, and we’re not undermining one another, we are at all times. If your mother said that you can’t go or if your father said that you can’t go, you can’t go, it doesn’t matter. Like I’m supportive of the other person.
Kevin Lawrence 45:46
You got it as the right way to do it easy to say, hard to do. So let’s wrap this up. Ideally, when we’re looking to bring in someone else to run your business, you want to have a few people your grooming along the way over the years, so that when that eventuality happens, you’ve got options. Or maybe you’re down to one amazing person. And if you’re not in a position now where you don’t have people that will be in the running for your job, what can you do to make sure there’s people who are in the running, and then you got to make sure once it so that’s the ideal. And then when it’s time you got to make sure you’re ready to let go that is critical. And the next thing is be really clear on what the role is. And what is and we use the scorecard from top grading because it clearly mathematically defines what great looks like in a roll. And then you got to really deeply interview people to really understand who they are and get the facts. Right, you know, and just like with a scorecard with the interview, we don’t want the children sketch of the tower you want to build, you want the architects detailed drawings. And heck, when by the time we’re done interviewing, we get right down to the furniture placement in the rooms and where the pipes are. And the wires are in the finishings, like very detailed architecture and understanding of that building, culture and experience fit just to make sure they’re naturally where they’ve come from. And the way they’re used to working is going to work here, onboarding them with your team, getting things up to speed and having safety checks along the way to make sure it works, giving them the right feedback. And knowing that if it doesn’t work, you know, you have to let them go, what does that look like? And then finally, for follow the org chart, you know, follow the chain of command. Don’t, don’t make any decisions give any direction or any feedback to their direct reports, because they’re still going to want to come to you, you can listen, but you can’t give feedback or decide. You got to push them back to talk to their new boss, not their old boss.
Brad Giles 47:46
So it’s really hard. It’s really challenging to find the right person to run your business. But it’s definitely something that we come across time and time again. And so yeah, this is a bit of a checklist that we see is valuable to follow through. So in closing, thanks for listening. You’ve been listening to the growth whispers I’m Brad Giles joined, as always, by my co-host, Kevin Lawrence, you can find us at YouTube. If you YouTube, search the growth whispers you can find myself Brad at evolutionpartners.com that is you and you can find Kevin at Lawrenceandco.com. So until next week, thanks very much. We hope you have a great week.
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