Do you remember the last time you were let down by an employee or colleague?  You had certain expectations in place that, to your dismay, were not met.

It may have turned out that your colleague had a faulty memory.  Or that she seemed unable to perform at the same level as you.  Your new hire had excellent typing skills but just couldn’t figure out excel.   He just wasn’t…”perfect.”  

If you’re a business owner or a perfectionist by nature, this articles applies especially to you.

Ok, chances are that you are a total bad-ass at what you do.  You’ve spent so much time and energy in your field that very few can compete on your level.

You want to find another bad-ass just like yourself.   The search begins…  You’re looking for the Michael Jordan’s and Tom Brady’s of your industry.

You search…

And search….

Each applicant has 1 or 2 awesome abilities, but the entire package just isn’t quite there.

Frustration followed by compromise.

You hire the closest thing to a bad-ass you can find.  They join your team and you start loading them up with work.  At first they seem to handle it all really good… But for some reason they start to tire out.  Their work product slowly withers.  You wonder to yourself whether it is just you thinking they’re slipping or maybe you’re over analyzing things.

You ask what’s wrong?

“Nothing” they assure you.

It gets worse…until… they burn out.  You fire them.

You’re left wondering many things:

–  Where did it all go wrong?

–  Could I have prevented this from happening?

–  Was there something wrong with the hiring process?

–  Why is it that every employee I hire ends up not working out.

The answer is simple: You expected too much from your employee.

Employees are not business owners, therefore they should never have the onus that comes with ownership.

Hiring the best and the brightest is a must.   The trick is that once you bring on talent, you need to place them in the RIGHT position from start.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that an employee who’s gifted in 1 area of the business would also be gifted in a completely opposite area.  Instead closely identify his talents right from that start and place him in a role where he’ll tap into his core talent.  If a new role opens up in your company, hire someone specifically for that role.  DO NOT mix match roles with current staff.

Here’s a real example of where my expectations were not sound and subsequently resulted in failure:

When I was getting started up, I recruited a super smart guy to handle the design, copywriting, programming, and hosting for offers I wanted to buildout.  I had never met anyone that could handle all of these areas, and sure enough my superstar knew exactly how to piece it all together…or so I thought.  After the complete buildout of our first offer, I placed an ad in rotation with one of our competitors.  I knew the exact eCPM the competitor’s ad was pulling in because I was the affiliate pushing traffic to it.

Our offer SUCKED!  No matter how much my superstar tweaked it, it didn’t convert nearly as high as the other page.  Eventually I asked him to rip our competitor’s page just to see if it had something to do with the design.  Sure, our conversion rates jumped, but we still weren’t able to convert has high as our competition.  WTF!

It took me a long time to realize what I was doing wrong.  I was taking an .asp programmer and asking him to be something that he was not.  He was NOT a professional graphic designer.  He was NOT a copywriter.  He was NOT a pro at .html.

Fast forward to today.  When I buildout an offer, here’s what my staffing looks like:

1 Bad-Ass Graphic Designer

1 Bad-Ass PHP Developer

1 Bad-Ass HTML Programmer

2 Bad-Ass Copywriters

1 Bad-Ass Systems Engineer

1 Bad-Ass CRM

1 Bad-Ass Project Manager

1 Bad-Ass Server Company w/ 24/7 Support

2 Bas-Ass Video Production crews

Seamless!  Each superstar is seated in a position that fits their strength.

The Result: One Bad Ass Portfolio (which showcases about 10% of our work)

NOTE:  If you’re a startup and cash is limited, you ought to incentivize your first few employees with stock ownership, awesome fringe benefits, or other devices that won’t be available to future employees.  You will need as much help as possible and those that provide it should get rewarded well.