Anyone who has started a company knows how difficult it can be to sort through everything and prioritize time. I find it’s especially difficult to balance great focus on priorities within the business with more spontaneous meetings with people outside the business that may be a little more high beta. Meeting that person for coffee that ten people have told you is great may not have a clear purpose, but my experience is that the serendipity of such meetings sometimes can lead to extraordinarily value outcomes…
So, as I start something new I am thinking about experimenting with a “serendipity meeting” quote. In other words, I am thinking about saying yes to exactly three of these meetings a week. It feels like it may make it easier to say “no” more often, in a way that I can articulate without being a total jerk, and I also feel like it will give a solid lens to evaluate which “you two would love meeting” requests/suggestion to say yes to.
A couple years ago I met @billaulet for the first time. It was clear we share a passion for culture when it comes to building businesses.
Before I knew it, Bill was talking fast and drawing things and I will never forget the grid he drew for me. (I have re-drawn below) I am not sure his names are the most politically correct but they do a good job personifying the buckets :)
There are four quadrants. I think two are obvious and the other two really define how you will fundamentally operate when it comes to managing employee relationships.
Let’s start with the easy ones:
- "Stars" - This is absolute bliss. Someone is a great "fit" and they deliver amazing results. Not a lot of discussion needed here.
- "Dogs" - These people obviously need to go. You are doing everyone a disservice every day that goes by and they remain. It’s clear they are not a "fit" to everyone and they are not delivering "results. (note: they are well aware it’s not working and they probably are not very happy)
Now for the harder ones:
- "Terrorists" - This is a tough one. These people are likely phenomenal individual contributors (think about that top salesperson that’s way too cocky) but they are constantly bringing the team down. The reality is they probably won’t change, but you’ll justify that you can manage around it. Beware…the impact is probably the cultural equivalent to cancer that’s spreading.
- "Puppies" - This is probably the most emotional. These people likely have tremendous passion for the business, work very hard, but the results just aren’t delivering. IMHO, I would much rather spend more time making it work with these people…and do whatever it takes to make them stars.
So….WDYT? How do you think about the groups and managing the tougher two?
Eight years ago my father had a heart attack and passed away unexpectedly at the age of 49. I was a sophomore in college and I felt like I grew up overnight. The event itself changes the trajectory of my life and the values my father instilled in me continue to shape my journey every day. Here are a few lessons I learned from him that have remained front and center in my life as an entrepreneur:
· Stay true to your values…even when it’s tough
· Pick your battles…and once you have, fight like hell for what you believe in
· Treat everyone with respect
· Have fun every day
· Pay it forward