Who To Hire

Generally speaking, you can hire two types of people:

  1. Those who can hit the ground running
  2. Those you need to train

If you go with the former, you’ll pay them more up front and you’ll typically get fast results. You won’t need to invest as much in training, but you will have to invest in recruiting. After all, rock starts don’t just show up at your front door asking for a job (if they did, they’re probably not a rock stars).

If you go with the latter, you’ll save money up front on salary. But you should invest in a robust, ongoing training program. Over the long-term, this cost can add up. Then again, investing in your people has never been a bad idea.

College football coaches know this idea well. They can sign high school players with four years of eligibility who may need a year or two to develop OR they can sign a junior college player who is expected to step in and contribute on the first day. Scholarships are limited, so there is an opportunity cost.

This isn’t rocked surgery, it’s common sense. The organizations that ask themselves who they’re hiring and how to train them are the ones who will succeed in the long-term. If you haven’t slowed down to ask yourself these questions, it’s worth the thought exercise. Find your organizations sweet spot and be intentional about your hiring and training programs.

Study Group Invite: “Under Our Skin” by Benjamin Watson

Preface

Stepping out on a limb is dangerous. It lets people know where you stand. All eyes are on you because you’re exposed. When you’re exposed, ancestrally speaking, you’re vulnerable. When you step out on a limb there’s a real threat of vulnerability: you could fall off, it could break, you could publicly fail, or sadly, you may succeed and be scrutinized you didn’t do it better.

When you lead, you run the risk of looking foolish. Sometimes nobody follows. Sometimes you take people to the wrong place. But its destination often takes care of itself if the movement is justified.

Followers don’t have it any easier. In fact, the first follower is the one who makes the leader a leader. As a follower, you have to accept risk. But you also accept responsibility to keep the leader accountable to you and any other followers that may join.

My “Limb”

I’m going out on a limb and this is my invitation for you to lead with me. Will you join me in studying this book?

I recently picked up Under Our Skin: Getting Real about Race. Getting Free from the Fears and Frustrations that Divide Us by Benjamin Watson. The title of the book is self-explanatory, but being one chapter in, I’d like to add that the book comes from a Biblical perspective. This is something I can relate to, but you may not.

I want to put together a group of people who want to study this book together to openly and honestly talk about these topics. The group doesn’t have to be culturally diverse, but it would make the conversation much more compelling.

If you’re interested, please fill out the form below or reach out to me directly. I haven’t planned that far in advance, but I’ll send you everything you need to know. We can meet via video chat or conference lines and we’ll figure out a time that works best for everyone. I’m not worried about details, I’m worried about people and our country and what the future holds for the next generation.

Thanks for considering,

Mike

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Using Strategic Constraints To Make Progress

strategic constraints

I had four months until I was broke. I sat up straight, removed my glasses to rub my eyes, and stared at the wall ahead. There was nothing left to determine from the Excel spreadsheet on my computer.

I was evaluating my finances to determine if I could quit my job.

I wanted to focus on finishing my book, but needed more hours in each day. I realized the week prior that there was too much to do, I wasn’t going to be able to finish the book by my self-imposed deadline unless something changed. I couldn’t work, coach, and finish the book. Coaching was temporary and I justified it by telling myself that it helped inspire me to write. Work had been a means to pay the bills while I focused on the writing. If I had enough to get through publishing, which should take about three more months, I could walk away.

I replaced my spectacles and began planning my denouement at work with impatience. I had no choice but to publish on time.

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Deliberately Sharpening Skills: 3 Ways To Find Sharks’ Teeth

deliberately sharpening skills

I am infatuated with practice. Deliberately sharpening skills is an idea I’m comfortable with from extensive time playing and coaching football. I have seen how consistently honing skills can bring about improvement and, eventually, mastery.

But not just idly practicing, or “going through the motions.” By challenging ones’ self with new exercises. By getting out of a comfortable place and into new territory. With intention.

In addition to my personal experiences, I have studied the work of individuals who have dedicated their lives to the science of improvement. I have drawn from a well of inspiration that includes, but is not limited to, Steven Kotler’s The Rise of Superman, Angela Duckworth’s Grit, Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, and next on my list are Anders Ericsson’s Peak and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow. These thinkers have inspired me to concoct new ways to practice.

I now know more about intentional practice than ever in my life. But instead of applying these principles to sports, I now apply them to writing.

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Long Ball > Short Ball

Q: What do the Netflix, Uber, and heroin have in common?

The first two cases are generally accepted as good things. The third is not… unless you’re a junkie. Most new technology, products (which, for this example, includes heroin), and services are aimed at giving us low-friction, instant gratification solutions – the answer to my question. For example, Netflix allows you to stream your favorite show anytime, anywhere, on any device.

At first glance, life appears better because of instant gratification. We endure less boredom and enjoy more productivity. Less waiting, more doing. It’s like we’ve paid for a permanent fastpass to the skip the line and go straight to the ride, no standing around, ever. The world moves faster than it did 50, 20, or even five years ago. In most cases, that’s a good thing. Because many of us are used to getting what we want when we want it, the rest of this post may be hard for some to digest.

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How To Think Like A Thought Leader

Let’s break the term “thought leader” down into two parts before we discuss it: (1) thought – “an idea or opinion produced by thinking or occurring suddenly in the mind.” In order to have thoughts on a subject, you’d need to know about said subject. You’d need to study it or at least be familiar with it. (2) leader – “an organization or company that is the most advanced or successful in a particular area.” This part is relatively self-explanatory. I won’t elaborate on leadership since I already have here, here, and here.

Wikipedia defines a thought leader as:

thought lead·er – individual or firm that is recognized as an authority in a specialized field and whose expertise is sought and often rewarded.

So, said another way, a person who has unique thoughts on a particular subject due to their expertise AND whose opinion is looked to for guidance. Now that we have a clear understanding of the definition of a thought leader, we can proceed with how to think like one.

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When Change Is Counterproductive: The Exception vs. The Rule

Teaching “The Close”

Training sales people was one of the most rewarding parts of my job at the furniture company. Every six weeks (or so) I would receive a fresh batch of hires needing to learn how to sell furniture. If they didn’t sell, they didn’t earn a paycheck. Because of this unforgiving logic, I considered my time with them imperative.

Furniture University (FU for short) was often filled with people who had never sold anything for money. They had been on the job for a few days or, at best, a few weeks learning the processes and products. The ones who “got it” ate up the material. The ones fearful of rejection found an excuse for everything I taught.

The process that I focused on was one of specific dialogue. It was wrought with one-liners, questions, and strategy (I can’t take credit for the sales process, that came from my teacher/employer/mentor; the real salesman). The coup de grâce of this sales process was the closing question:

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Using Pattern Recognition To Improve Customer Service

Using Pattern Recognition To Improve Customer Service

My trip to CLT from JAX started off typical: cramped, hot, and teetering on the brink of late. We boarded on time, but the plane was small. Everyone had seats, but there wasn’t ample space for luggage. No worries; I had a window seat and we’d be taking off shortly.

The baggage, and people, found appropriate homes and we braced to push back. After all, that’s what happens when the door shuts and everyone is buckled up. Except, we didn’t.

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