How To Be First If You're Not An Early Bird
Eric M. Twiggs
“A players hire A players. B players hire C players. Do you get it?” Steve Jobs
Southwest Airlines is known for their random seating policy. You board by groups based on when you checked in for your flight. Taking advantage of their “Early bird check in” feature, increases your chances of boarding the plane sooner.
Travelers are divided into three groups. Those in the “A” group have the luxury of boarding and exiting the plane first, and choosing whatever seat they want. The “B” level flyer has to walk further and wait longer as all of the “A’s” exit the plane. Being a “C” group member guarantees you the combination of a long wait and a middle row seat between two people who snore!
On my flight back from the ATI Super Conference, I was “C” player. But everything was about to change. The gate attendant announced over the intercom that it was possible to upgrade to the “A” group if you were willing to make an additional investment of $30.
I paid the money and moved to the front of the line ahead of my fellow co-workers as they each gave me dirty looks.
When we landed in Baltimore, I was the first to exit the plane. And then it hit me. Since I was willing to invest in an upgrade, I reached my destination faster, and with less effort. I was first even though I wasn’t an “early bird.”
At your shop, “A” players will get you to the top levels of performance faster and with less effort, than those in the B and C group.
Your competitors may think of themselves as the early bird, because of how long they’ve been in business. You can still be first in your market as long as you are willing to invest in a people upgrade. Keep reading and you will learn the two ways to find and invest in better people.
Studies show that a bad hire costs the average small business six times the annual salary of the employee. If you hire the wrong service manager and pay him $50,000 per year, it may cost you up to $300,000 ($50K X 6) after you factor in his pay, training costs, severance, costly mistakes, and lost business opportunities.
Knowing the potential costs of hiring a “C” player should make it easier to invest in someone from the “A” group.
A good way to accomplish this is to offer a finder’s fee to your current employees who find you top talent they have worked with in the past. I recommend offering an up to $1,000 finder’s fee that is paid out $250 per quarter.
You can also offer this to your tool guy, vendors, and fellow networking group members. The potential $300,000 cost of a bad hire justifies your investment of $1,000 for an upgrade!
In today’s job market, you have two types of job seekers: Active and passive. The active job seeker is the individual who is actively looking for another opportunity. They have their resume on the job boards and spend their spare time interviewing.
The passive job-hunter is someone who is not actively looking, but is open to making a career move that would be an upgrade. “A” players tend to reside in this category because of their intense focus and desire to do well in their current position.
Fishing is a technique to help you access the passive candidates. Here’s how it works: When interviewing an “A” player, ask him about other great performers at his shop. For example, if you’re interviewing “Mike” the technician, have him tell you about the best service writer he has worked with.
Mike tells you how great “Joe” is at sales and customer service. Once you hire Mike, you would then get him to recruit Joe. You could also offer Mike the finder’s fee to entice him to reach out to his former co-worker. Even if you don’t hire Mike, you have the option to pursue Joe yourself.
So there you have it. Offering a finder’s fee, and going fishing, will allow you to be first even if you aren’t the early bird in your market. Your willingness to invest in the best people, will give you your boarding pass to the “A” group of shop performance.
Eric M. Twiggs
The Accountability Coach
PS. I have a “Bad Hire Calculator” that I can send to help you measure the cost of your last bad hire and justify your investment in an upgrade. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send it to you.