Things are going great around the office. You have a solid group of employees and your new marketing strategy is bringing in a steady flow of clients. The new office is finally finished and everything is back to normal. You have made it through the rough times, and now you have time to focus on those important projects that will help keep your business at the forefront of the industry. Life is good, until…
Robert, your Corporate Controller, has been with you for the past ten years. He knows the ins and outs of your business and has worked many a late night with you getting the business to where it is today. He has developed his small department into a well-oiled machine, and you never have to worry about his ability to get things done. He is solid. He is your rock. And now, he has just walked into your office to inform you that his father has fallen ill, and he has to move back to Colorado to take over the family business and care for his aging parents. He is leaving at the end of the month.
You can’t be angry with Robert, but you are. You can’t blame him for leaving you in a bind, but you really do. You can’t believe you now have to replace a key component of the success of your business. There are too many things you need to do to keep the business moving forward! You simply do not have the time to search for a Controller who can replace Robert. But maybe you don’t have to…
You sit down with Robert to talk about your Assistant Controller, James. James is a smart enough guy. He has been with the company for two years and knows how the business works. He does not have Robert’s experience, but if you promoted James to the Controller position then you would not have to look for an Assistant Controller. You don’t have to have an Assistant Controller. The rest of the department can pick up the slack, and you can shift some lower level responsibilities off to an administrative staff member. There, it’s done. You have solved your problem, and you did not have to hire anyone new. Robert is not wholly convinced that James is the man for the job, but he hates to leave you in a lurch, so he supports your decision.
The month ends, Robert leaves, and James moves into the Controller position. The first two weeks are rough on everyone, but it will get better. Transition is always hard. James does not know all of the ins and outs of the business the way Robert did, but he’ll get there. Another month goes by and the financials aren’t done on time. You have had both of your Staff Accountants come and complain to you about James’ management style. But, things will turn around. Transition is rough on everyone.
By the end of James’ first quarter as Controller, your books are in disarray and both of your Staff Accountants are threatening to quit. You have had to get into the books and figure out what James did wrong, and act as mediator between James and the Staff Accountants. Those projects you were so anxious to work on have again been put on the back burner, and you haven’t had the time you need to devote to your marketing program, so new business is starting to drop off. You are ready to fire James, but then you will have to hire a Controller and an Assistant Controller. You are never going to get your own projects done!
Rainmakers often make this mistake. They don’t want to have to deal with the hassle of hiring and training someone new, so they promote from within. By promoting from within they often will promote people to their level of incompetence. James is not a bad guy, and he is a good solid Assistant Controller, but he does not have the education, background or experience to be a Controller. He was promoted beyond his ability, just to get the position filled.
I see this happen time and time again in small to mid-sized businesses. These businesses are not huge multi national corporations where employees are one in ten thousand and are infinitely replaceable. In a smaller business each employee plays an important role and is a key component to the success of your business. They are not interchangeable; they are key players that fill a vital role. That’s why promoting from within is almost always a terrible idea in smaller organizations.
My People Person understands the unique challenges involved in hiring for small and mid-sized businesses, and I understand that each and every employee plays a key role in the success of your business. This is why I start every engagement with a Vision, Values and Culture meeting to get to know you and your business. As the Rainmaker you know your business better than anyone, and you know what types of employees will make your business successful. I take the time to find out what your business is, and what your business needs, so that I can successfully source and hire candidates that will be a perfect complement to your business. With my Right Fit process I use state of the art quantitative tools to identify those candidates that are exactly what you are looking for, and help you hire the ideal candidate for the job.
Don’t fall into the trap of hiring from within and risk the success of your business. Call me today to discuss how I can be your people person.