March 23, 2023
If you hire without clarifying what success looks like, you'll end up disappointed.
When I was COO at Jaspr, we were struggling to systemize how we handled customer support. We were leveraging all the right tools but we were still not able to respond to customers in a timely manner, and some were even forgotten. This quickly became a problem worth prioritizing.
Initially, I thought we needed to hire someone to handle customer support. But I realized this wouldn’t solve our problem.
We didn’t lack people, we lacked systems…
I asked myself: What did I need to see, in the simplest way possible, to know that we were handling every customer’s request in a timely manner?
My conclusion: A screenshot of 0 open tickets, at the end of each work day.
So, I assigned ownership of this responsibility to an internal team member and implemented a simple submission system for daily screenshots. If they didn’t get submitted, relevant team members got notified.
Once I clarified the role it became much easier for an existing team member to take on the responsibility.
Companies make this mistake all the time.
They recognize there are problems, so they hire someone qualified, and provide them with a nice title. Then a couple of months later, the company begins to question the hire’s competence (I’ve gone through this very cycle myself).
The worst part is that the hiring manager (whoever did the hiring) has no way to measure their impact or success, further amplifying their concerns.
Where do things go wrong?
They never clarified what success looked like for the role… The very mistake I almost made with our customer support problem.
You cannot expect to hand over a domain such as sales or marketing and expect them to excel on their own. As a leader, you are responsible for creating the necessary environment for them to leverage their zone of genius in the most impactful way.
So, how do you clarify success?
List all of the things that they will HAVE to do and be responsible for (what I call accountabilities), and clarify each one:
- Frequency (daily, weekly, monthly)
- What done looks like (ideally a screenshot or metric)
Simplify the role as much as possible. This may take a little bit of time to work through, but it will make all the difference.
I later followed this process across all company accountabilities, from operations to marketing, providing immense clarity and increasing efficiency.
Go ahead and try it for your next hire:
- List all of their accountabilities
- How often they have to get done
- What success/done looks like
- A submission system
See you all next Thursday 👋
PS. Whenever you're ready... Here are three ways I can help you systemize & automate operations:
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