Puppies and Stars

Diagram for evaluating the people you hire at your company: puppies, stars, rats, or enemiesWe’ve all heard the phrase “Hire slowly and Fire fast,” but most companies do the exact opposite. We’re quick to hire people because we have a need and we want someone in that seat, now! When people aren’t working out though, we kick the can down the road. Fingers crossed, we plod forward trying to grow our companies with the wrong people.

Here’s a simple graphic that will help you.

What Kind of People Are You Hiring?

People who are aligned with your core values and the highest performers are called Stars. They’re your high performers, your rock stars. They are the Right Person in the Right Seat (RPRS)™. We love them and we want more of them, of course. But they’re often hard to find, they’re happy where they are, and they’re expensive. 

So, when you can’t hire a Star, you hire Puppies. What do you do with puppies? You train them! These are the employees who share your core values but (hopefully only temporarily) need more training. However, you must be willing to invest in them for 12-18 months while they gain the capacity. If you’re not willing, don’t hire a Puppy.

In the bottom left we have our Rats (Star spelled backwards). These are the people who don’t share your core values and are also poor performers. They are the wrong person in the wrong seat (WPWS). Most business owners are pretty good about getting rid of these misfits. Rats don’t want to be held accountable. When you shine the light on their performance and try to hold them accountable, they run for the shadows.

And that brings us to the bottom right: our Enemies. These people have the God-given skillset to do the job—they hit their numbers and they’re great at the job, but they just don’t share your core values (WPRS). Like Rats, they are misfits in your culture. 

Consequences of Hiring the Wrong People

Think about this for a second. If a Star has to deal with an Enemy all day, every day, what are they likely to do? Leave! You’ll end up losing your best people because you don’t have the courage to let go of a cultural misfit. Is it worth it? When you finally summon the courage to fire an Enemy, what do you think everyone else is thinking? “What took you so long?” It can become a credibility issue if you hang onto these folks for too long. 

Are you hiring slowly and hiring for alignment with your company’s core values? Are you making those tough decisions when you know you’ve got a people issue? 

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