To Build Your Business, Hire Star Builders

In tough times or in countries where tough is a constant, the value to the business of key employees’ contributions undergoes a marked change. Those who maintain the systems, the resources and processes, keeping the organization balanced, functioning and compliant, hold their value; those who spend discretionary dollars or whose contribution is itself discretionary see their relative value shrink; while those who Build Business become much more valuable. This remuneration value shift is clearly borne out in the NZ employment market over the last several years.

This makes sense intuitively. Sales Success is the live-or-die imperative for any business. Observing commercial behaviours in poor countries, right down to street market level, convinces us that the Offer and its Selling are the most fundamental ingredients for enterprise survival.

This argues that a business should put unequal weight on hiring the very best to drive its Product Development and its Sales activities, backing them with plenty of funding and support. Hire proven outstanding producers, paying more than you can afford today, and bet that these two stars will sensationally Build your Business. I have anecdotally a story of a Sales Star who built sales from $8m to $18m in three years.

These folks are hard to manage. Their personality is more like an Entrepreneur than an Employee. They often lack Emotional Intelligence. They are demanding, maverick, single-minded, tactless and abrasive. They create jealousy in their peer managers (the maintainers and the spenders), and refuse to comply with Bullshit Castle’s rule book. Their expenses are always excessive and messy. Predictably, their private lives may be similarly chaotic.

BUT they are goal focused and work at a punishing pace, often away from home, with days and nights filled with presentations, meetings, negotiations, dinners, and airports. New technology enables them to work both harder and more remotely. Work-life balance – yeah right! But wow – can they make a difference to the Revenue line!

So how does one reward these people? In Maslow’s Hierarchy, their motivation is at the very top – self-actualisation and the esteem of those who matter. Usually they imagine owning their own business, but hesitate through self-awareness. The money has to be more than satisfactory against market benchmarks; the recognition lavish and sincere; the engagement with bosses close and interreliant; and a gainshare or quasi-equity an early consideration.

However you drive your revenues, choose to make a step change this month!