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Thoughts on Leadership, Hiring and Mother-In-Law Update

On Leadership and Hiring

It’s fairly well known that Jack Welch, CEO of General Electric from 1981 to 2001 became famous for growing leaders. Some estimate more than 35 people under his leadership went on to become CEOs. More recently the “PayPal” effect as it’s known in Silicon Valley is used to describe companies that achieve great success and spin out a new generation of entrepreneurs.

Creating and leading a company that grows leaders at a foundational level is a worthy pursuit and is something I discuss in my upcoming book. Simply put, the compound effect of great leadership is immeasurable.

But it’s a lot easier said than done.

In my experience two things stand in the way:

  1. Ego–believing you can do things better/faster than anyone else, therefore you don’t train and delegate effectively.

  2. Impatience–with how much of your time it takes to move someone into effectiveness in an organization.

When I reflect on my own experience over the years developing leaders, I’d say I get this right 50% of the time, meaning half of the people I have hired didn’t work out, and the other half succeeded and then went on to succeed further after they left our organization. That seems like a lousy ratio, except that the impact of the successful 50% far outweighs the challenges associated with the 50% that didn’t work out.

Last week, I hired a Chief of Staff (who I’ll introduce next week), who will help be the liaison between myself and the ventures I’m bringing into the world. This weekend, while preparing for the wisdom, training, and tools, I want to impart on him, I gave thought to my past hiring experiences and wondered what I may have done differently this time.

Given I haven’t made a full-time hire in a few years, I’m nervous, excited, and eager to develop him in ways others have done for me.

My Top 3 Reflections on My Recent Hiring Experience:

  1. A vetting process is important. Critical actually. But don’t get bogged down. Even after everything you do, your odds of making the right hire aren’t much more than 70%. There are too many unpredictable unknown factors at play. Which means you’ve got to get on with making a decision, even if that decision is “no” to all candidates, clearing the pool and starting again.

  2. The best hiring advice I’ve ever heard is: when all things are considered, is the opportunity you’re hiring for the next logical step for the candidate to take in his or her career? The answer to this question should be a clear yes, otherwise you’re hiring way above or below the person’s trajectory, greatly reducing the odds of success.

  3. The 90-day rule: In most cases the first three months is an indicator of the new hire’s future performance. Remembering this is helpful if money is a sticking point. It doesn’t take 365 days to see if it’s a good fit.

Personal Update

Thank you for all the notes about my mother-in-law. It’s neat how I can share with you personal parts of my life, and develop a relationship beyond this work.

She’s doing really well in Bogota and we will be back in April to check on her. Per my email last week, using our wealth to create change for her, to help her experience a new and safe world, ranks right up there with one of the most rewarding experiences of my life thus far. And to see Christian have this experience with his Mom, after dreaming about it since we met 16 years ago, was chilling.

And if you were wondering…

Her highlight: the microwave. She’s never had one and visits the frozen food section of the supermarket frequently. It’s cute.


This week I’m focused on developing more material for the sold-out wealth building cohort, meeting with our architect and project manager for Stoney Creek farm to lay out our action items for this spring, interviewing candidates for an opportunity at Staging Design, and getting back on my work-out schedule which has been really off these last few weeks.

Less cookies, more greens. Have a powerful week!

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