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How To Hire Partners, Not Employees
You’re looking to hire a new team member. Does your usual hiring process look something like this?
You’re aiming to fill a particular role, which is what most people do. If everything you’re looking for in a new hire seems to be covered and the subsequent interview goes well, you hire them and hope that your new team member actually wants to do the type of work involved—that they’re passionate and excited about doing this work and have a lot of mental energy to put into the role.
Best-case scenario? Yes. And often this is not how it turns out.
A new mindset for better hires — and better results.
What if you were to adopt a new mindset and always aimed to hire a partner, not just an employee, to fill a role? What does being a partner look like in a business?
A partner is not necessarily someone who has a financial stake in the business, but someone who’s fully vested in the end result, someone who takes ownership over their role and what they do in the business. I love that this way of thinking has nothing to do with salary or even experience, and everything to do with mindset.
The Director of First Impressions.
As an example, let’s look at the important role a receptionist plays in any business. My favorite title for this role is “Director of First Impressions,” and when the person you hire as receptionist sees their role as a partner in making a great impression on your and your company’s behalf, it’s magical.
Imagine a visitor arriving. They’re responded to immediately, showing them that they’re important; they’re welcomed with a smile and made to feel comfortable; and they’re assured that they’ll be well taken care of. This is what someone who takes responsibility for that role does. They step up, they contribute, they volunteer their insights and ideas.
The team member I’ve described is someone who is actively participating in the growth and success of the business. You can immediately tell that they love and take pride in what they do, and they understand that they make a difference in the clients’ experience. This is an engaged and proactive partner! Wouldn’t you feel confident and supported to have someone like this as your clients’ first point of contact—or in any position on your team?
Discover Shannon’s 12 strategies to a “batteries included” team of partners. Together, you’ll go further faster on your journey to take your business to higher and higher levels of success.
At Strategic Coach, we describe a team member like this as having “batteries included.” I can tell you that I love working with people who come with batteries included. They come equipped with their own energy, excitement, ideas, and capability; they don’t have to plug into anyone else in order to be successful. This is more than enthusiasm—there is real substance here.
They’re also self-managing, which is good news for you and your results. I know I want people around me who are self-managing because they free me up to do what I do best. This means I can invest all my energy, enthusiasm, and capability in developing what I love to do and what creates the biggest impact.
A powerful environment for growth.
In my conversations with team members, I always encourage them to connect with what they love to do and are best at. We call this Unique Ability, where a person’s natural talents and skills, passion, and life experiences all come to play in a way that’s unique to them. I believe it’s Unique Ability that lets people show up as partners rather than just filling a position.
An environment where team members are partners creates exciting possibilities for everyone. When people are working on things they’re passionate about and that utilize their natural strengths, there’s less stress, less friction, faster results, and higher levels of productivity and profitability. Isn’t this what we all want as entrepreneurs—and as team members?
Unless you love being a micro-manager, telling people what to do and checking up on them continually, you want to look for people who have “batteries included”—people who will show up ready and willing to be your partners.
How to partner up.
First, I would encourage you to look for opportunities to be a partner with other people, and, second, to look for partners within your company. These are a few questions you can ask yourself to get a better picture:
- Who is showing up like a partner?
- Who is showing up as an employee, and how can you help them to move from one mindset to the other?
- Are people doing what they love to do and are best at? Is what they’re doing in their role the best use of their mental energy?
It is possible to help people to grow into that partnership way of operating as long as they’re willing and as long as they see that as an opportunity.
You might be asking yourself whether you always want a partner. To have true partners on your team, first you have to be a good partner yourself. This only works if you’re prepared to share ownership, responsibility, and rewards. If you’re committed to the “command and control” style of leadership, this is not for you.
But if you’re committed to growth, if you don’t want to find yourself plateaued, stuck when you want to keep going, yes, you always want a partner. It’s the best and fastest way not only to grow but to grow exponentially.