My thanks to Minnesota Magazine for including me on the list of the Minnesota 500. Below is the profile from the magazine:
We are hiring. Getting the right people is vital, obviously, to building a great team.
Building a great team starts with finding great people. Top firms spend an excessive amount of time recruiting.
One worldwide executive recruiting firm, Egon Zehnder International, conducts between 25 and 40 interviews per hire! Most of us don’t have the time or resources to put job candidates through such a rigorous recruiting process. However, we can take the time to check out a potential new employee thoroughly before asking him or her to join our team. If you’re wowed by someone’s technical prowess but concerned about his or her honesty or attitude, don’t risk it. When we have justified hiring someone—usually in response to a hefty workload—the person may have provided short-term relief but did not work out in the long term.
We have an eight-step process. An essential step in our approach uses an interview from the book Top Grading. Here’s a link to that interview.
Growing up, my dad was a big note taker. From the calendar in the barn with upcoming farm appointments to 3M pads in the house with reminders for the day to a journal of rain and crop results, he believed in the power of the pen.
I too capture thoughts and memorialize meetings with a pen and paper. But, there’s a twist. I use something not available in dad’s day called Livescribe. Livescribe uses a smartpen and a tablet, that looks like a “normal” pen and tablet. But, there’s an upside.
Everything is OCR’d, so handwritten notes are searchable. More importantly, the OCR’d notes are instantly synced through the cloud to Evernote. Evernote is where I keep all my thoughts, important emails, pictures, or really anything I may want to reference in the future.
I have no financial interest or upside in Livescribe.
In The 100, I dedicate a section to life planning. Similar to using this time of year to plan next year’s business goals, this is a good time to plan next year’s personal goals.
Goals transform vision into reality. Practical goals are SMART: Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. While many of us make long-term goals; specific short-term goals drive us to achieve our long-term goals.
Writing goals down is essential. A study by Dominican University professor Gail Matthews found writing down goals, making an action plan, and communicating to others results in being twice as likely to accomplish the goal.
Here are some goal setting tips:
- Write down your goals. Then, wait a few weeks to test your conviction.
- Break your long-term goals into short-term goals backed up by a plan
- Look at your goals every day
- Include dates. A goal without a deadline is just a dream.
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz are a couple of great books on goals.
Here’s a goal setting template.
Every fall, we gather at an annual offsite meeting to set goals, no more than three per year, for the upcoming year. We also include time for socializing with each other (though, this year, it’s all remote meetings and a virtual happy hour).
Not only does it give us a clear focus for the next 12 months, but it also reminds us of why we are choosing to build a business together.
Here are the guidelines we follow:
- Limit goals to no more than three, with one identified as the top goal.
- Make goals measurable so you know when your goals have been met.
- Assign ultimate responsibility for each goal to someone with the proper authority.
- Have frequent updates to “shine a light” on progress toward each goal.
- Create a theme that ties everyone in the company to the top goal for the year.
- Hold quarterly meetings to review what’s been done and what’s next.