Ep #249: Building a Team
Being an entrepreneur is a privilege of anyone’s lifetime and I am no exception. It gives me the freedom to create the exact business, purpose, time, and money that I want.
An important part of bringing that vision to the world is building a team that can effectively support your goals and 2018 has been the year of building a team for me. I’ve made big mistakes and had huge successes at the same time. And today, I want to share the lessons that I’ve learned from this process.
Many of you have been asking me what it’s like to build a business as big as mine, bring on a team of people, and manage them. So on this episode, I’m diving into the ins and outs of creating a thriving team that supports the goals and executes the vision for your business and purpose.
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Listen to the show
What You will discover
- What I learned from trying to hire a CEO for my company
- Why you should never hire anyone before designing the job.
- Solving problems vs executing solutions.
- The work I had to do on myself to be able to put together a successful team.
- The importance of getting clear on your vision and values.
- The power of systems.
- Why you need to get great at writing clear job descriptions.
- How to properly delegate tasks to others.
Featured on the show
Get the Full Episode Transcript:download the transcript
Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Well hello there my beautiful friends. Holy cow, I've had quite a day. It's very late at night. I usually don't work this late at night but I want to record this podcast so you will have it in time for the new year.
Welcome to the new year, my friends. It's going to be the best year of my life. Are you guys in? Are you guys ready? Okay. Today I want to talk to you about building a team and there's so much I want to say about this. This last year, 2018 as you know, was my year of building a team.
And what's so interesting is last year was my year of finding the CEO for my company and I found her and her name is Brooke Castillo, my friends. And everybody kept telling me you have to be the CEO of your own company, you have to be the one, and I just really - I just want to coach and create tools for my clients. I didn't want to be the CEO.
But here's what I learned. I have to be the CEO first before I hire a CEO, and that has been truly the case for me this year. And I've been learning how to build a team and it has been really uncomfortable and really challenging and I have failed miserably and succeeded wildly.
And I want to share this with you because so many of you have been asking me about what it's like to build a business as big as mine, bring on a team of people, and manage them. So let me just start by saying I think being an entrepreneur is the privilege of anyone's lifetime. Being an entrepreneur gives me the freedom to do so many things. It gives me the freedom to create the business that I want, to create the purpose that I want, to create the money that I want, and to create the time that I want.
And I feel very honored to have the ability to do what I do. And as an entrepreneur, you can run your business by yourself. You can be a solopreneur. And I did that for many years, and many of my new coaches are solopreneurs. And the truth is solopreneurs are really - we have created a job for ourselves because we are the ones that the business relies on to produce the income or the revenue for the business.
And this year was really about am I going to grow my business so it becomes a separate entity from me or do I just continue to do the solopreneur thing and have a few employees. Like, do I want to build this corporation. My theory has always been no, I just want to have a small business with the VA, my business partner, my husband, and just keep it profitable and serve people.
But my mission in life is to be an example of what is possible and I had this amazing exchange with one of my girlfriends on text today and I told her, I said - we were both doing our impossible goals from Scholars and I told her what my impossible goal was for the year and she's like, "I'm so freaking out by your goals, I'm so blown away," and she goes, "You make me think that anything's possible."
And I just was like, that's the purpose of my life. I want really successful people to look at me and be like, wow, anything's possible, I can do that too, and that just really cemented it for me. I really just want to continue to create the impossible in my life, which I feel like I've already done and I want to just keep on doing. It's such a blast. I'm having such a great time with my life, y'all. Such a great time.
So as my coaches build their businesses, they get to that same position where they're like, okay, at about a million dollars, I have half a dozen coaches that are about at a million, and we're starting to build teams and switching from being the hunter, going out there and killing something and bringing it home, to now kind of tilling the land, reaping and sowing the farm.
Totally different skill set, totally not as exciting. And as entrepreneurs, what we often like to do is plant the seed and then dig it up to see if it's growing. Is it there yet? Is it there yet? Is it there yet? And that's what I've had to do this year is slow myself down and really dive into the business of being a CEO.
I have to say, you all, I am super proud of myself. That was not easy. It was not. My coach, Kris Plachy, who coaches me and has coached me through this entire year, she's a master certified coach, you should go look her up. krisplachy.com and you should hire her immediately. But at the beginning of the year, I said to her, this is going to be a tough year for me, and she's like, "I agree." She goes, "I think you have a lot of work you're going to do."
And so we just talked today and I'm like, I made it through that year. Remember when we said that? And she's like, "Yup, and you did, and you really did." I now look at my team with so much excitement and so much possibility and I'm blown away by the number of people we have just hired and that we have to have now managers who are managing employees and we have an executive team and what is happening? And all of my directors within my organization have just hired assistants. It's super exciting.
So I know that many of you aren't coaches and that you have utilized some of the philosophies of my coaching in your corporate businesses, and so I think this applies to mainly entrepreneurs who are building a team and hiring a team. But I think some of you who work in the corporate world might benefit from some of my lessons that I've learned.
So we were laughing that I should call this how not to build a team because there's so many mistakes that I made that I'm going to share with you and then I'll talk about what I did right too and hopefully it will be useful to you.
So the first mistake I made that I kind of already alluded to is that I tried to hire a CEO before I had truly been the CEO. And my dream was that someone could come in and tell me how to run my company. And here's why that didn't work, and it's important because I hired a couple people in trial positions and I interviewed lots of people and talked to lots of people, and the reason why that didn't work is because I have a very simplified way of viewing the world and accomplishment.
And I think that's why I'm so successful. I think I'm able to cut out all of the riff raff and just focus on what matters. And I do feel like that is a skill set that not most people have and so I wanted to bring a CEO into my company who could add gasoline to the fire, could make me grow faster and free me up to coach my clients and teach my students and create product.
But what was happening is because the job wasn't defined because I hadn't done it, I was still having to define the job and then try and train the person to do the job that I had never done and it was slowing me down so much, and I spent all my time doing stuff that wasn't in my wheelhouse and I wasn't able to focus on what I wanted to do.
The good news is I figured this out literally within three weeks. Like okay, this is not working, this is not going to happen. So I think that is a lesson that is so important is when you're hiring someone and this is the second mistake I made is hiring a person before designing the job. And we did that with our CEO but we also did that with lots of other positions. I did that with my assistant, I did that with lots of positions where I would bring the person in and really try to get them to figure out how to do the job when I didn't even know how to do the job.
I'm like, I don't know how to do it, that's why I hired you to do it. But here's what happens is maybe they figure it out and do a great job, but maybe they have no idea, they don't know how to win, and so they can't do it. So I want to say that I've had a couple of employees that I brought on really early on that were able to do this for me. Kim Jobe and Lauren Cash. I brought them on and Rebecca too.
Rebecca came on - Rebecca Anderson came on as my assistant and I mean, I just threw these guys into the fire. I'm like, sink or swim, here's where we're going, and I really feel like they really helped me build some structures to the businesses. But what I also found was that when I didn't build the structure, it often wasn't built exactly the way I wanted to do it. So I had to get to the place where I was willing to let go and willing to delegate and willing to let people make mistakes.
And I think it's so interesting that when you want to grow a business, you have to grow yourself. There is no way around it. You have to be coached to grow. And so the mistake that I made was trying to throw people into a job that wasn't defined, didn't have clear expectations, didn’t have very clear guidelines, and then be frustrated when they didn't read my mind and do it the way that I wanted them to do it.
And so that was a mistake that I made repeatedly. I thought, oh, I just don't have the right person, I just need to get a different person in that job. And what I realized is that you have to define the job, you have to define what you want done in the job, you have to actually try and do the job a little bit yourself first so you can create the processes for the job and then hire the person.
And come on you guys, that's excruciating. It's just so much easier to just hire the person. And because - here's the mistake - because that worked for me a couple of times, I thought it would always work for me. And you know, I got lucky a couple times, but when you're really building a business as a CEO, what I've learned is create the job and then hire the person for the job, and when you hire someone to solve a problem, you're just going to be handing someone problems and it's very challenging for them to come into an environment like that.
And it never even occurred to me, and I remember I decided - I made this decision that I kept hiring people to solve problems, and I made this decision I'm never going to hire anyone else to solve a problem. I'm always going to solve the problem first, and then I'm going to hire the person to execute the solution. I'm not going to expect someone to come into my business and solve my problems. That's not fair to them, and if I haven't been able to solve it, how in the heck do I expect a brand-new person to solve it from the mindset of someone coming in new?
I'm telling you guys, that made such a difference in my business. Night and day. When I had the problem solved, the processes in place, the conversations with my team in place, then I was able to hire the person to execute the solution.
The fourth mistake that I made, so the first one was trying to hire a CEO before I'd done the job. The second one was hiring a person before designing the job. Number three was hiring to solve problems instead of execute on solutions. And number four is getting emotional and frustrated instead of focusing on the facts because I was in a hurry.
This is a huge mistake that I made. I wanted to hire all these people so I could get back to coaching. Like, can I just get this team hired and get it all going so then I can get back to being in my zone of genius is what I called it. But here's what I realized. I'm like, oh sister, you want to be in your zone of genius? Why don't you try coaching yourself? Thought about that?
And I was like, what? Rude. So rude to myself sometimes. I was getting so emotional and so frustrated, especially at the beginning of the year. I just really wasn't managing my mind well because I was like, I don't want to do this work. This was my thought process. I don't want to do this, I don't want to build a team, no one's doing it the way that I want, why can't people figure this out, why can't they do it better?
Like really, I was in negative space with my employees. So of course then I'd bring on contractors and I was acting out and being an emotional child and getting upset with them and you know, really, I had one of my students that I hired, she's like, dude, I just went into when I got upset - she wants my approval and I'm getting upset with her and she's like, freezing because she's so freaked out. That's kind of the energy that was going on.
Now, I want to be clear. I'm always going to be intense, I'm always going to be confrontational, I'm always going to tell the truth. And for most people, that's a huge deviation from any boss that they've ever had. Most bosses are just talking behind your back and aren't telling you the truth. So that in and of itself was plenty. But when I'm not managing my own frustration, that was completely unfair to all the people that I was working with then.
And I've really done a lot of work on that since so that doesn't happen anymore. And not to say that it won't happen again, but I really have worked on myself. I'm super proud of myself of how far I've come in that area. So I've had many, many epic fails. So many mistakes this year, and lots of long, long conversations with my husband about when I'm out of line, when I really need to be tougher with someone, when I really need to confront someone, when we really need to fire someone, when someone really just needs a chance.
Those are the things that Chris, my business partner and my husband has such a good perspective on and I can always bounce those ideas off of him. So those were some of the big mistakes that I made and I would love for you to avoid them. Always coach yourself. Do not see building your team is something that you have to do that's kind of a bummer.
Having that attitude about it is terrible, and that's totally the attitude I had about it and you know, Kris Plachy really helped me and like, clean that up. And the other one is solve the problems before you hire the person. Solve the problem, hire the person to execute the solution. So good.
And don't be in a hurry. If you need to pause your business and stop growing for a minute so you can get the right people in place, it is totally, totally worth it to do that. So those are my epic fails. I'd love to share all of them because there will be many more, my friends.
But this is why I'm so proud of myself is I put myself in a position that I didn't have to put myself in. It was really frustrating and hard for me and you know, I had a very indignant attitude. I just wanted people to be more like me. I wanted people to be able to read my mind. It sounds ridiculous but that's really like, where I was at in my head.
And so both Kris Plachy and Chris Castillo, my husband, really helped me see that like listen, you need to hire people that aren't like you and you need to chill. My husband was just telling me that the other day. He's like, "Wow with the negative self-talk." I'm like, what? He's like, "Listen to all these negative words you're saying." I'm like, really? I didn't even notice that.
So I am still doing all this coaching on myself, and as soon as you do something new like I did here, that's when that happens. So I think that some people are probably listening to this podcast and like, hey, where are the nuts and bolts on how to build a team here? And I'm going to cut to those, but here's the thing. I've read every book, I read them all this year. I'm telling you.
How to hire, all the EOS systems, the Rocket Fuel, the hiring processes, how to - all of it. I talked about a lot of it on the podcast but none of it, all the tactical stuff, none of that stuff matters if you can't manage yourself. You want to grow your business, you've got to grow yourself.
And so my business grew like, three times this year and I did too. That's the only way it happened. Like, that was some deep growth. And I'm in for another round now. I'm like, let's do it. I'm in. And now I could probably hire a CEO because now I have the job ready but now I'm like ooh, this job seems fun now that it's organized and has all these processes. Now that I have this amazing team that I've built, this is exciting.
Okay, so here's what I did right. First, beginning of the year, what I did is I wrote our vision and our values and we've lived by them. We know what our vision is. Our main vision is within 10 years we want to make 100 million dollars to show what's possible when you have the Model. That is our main vision for our business. Everybody in my company knows it. That's our vision.
And our values are really clear. We want to be an example of what is possible, we want to have fun, we want to be fun, have fun, and we want to be blue collar. We like to put our head on the pillow at night knowing that we slayed the day. We worked hard and we did it. We don't want to do shenanigans and try and get out of work. We like to go to work and we like to have vacation, we like to have a blue-collar work mentality.
The second thing that we did right is we created processes. I got this program called Sweet Process, and everything that we do in our company is documented in a process or a video and I'm going to tell you, I'm so proud of our company for that. Christ and I took a whole weekend one weekend and got everything set up in there and we're always refining and always redoing and always recreating but that sweet process for us is like the backbone of our company. So good.
The third thing that we started doing is writing really clear job descriptions before we start hiring. And we used to do good job posts but now, Lauren Cash, who's actually really an important partner in our business, like really, she's not an actual partner but I consider her a partner because she does so much inside of our company, she's just brilliant at writing the job description. Exactly what we need for the position and preparing the person for what it's like to work in our extreme environment.
And so writing job descriptions has been a game changer. She helped me write the job description for my latest assistant and I think it really made a big difference in getting the right person in that job. I'm like, stoked with my assistant now.
I learned to have more patience. I really needed that. I didn't know how much I needed that. I needed to have more patience with people and one of the things that we do with all of our employees is we give them a trial, which is a three-month trial, and it's a trial for them to try us out and a trial for us to try them out.
And giving them the space and time that they need to see if they can figure out the job and also seeing if they're going to enjoy our environment. We had someone that we hired for a trial who I thought was going to be the most amazing employee, and they told us, they said, oh no, this environment is way too extreme, you guys work way too fast and way too hard for me.
And I really appreciated that that wasn't a good fit. I didn't appreciate that they weren't going to work for us, but I did appreciate that they recognized that it wasn't a good fit. Now, I could tell people all day. I could say, hey, this is an extreme environment, this is - we're all intense, we all work really hard, and people are like oh yeah, yeah. But then you get in, we put you in the game and you're like, holy cow, we're in the pros now.
And so I just hired someone recently and I asked her about it. I'm like, what do you think in this intense environment, because she came from the corporate world, and she said, yes it's very intense and it's very extreme but I was prepared for it, I feel like I knew what I was getting into as coming into this entrepreneur organization. So same kind of thing but she was totally ready to get to work, which is awesome.
Number five is clear expectations, giving very clear expectations and having very clear expectations of myself so people know how to win when they're working for our corporation. I think it's really important to let people know this is how you win, these are the things that you need to do to win.
I created a manual that I'm calling my One Sheet Management System where every single system, every single philosophy, every single thing we do in our company is on one sheet. And I created this management strategy so we could have more of a self-managing company.
And I took some information from one of my heroes, Dan Sullivan, and I created a lot of solutions for myself, which no other CEO would have been able to do because I based it all on the Model and on coaching. And so now we have what I call communication filters, which we filter employees to managers and managers to employees, and it's how we communicate.
So instead of me asking a manager 20 questions all day long, I just ask myself the question, I answer the question, I send my manager a decision filter and they can either say yes or no. It saves everybody so much time, it teaches us all, each of us how we think, it's, I have to say, one of the most brilliant things ever.
It's changed completely the way we run our company and so I will be turning that into a training because so many people have requested it, so that's going to be coming out in 2019. And I'll share all of my business manuals and all my processes and everything with you.
I think the other thing I did right is I was really honest with people who we were hiring about the culture. I was very honest with them when they were in the trials and I told them the truth during the whole thing like this is where you're doing well, this is where you're not doing well.
And I've always done that, but I do it now in a way that I think is more supportive and makes more sense. And I'm proud of myself about that because I think it helps me keep the right people on the team. Like, I never say that it's going to be a soft, fuzzy, warm environment.
I take responsibility for everything and I ask my team to take responsibility for everything. And it's very easy to get defensive and it's very easy to point fingers and blame and that's something that we all knee-jerk do, and we have to coach ourselves to get back to the place where we're not being defensive and we're not pointing fingers.
I call myself out on it and I call all my employees out on it and I think that's another thing that we do really well. The other thing, and I mentioned this earlier, is that I learned how to delegate and let it go. I have to be willing to let it go.
I'm working with one of my managers right now and she's having a hard time letting go of some of the work that she does because our standards are so high. And I told her, I'm like, "But here's the thing, I had a hard time delegating to you but now look at how much we've grown because I did. You're going to have to do the same thing."
So it's so hard for some of us and we have to grow into that possibility. I will tell you, the more you develop the job and structure it and create processes, the easier it is to delegate when you set really clear expectations.
And the last thing that I did right is I came to the understanding that people who work in my organization are what are going to drive growth. I need to get the right people in the right seats in order to grow and I have to take responsibility for those people. I can't try to have someone else take responsibility for them.
And that was a big grown up moment for me. Building a team is no joke, my friends. If you want to do it right, you're going to have to come to terms with yourself and you're going to have to make some decisions and look at your shortcomings and understand where you need help and how to let go in order to get that help.
And how to allow for people not to be a good fit, allow for people to be moved around in the organization and let it be okay if they don't want to work with you, which I'm always so surprised. I'm like, why wouldn't you want to work for The Life Coach School? Are you kidding me?
But it's not the right environment for everybody and that's okay. And I'm not going to apologize for that because I love working in an intense environment. Those of us that love it here, we love it here and we get some stuff done and we love doing that.
So I wanted to share with you kind of what I've been through. I feel like today I really came to this place, I feel like I came to a full circle place. And the way that I was talking to Kris Plachy about this is I said to her, "I feel like I finally understand what it means to be a CEO of a company." And I think I understood intellectually what that meant last year and I tried to have someone do that for me.
By the way, I try to have someone write my book for me but If I'm So Smart, Why Can't I Lose Weight, my first book I wrote and that didn't work out either so I just feel like I decided to do the work that I needed to do to get to where I want to be and now I feel like I'm on this platform, I have this team, I have this structure, I have the processes.
And I was sending my impossible goal to my girlfriend, I said, hey, watch this, 2019. Just watch. I'm going to blow my own mind, I'm going to blow all of your guy's mind and I'm going to do it like, and have fun every second of it because I feel like I really took care of the farm. That's what I did this year.
I really cleared out everything, I figured out how to farm, I made lots of mistakes, know we're going to have some harvest. So I'm excited to share what I've learned in more detail and of course coming up, One Sheet Management in 2019 for those of you who are interested in learning more about managing your entrepreneurial organization.
I also think that there's a lot of things that I've come to terms with, with being a really strong, outspoken woman how I want to run my company and embrace all of that and never apologize for it either, and have a team of people that love working together and love working with me and are benefit mentally from the experience. Not just financially and benefit wise but also in their own personal growth that I've seen through so much of my team, watching them grow has been one of the biggest delights.
Between watching my students grow and my employees grow, just one of the biggest delights. So I'm going to be hiring many more people. Next year, we're going to be hiring lots of coaches at The Life Coach School. We have a program coming out that we are going to need lots of coaches to work for us to be able to make that happen. So all good news, all coming this year, I can't wait to share with all of you.
Have a beautiful week everybody. Welcome to 2019. Watch this.
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