To grow, jump into the abyss

This week I had lunch with a friend very connected with the entrepreneurship world in Spain. He was amazed by the evolution of a couple of companies he´s been following up for the past two years. They´ve moved from a couple million euros of revenue to hundreds. They employed dozens of people two years ago and now they´re over a thousand. Exceptional growth he felt proud of and also thrilled. It is difficult to grasp the challenges faced by a manager that sees that every week, a dozen more employees have joined the company. That´s nuts.

One of those founders shared his view on this:

The key is hiring people that are better than you. There´s no other way. And I hope my teams just do the same all accross the company. Rely on people that are better than them.

While the rational is impecable, this is easier said than done. On one hand, is it actually feasible for someone to attract a better profile to work for him? We immediately shy over the idea. No, she won´t be interested. How come! She would be interested in my position, not the one I´m offering! I´ve been there and I´ve felt the same fear and insecurities. But when I´ve finally tried, the response I´ve always got is much more open and receptive than I was anticipating. People get attracted to a project, they see its potential, its challenge, the further opportunities it will bring. As usual, fear is a bad advisor. We must dare to try.

On the other had, why would you want to bring someone into the organization that will threaten your position? A high profile will fight to move up the organization and that will mean a conflict at some point or another. Well... yes, this is certainly a possibility, and yet I believe this is still the best way to go. Deliberately putting yourself in difficult situations is simply good for you. It prevents slack, forces you to stay sharp, and pushes you further than you thought. I´ve had the opportunity to live under those conditions for several years now, clearly relying on teams that are more senior, know more, and have much more experience than I did. And it forced me to change my perspective of what a manager is and is not, and challenged me to catch up, to learn and to listen in ways I probably wouldn´t have done should I felt that I was simply in a better condition to give direction or make decisions.

So, yes, I do agree with that founder and we must, despite our insecurities, try to aim as high as possible when forming our teams.

Have a nice weekend all! See you next week.