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Guest: Todd Bavol and Sean Montgomery, Co-founders, Integrity Staffing Solutions
Episode in a Tweet: Co-founders of 11-time Inc. 5000 member Integrity Staffing Solutions share their keys to building a winning company.
Quick Background: Like great entrepreneurs, Todd and Sean saw a need and built a company to fill it. Sensing that e-commerce was about to explode in the late 1990s, they decided to start a company to supply these firms with fulfillment services. Right on queue, business took off. However, they had to overcome early stumbles in hiring the right people for the leadership team before the business was on solid footing. Today, people, culture, and systems keep the firm on the Inc. 5000 list.
Transcript: Download the full transcript here.
Key Insights on Becoming an Inc. 5000 Business
1. Encourage your team members to fill “bigger boots.”
When you grow fast, your team members have to step up quickly and be ready for the next role. Integrity Staffing encourages its people to “try on a bigger pair of boots and see whether or not you can step into them and be effective.” By making this part of the firm’s culture, it motivates the team to think outside the box and to actually create “bigger boots” before even being asked to step into one. Often, people underestimate what they’re capable of. By encouraging this “bigger boots” philosophy, team members stretch themselves and accomplish things they never thought possible. It increases their personal and professional capacity–which benefits everybody.
2. Hire leaders for where your company will be five years from now.
When a position opens up, don’t hire someone who can fill the job for the size your company is today. Instead, look out five years and think about where your company will be from a size and complexity standpoint. Then go out and hire people who will still be effective when your company is much larger. You don’t want to hire someone today and then have the company quickly outgrow their skill set. You want to hire people who can fulfill your company’s future vision.
3. The secret to moving up is letting go.
As your company grows, you, as the leader, have to let go of the activities and decisions that can be handled at a lower level. If there’s a bottleneck in the company, it’s always at the top. If you’ve hired good people and have good measurement systems in place, let go of the mundane so you can focus on the higher-level decisions that you are uniquely qualified to make and will move the needle the most.
4. A solid reporting and measurement system will give you the confidence to delegate your activities that are better handled elsewhere in the company.
President Reagan used to say, “trust but verify,” when talking about the Russians. In a similar way, trust your team to do what they’re supposed to do but have a reporting and measurement system in place to monitor results. “We’ve got reporting on a daily basis on our desktop that allows us to see exactly what’s happening across our operations. That tool allowed us to delegate some of our responsibilities and focus on bigger picture items,” said Sean.
5. Stay focused on your core business unless you have a compelling reason to shift.
Entrepreneurs love the shiny new object and Todd and Sean are no different. Early on, they launched three new business lines and two of them failed. Finally, they realized, “We should stay focused on our core. Our growth is coming from our core. Profitability is coming from our core. There is no future outlook that would have us make a decision to have to diversify as long as we’re staying on the leading edge of technology and being the best at what we do,” said Todd.
1. People rise to your level of expectation, so set high expectations. Implement a “bigger boots” philosophy at your company and inspire your team to reach greater heights and achieve more than they thought possible.
2. Hire people who fit where your company is going, not where it is. There’s a reason why a small company like Facebook hired a seasoned vet like Sheryl Sandberg years ago. Mark Zuckerberg was thinking ahead to where the company was going and he hired someone who had the skills and experience to get them there. Do the same–hire people to fulfill your future vision.
3. Put the systems in place so you have the confidence to delegate and then refocus your energy on needle-moving activities. Don’t be the bottleneck and constrain your growth. Micro-managers stunt growth. Delegators get more done and run faster-growth, Inc. 5000 type companies because they leverage other people and systems. Take advantage of this multiplier effect.
Transcript: Download the full transcript here.