Do you want to build a high-performing team, but struggling to find the right people?
As an employer, it can be challenging to make the best decisions for your business while treating your staff well. Ian Campbell, a successful entrepreneur, shares his approach on how to strike the balance between the two. Learn how to create a culture of growth, flexibility, and open communication with your team, and how to make necessary shifts in roles and responsibilities.
In this episode, you'll be able to create a team that helps you grow and adapt over time. Don't miss out on this opportunity to take your business to the next level and build a high-performing team!
Listen to the Episode
Atiba de Souza: Hey, everybody! Welcome back to the Build Your Team show and I've got a super, super fantastic guest with me today, Ian Campbell. Now, I was on his show, I guess it was a couple months ago and we had a great time and said, "Yo, we can't let this party stop here. We gotta keep going." And so we said, "We're gonna continue to party on my show."
So here we are. Ian is the owner of Mission Suite and listen, if you're looking for a CRM tool for your business, you gotta check out which we'll talk more about that. But right now I want to welcome Ian as we get to talking about building your team.
And as always, Build Your Team is brought to you by Client Attraction Pros. Hey, it's time that you become the thought leader of your industry, and we're gonna help you do that and make it fast, easy, and fun.
Atiba de Souza: Ian, welcome buddy!
Ian Campbell: Thank you, man. Thank you. I appreciate you having me on here. It's good to be here.
Atiba de Souza: Oh, man. The pleasure is all mine. Now, for context, this will air later, but this is the first show of 2023, so I gotta say it on air. Welcome, my friend, to 2023.
Ian Campbell: Absolutely, absolutely. 2023 is here. And it's beautiful, man. I'm looking forward to it.
Atiba de Souza: Yeah. Yep. Now, part of why I'm excited about this conversation is very often I know people's story from them or from other people about how they've built their business, how they've built teams. But I don't actually know most of their teams, right?
Ian Campbell: Right.
Atiba de Souza: But in your case, I've actually met some of your team members and man, they are fantastic. So, I gotta ask you. You've hired great people. Was it always just easy to hire great people?
Ian Campbell: Oh God, no. It's never easy to hire great people. I've gone through more mediocre and bad people than I care to count. It's not necessarily the bad ones that are really the problem, it's the mediocre ones that'll always do you in. But, finding the good ones is always a challenge.
Atiba de Souza: Let's dive into that for a moment. That's a powerful statement. It's the mediocre ones that will do you in because I'm assuming it's easy — you know, cause I know — when you have a bad employee, you know, you suck. You gotta it.
Ian Campbell: Yeah, exactly. Right.
Atiba de Souza: But tell us about the mediocre ones like what makes them so bad and so toxic to the business?
Ian Campbell: The bad ones, you can identify pretty quickly and easily, right? The ones that are just not good at their job or don't show up. But the mediocre ones are the ones that just are good enough to do just what you need them to do, but you end up having to spend more time figuring out what you need them to do than you should be.
At the end of the day, they get something, they get a lot of things right, but they still get a lot of things wrong and end up having to do a lot and you're still paying 'em a lot of money. They don't help you grow. And in business, especially when it comes to employees and when it comes to building your team, if a team member's not helping you grow, they are nothing more than a drag. But identifying that with mediocre employees is a lot more challenging than identifying that with bad employees.
Atiba de Souza: Wow. I'm taking notes y'all. All right. So they don't help you grow. I'm summarizing. If they don't help you grow, then they're a drag. So let's look at that for a moment because I think one, it's easy to see when a salesperson helps you grow. It's easy to see when a marketer helps you grow. But how do you measure when an administrative or support person helps you grow?
Ian Campbell: And that's an interesting thing cuz I recently had a support person that was on my team for a while who was amazing and she was one of those people that I would hear from her maybe once or twice a week outside of our scheduled meetings and with questions or "Hey, something went wrong and I need help figuring out how to fix it." Things like that, right? Because I mean, things are gonna go wrong, right? I mean, it's not like you need to have somebody that does everything right. There's nobody out there that's going to. But the key is that this particular person who had to move on from the team and we wish her all the best in the world, but she had to move on from the team and she was one of those people that she learned what she needed to do, she started taking initiative on how to apply it, started taking initiative on doing things herself, and then made my life easier. And as the team leader, the reason that you bring people on your team is to get jobs done that either you're not suited for or not perfectly suited for, or that you just don't have time to do anymore.
And so if you know that, "Hey, I told you that once a month this thing needs to happen". And then next month you may get a, "Hey, I know that you said this thing needs to happen. I just need you to show me how to do it one more time." And then the third month, then all of a sudden it happens without you thinking about it.
That's how you know that you have a good team member. The mediocre ones are the ones that are going to every month say, "Listen, I know you showed this to me last month but I need you to show it to me again." And when you show it to them again, they do it correctly.
Atiba de Souza: Right.
Ian Campbell: And so you keep thinking to yourself, "Well, I'll give it one more month. I'll give it one more month. I'll give it one more month." But then you start to, kind of, look at those things that stack up over time and you start to realize, "Okay, so this has been going on for six months. Not only has this person needed me to walk them through this thing once a month, but they've also needed me to walk them through this other thing twice a week." But you don't realize it because to you it's just training and it's always been a part of your job. So you're just like, "Yeah, okay, fine. Let's just do it. Let's just do it. Let's just do it.
"But it's not until you've spent a lot of money on this person and still not gotten any of your time back because when it comes to support, when it comes to administration, the reason that you hire people is because you're buying your time back, right?
You need to buy that time back. That every hour, or my hours are worth $200 an hour, $250 an hour, whatever that number is for you. My hours worth — let's call it $250 to keep the math easy. My hours were $250 an hour, so I have this thing that's costing me four hours once a week.
So that's —
Atiba de Souza: Thousand dollars.
Ian Campbell: Exactly. Right. A thousand dollars a week, about four grand a month. Okay. So if I can pay somebody $3,500, four grand a month, now I'm bringing money back in, right?
Atiba de Souza: Correct.
Ian Campbell: But if you pay that money, but don't get the time back, that's when you're not able to do the rest of the things that you need to do.
Atiba de Souza: Exactly. Exactly. You said it in there one more month and I know somebody listening, you're saying that right now. I say it myself. A month from now they're gonna be okay. It's gonna be all right. Just give one more month and it was funny, it was Mike Michalowicz who wrote Profit First.
Dunno if you've ever read Profit First. So, Mike Michalowicz in his book Profit First, one of the things that he talks about is the fallacy of business ownership and how so many times as business owners, we say, "I just need one more.
Ian Campbell: Right.
Atiba de Souza: One more sales, one more employee, one more month to train this employee. You're never just one more of anything away from something.
Ian Campbell: Right.
Atiba de Souza: So it just kind of struck me when you said that there, because it's so often that we say that about our staff. Just give it one more. Just give one more shot.
Ian Campbell: Yeah. At the end of the day, we want to be good employers, right? We wanna be there for our team, and we know that it's our team that makes us successful, right? I mean, anybody who has ever coached any sort of little league game has been a coach of anything, has led anything knows that you are not the one that does most of the work that's being done, right?
You are the one that's there to kind of guide people. So you want to be a good team member. You want to give them the opportunity to grow inside of the role and whatnot. But at the end of the day, you also have to think about your business because if the business doesn't succeed, then the rest of the team suffers as well.
I'm not gonna say that we've all heard it, but a lot of us have heard that phrase "Hire Slow, Fire Fast." It's easy to say, but it's always one of those things we're like, "Well, is it fast? Is it too fast?"
Have I hired slow enough? I was at a group called the Corporate Directors Forum when I was living back in San Diego. The room was filled with exactly who you would imagine the room would be filled with. Blue and black suits, like that kind of deal.
A breakfast filled with them. And there was a panel up on the stage and they were talking about hiring and firing board members for corporate boards.
One of the CEOs that was up there that was up on the panel said, "Listen, who's hired people?" Everybody's hand goes up. "Who's fired people?" Everybody's hand stays up. And then they said, " Keep your hand up if you've thought to yourself, man, I should have gotten rid of that person six months ago." And of course everybody's hand stays up, right? And they start laughing. They're like, "Yeah, that's funny." "And now let me ask you this, keep your hand up if have you've ever thought to yourself, man, I really should have held onto that person for an extra six months." And everybody's hand go down. Right? Because at the end of the day, there's always gonna be somebody else — that even if you did make a mistake in firing somebody too quickly — often say you can either A, get them back, a lot of times, after some negotiation.
Even if you can't get 'em back, you'll be able to find somebody to do the job well. And so, if someone's not performing after a certain period of time, then you have to just make the decision to make a cut and then find someone else to fill that role, because not only now is it costing you the time that you are hoping to get back, but now it's costing you money too.
If you're in a startup, if you're in a wherever you are, your runway is shortening drastically.
Atiba de Souza: Yes, absolutely. I also find that true on both sides, whether it was time for them to leave or they chose to leave and you felt like they left prematurely, right?
And you wish you could've kept them a little bit longer. The next person that you hire is usually a lot better than the one that left. Because now you've changed what you're looking for, who you're looking for. You have a better picture of who you want in this role than when that started fully.
Ian Campbell: Yeah. The point that you made is so powerful, right? If you kind of bear that in mind because you have to remember anytime that you're leading a team that your needs change over time for an employee. When you're a startup and you put somebody in the CFO position just because they were the only person that took an accounting class in college. Two years down the line, if things are going well, then all of a sudden you get to this level where you need a real CFO. You have to be able to make those shifts.
And or if that person gets too overwhelmed and they say, "Listen, I have to move on." And you're thinking to yourself, "Man, I just lost my CFO and now the only person that knows accounting in our company is gone." Well, now you have the opportunity to go out and find somebody who's actually a CFO and not just somebody that learned how to kind of build it up.
So you have to be able to grow your team and make shifts and changes as time goes by. So a lot of times losing somebody in a specific role can be the best thing for that role and for your company. It's just — it feels painful at the time.
Atiba de Souza: Oh, it absolutely does feel painful and let's not make any mistake about it. It can even be crippling for a moment. And I've seen a lot of business owners make this mistake. They end up wallowing in that moment for way too long. Instead of saying, "Okay, let's move forward."
Ian Campbell: Exactly. What's next?
Atiba de Souza: We gotta move forward. Yeah. We gotta do what's next. Let's circle back to the top because we started off and we started talking about good staff, mediocre staff and bad staff. Looking back there and let's focusing on the mediocre because like you said, they're just gonna be a drag and a drain on the organization overall.
Have you found ways, developed ways, noticed anything in the hiring process that helps you identify mediocrity, excellence?
Ian Campbell: I wish that I could say that I had a magic bullet, that I had some way to identify that. But so many times, especially when it comes to mediocrity, so frequently, the people that are just okay at their jobs are incredibly good at selling themselves.
Because they have to do it a lot. Right? Somebody who's excellent at their job is excellent enough that people want to keep them. And so they don't have to go to the market to find a new job a lot. Someone who's mediocre or bad at their job, well, that's a different story, right?
So they become really good at selling themselves and really good at defining things. A lot of times, it comes down to having somebody else other than me involved in the process as well, because they're gonna ask different questions. And it doesn't matter if it's your spouse, if it's a consultant, if it's another member of your team who's been in that role, or kind of understands what the expectations are of that role.
Have somebody else meet with them first because they're gonna give you other perspectives to be able to work from. That can mean a world of difference.
Atiba de Souza: Okay. So I'm gonna jump in here then. If I could, I'm gonna share with you, there's something that we've actually found that helps. It doesn't eliminate, but it helps. I'm just gonna be completely honest and warn you, everyone that I've said this to has said, "That's way too much work." But it eliminates us hiring mediocre people 80% of the time.
So that's why we do it. And here's what it is. We insist that before there is an interview usually via Zoom, that there are six emails that go back and forth. We want someone to respond six times, and we're gonna ask questions throughout those. So we've got our plan for the things that we want to know, right?
The type of manager they want, some of their experience and work history. And here's the key, the questions that we're asking are questions that help us uncover how you existed in situation before. And so we're looking for markers that said, in situation, you did what we expect you to do.
Ian Campbell: Right. Right.
Atiba de Souza: Right? For example, there's one young lady in our process right now. She meets all of the credentials. She's done the job.
But I know the environment she's going into is one that's — information chaos is what we would call that environment in particular. And so wanted to ask her about, and she's like, "I need all the details upfront before I can move."
Ian Campbell: Right.
Atiba de Souza: This won't work.
Ian Campbell: Yeah. Right. Exactly. It's a really interesting way and I like the idea of the six emails back and forth because it does a few different things, right?
First of all, it shows commitment, right? It shows a willingness to work with the people that they're gonna be working with, right? Because if I'm not willing to respond to your emails, and if I get to a point where I'm just like, "Okay, this is ridiculous", and I just stop, then that's weeded that person out too.
If part of your process is getting some kind of information exchange via email, then that becomes really, really, really important information. And to that point, when I hire for salespeople, I want somebody who's a closer but not a jerk about it, right?
Something like that would help weed out that as well, because if they can get me on the phone in advance of them answering the questions in those emails. That tells me that they're doing the thing that I want them to do with prospects, right?
Because at the end of the day, as a salesperson, I can email you all the information on the world, but I need to have a conversation with you to be able to move you to the next step. If you can get me onto a phone call before I get all my questions out over email, then you are somebody that I want as a salesperson, right?
Because that tells me — and not be a jerk about it, right? But at the end of the day, I have a no jerks policy, I refer to it as something a bit more colorful and private. But I don't wanna work with people that I don't like to work with, that I don't like to deal with, right?
And so if you're showing me that you're a jerk to me just on the phone trying to get me on a phone call, again, you're telling me all that. So putting that extra work in in the beginning, whether it's six emails back and forth, or whether it's five conversations or, "Hey, build out a sales plan for me or how would you respond to this scenario?"
Whatever. Putting that work in advance is gonna help a lot in helping you to kick out those mediocre folks and getting the job done.
Atiba de Souza: Okay. So Ian, we spend a lot of time talking about mediocre staff because like you said, they are a drag and a drain on your business, and I completely get it.
But we also have those rock stars and for people out there, I know sometimes you spend as much time agonizing over your rock stars as you do your poor people, because you don't wanna lose your rock stars. You want to keep 'em around, right?
Ian Campbell: Yep.
Atiba de Souza: So what are some of the tips, some of the techniques that you've used to, one, keep your rock stars engaged, and then two, have longevity with them?
Ian Campbell: Yeah, for sure. To your point man, you want to hang onto those rock stars for as long as humanly possible, right? And at the end of the day, it doesn't matter if they're retiring with the company or if they are 18 months and gone. Everyone's on a timeline.
There's always gonna be a point at which somebody loses somebody. So the question being, how do you make that last as long as you can? I've kind of been in startup mode for a long time, right? I've been growing my team as a startup and bootstrapping things a lot of times.
There's always going to be somebody that can outspend of me. There's always gonna be somebody that can give somebody more money than I'm able to give them.
And so yeah, I might be able to stave off losing somebody in that regard for a short time. But at the end of the day, if that's what it's gonna take to keep those people, then you're shortening your timeline drastically.
Because again, there's going to be somebody who comes along with an offer that's too good to refuse and you're not gonna be able to match it. And if you've kind of created this culture of, "Well, I'll pay you this much more. I'll pay this much more. I'll pay this much more." Then you're in a losing scenario.
So what people can't outdo me on though is the time and intention that I provide to the people that are really performing well. Because what most places that are willing to just throw a bunch of money at, aren't gonna do is going into development with you. They're a lot of times they're not gonna spend the time to say, "Okay, what are your goals personally for this job? What do you want to do after you're done with this job? What do you need to learn from this to get you there?"
I'm in a good position myself because as a startup there's a lot of different opportunities to move around. So you can start in client services and end up in sales or end up wherever, right?
I mean, there's a lot of opportunity like that, and I recognize that for a lot of people, that's not necessarily the case. But if you can figure out where the gap is between where your employee is now and where they wanna be when you ultimately shake hands and part hopefully as friends, then nobody else does that.
People don't do that. And so you're gonna be able to maintain a relationship and really keep engagement with your staff, with your team for a lot longer.
And a lot of times in that situation, if somebody's there, then you can frankly, you'll get more than just a two week notice.
And if you keep checking in, doing quarterly check-ins and saying, "Hey, how are things going? Are you still getting what you want? Is there anything that's coming up that I should know about?" Keep an open dialogue between yourself and your team.
You're gonna have a lot more opportunity to say, "Okay, so at the end of the day, you need to move on in three months. I understand that. Well, that's because we're not doing for you what you need to be doing, or you get a better offer." Whatever the case may be.
Let's kind of figure out a plan. Let's get somebody in that you can train and what have you. And so you end up with a lot more effectiveness that comes out of that relationship. That is how I've always been able to keep good people is by making sure that nobody gives my team the attention that they get from me better than I do.
Atiba de Souza: What it boils down to is really building culture. That's what you're saying.
Ian Campbell: Yeah, exactly.
Atiba de Souza: It takes all of that down to one word, it's culture.
Ian Campbell: Yep. That's right. That's right. Exactly.
Atiba de Souza: You have the culture that is sticky for them, that they can't get anywhere else.
Ian Campbell: That's it. That's it. If I can create my company to be the place that they want to be then they're not gonna leave.
Atiba de Souza: That's it. Yeah.
Ian Campbell: Exactly.
Atiba de Souza: They're not. I think there're too many small business owners that don't realize that and so kudos to you on that. And I think a lot of it has to do with they're so focused on trying to make a dollar. They're so focused on trying to get to tomorrow.
Ian Campbell: Yep.
Atiba de Souza: And I existed in that a long time too, so I get it. I get where they are.
Ian Campbell: Yeah.
Atiba de Souza: But it's not until we start to realize that if I focus more on them and making this right for them, that takes care of —
Ian Campbell: Right.
Atiba de Souza: So much more for me, right?
Ian Campbell: Exactly. Yeah. That's it. Your team is the only thing that's going to develop the company. If you can really focus your time and your attention on the people that are actually growing your company — the clients are great, right?
The clients are necessary, but the team is what is actually going to make the clients successful and in turn is what's gonna make you successful. So if you can focus your time and attention, you put your money and you put your time in the things that are most important to you. And if you can understand that your team and your employees are the people, are the one thing that's the most important to your business, then that's where your time and and money's gonna go. And then they're gonna realize that you're a step above the rest and they're gonna stick with you.
Atiba de Souza: So Ian, we get it. We don't want to hire mediocre people. Going through some sort of process helps us figure out, "Hey, is this person a jerk?" Like you were saying in your sales process, weeding those people out. But I want everybody now — because you shared a lot of great information so far. But who are you? What's your company? Tell us about Mission Suite and how people can reach you?
Ian Campbell: Absolutely, absolutely. Well, so Mission Suite is a CRM and sales automation software platform, right? So I talk a lot about salespeople because I work with a lot of salespeople.
We work with business owners, salespeople, sales teams. The idea behind Mission Suite and the focus behind Mission Suite is to create a system and well, leverage a system rather that automatically helps you move people through the sales process, whether it's somebody that you just met at a networking event and you want to follow up with 'em automatically, or maybe you want to keep in touch with your referral partners and clients once every three months or so, right?
The most dangerous place in the world is the one square foot of real estate that sits on the top of your shoulders, right? And you either forget things or even when you have a task reminder set, you kind of talk yourself out of it, "Well, they don't need to hear from me again. I don't think. Do they?"
But the reality of it is, is that the only way that you can really move people through your sales process, get new clients and whatnot, to be intentional about the times you're spending with 'em. That means that yes, every three months be in touch with your referral partners. Every three months, be in touch with your clients, find out what's going on, make sure that everything's okay.
And so those types of things don't have to happen manually, right? In fact, if you rely on manual efforts to do them, then things are gonna fall through the cracks. And so Mission Suite is there to provide that automated sales process, those automated sales processes, excuse me, that will automatically send out the follow up email after a networking event.
"Hey, it was great to meet you. We talked about getting together again. What's your calendar look like next week?" It'll automatically send out an email to a referral partner or a client once every few months. "Hey, it's been a while since we've chatted. Do you want to jump on the phone or jump on the zoom?" Those types of things.
It's not taking over the relationship by any means, right? The relationship is still between you and the client, you and the partner, you and the prospect, whatever. But what that automation is doing is it's prompting things to happen that probably wouldn't happen ordinary if you were to rely on this one square foot of real estate that sits on top of your shoulders to get it done. So that's what Mission Suite is.
As far as where you can find more about me, I'm on LinkedIn. You can find me at linkedin.com/in/ianscampbell.
And then Mission Suites website is themissionsuite.com. So you can go there too. You can check out. We've got tons of resources in there. So check those out too.