EMPLOYEE HEADACHES: Escaping Hiring Blunders (Excerpt from my new book, 7 Startup Blunders)

angry staf

Hiring adventures, for a startup, can be filled with headaches. Yes, they are adventures because the startup is prone to making critical mistakes in the hiring process. The problem here is that a wrong hiring decision impact greatly on a startup than on a larger organization. Take a look at the math:

A startup of two staff hires a wrong third person; the effect of the wrong hiring decision is one out of three, which is a 33% negative impact.

A large company of 99 staff hires a wrong 100th person; the effect of the wrong hiring decision is one out of hundred, which is a 1% negative impact.

Consider that the larger company has a financial cushion, has operating systems and experienced professionals to negate the effect of the 1% wrong hire while the startup is left to deal with a lethal 33% negative impact from just one wrong hiring decision. That is a glimpse of the cost of committing a hiring blunder. Now imagine a one out of two hiring error…50% impact is as good gambling the survival of the startup. That is why the hiring blunder must be avoided at all cost. And where one is made, be quick to fire just as you were quick to hire wrongly. Refusal to take this critical step can lead to consequences that can take a long time to crawl out of.

Employee headache
Employee headache

I made this mistake at the very beginning of my business but thankfully, I was able to realize it before the effects became really grave. The very first hiring decision was really bad. The second was worse. This one misrepresented what the brand I was building stood for. At some point, he would come to my home office and just doze for hours on the couch while I was loaded down with the laborious work of thinking about what strategies to deploy and how to organize the resources needed for execution. I found myself working for the young man that was supposed to be helping me build the business. I didn’t have to be told; it was time for him to go. Don’t be told too; fire! That lesson was learnt in my third year in the University when a business man counseled me on my entertainment startup business where I was having issues with my General Manager (my friend) who was getting too influential for control getting near taking over leadership without an actual succession initiative. He said, “Never hire whom you cannot fire!”

Watch out for the full eBook shortly…7 Startup Blunders.

To your startup success,

You are an Icon!

Adeleke David

Mr. Effectiveness


The Problem with being an Entrepreneur (3)

We started out some days ago by examining the problems with being an entrepreneur. Today we will conclude on that.


Problem Four: Employee Headache
For some days now, I’ve been writing episodes for Effectiveness on Radio, our weekly radio show airing on PraiseWorld Radio (an online radio) and I was forced to write three episodes on employee headache. Hiring becomes a problem when you don’t know how volatile a recruitment error can be and how lethal its effect can be on the company. Managing people is one of the many headaches that come with being an employer, and if you don’t have the shock absorbers for it, you can go bananas. People remain the number one most appreciable asset of any organization but they remain the number one headache of employers (especially when you hire wrongly). For small organizations, your hiring decisions are very important. One wrong hire out of two payroll staff is a 50% loss to the company and a capital down effect. Pls be guided.

Problem Five: Clients Problem
The next terrible set of people you will have to deal with will be clients. I’ve been burned a number of times, so I speak from a standpoint of experience. Many things can go wrong from default in payment agreements to unnecessary difficulty in relating with them and much more. As a rule, it is wise to back all verbal discussions with written and jointly signed documents. And be sure to honor your part of the agreement. Making assumptions on behalf of clients can be a terrible experience too, especially when your staff makes such assumptions on behalf of the company. Client feedback is also a great way to measure yourself but getting that feedback can be a herculean task as most clients do not want to fill forms.

These are just a few problems I have highlighted. My intention with this writing is not to discourage you from entrepreneurial pursuit but to affirm the validity of that pursuit. If you should be an entrepreneur, you must have been reading with a burning excitement and figuring out what went wrong sometime ago. If you read with a broken heart or got all the more confused as you read, chances are you don’t have the software of an entrepreneur in you. You are better off not venturing into the jungle; there are wild ferocious beasts at large.


So, if I am not an entrepreneur at heart and I don’t like having a job, what should I do? I’ll end this article with my answer to that. People in this category are often supporters. They are drawn to entrepreneurship but do not have the spirit of enterprise. They are usually the people who support the entrepreneur. Hey, find an entrepreneur with a vision you are crazy about and support him to the very end. Lay all the cards on the table from the very start; express your desires, expectations and reach a conclusion so that you don’t strain your working relationship later on. Every entrepreneur needs an avid supporter, an undefatigable helper, a trusted second-in-command. That I believe is where you fit into the whole picture.

And if you are not in any of the two categories I have spoken about, stay on your job or make a transition to another job that you will find more fulfilling and challenging. Whatever you do, make sure that you are doing the right thing always.

You are an Icon!

I am Adeleke David (Mr. Effectiveness)
Twitter: @davidadeleke