As the idiom goes, “No man is an island.” In any big business in the world, the person that visibly leads the company is almost always backed up by an equally powerful and motivated number 2 – the ‘right-hand’ or the ‘second-in-command’ or the ‘wing-man’ or whatever you want to call them.
We’re talking about the Steve Wozniak to Steve Jobs, the Paul Allen to Bill Gates, the Robin to Batman.
Choosing this person in your business – if you haven’t already chosen them – is a really big step and one that deserves some very serious consideration. This person will likely play a large part in whether your business grows to new levels of success, or falters and plateaus.
Here are 3 simple rules of thumb that you can use to help guide your decision in hiring your business number 2 so that it is someone who is likely to be the best choice for helping grow your business.
1. Look Within
It has been widely demonstrated that the best practice is to hire a #2 internally.
Having someone who has experience in your organisation and knows how it works is an invaluable asset that usually cannot be found in an external candidate.
Hiring someone internally also breeds loyalty within your organisation, and while there are many ways to build a loyal team, this is often one of the hardest traits to maintain in employees. Witnessing a colleague ascend the career path within the organisation indicates there is room to grow and climb in your organisation and they are not stuck in a ‘dead end’ job.
2. Ambition is Key
During business coaching sessions with some of my clients’ senior managers, I find that there are some that are scared by the ambition of their team members. They see it as a threat to their position in the organisation. I often identify this because they are clearly ignoring or even diminishing the superstars in their team. There seems to be a fear that if someone has a lot of ambition, they will seek to take over.
This is quite usually an unfounded and damaging fear.
Ambition is the key to driving a thriving business. It is often more important than talent when it comes to getting good results. Think about it – ambition is what drove you to where you are now, and where your business is now. Ambition is energy and motivation to achieve success.
Identify someone who is willing and able to focus their energy into your business to help it grow, and you will find yourself with the kind of backup that takes initiative and goes beyond what needs to be done and instead looks towards what should be done.
3. The Lightning Strike Test
Here is the million-pound question: Does the person you are thinking of hiring pass the “Lightning Strike” test?
That is, if you were to be struck by lightning and were bed-ridden for 2 months, would you be able to rest knowing that this person was in charge?
It is as simple as a “Yes” or “No”, and it all comes down to trust, and the systems your have set up such that your business can run without you. That is one of our indications of a truly “successful” business.
If you have found someone who could handle your business for a few months without your attention, then you may have just found your pathway to the next level of success for your business.
Choosing this person is no simple choice for any business owner or decision-maker in a business. The growth of your business massively depends on this person’s skills and how well they fit into your company. However, if you are looking to set your business onto the path of growth, and take it to where you are no longer required to play a constantly active part in it, then this is one of the most important decisions that you absolutely must make.
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