#087: How To Build A Team Of “A” Players

Welcome to The Accelerated Investor Podcast with Josh Cantwell, if you love entrepreneurship and investing in real estate then you are in the right place. Josh is the CEO of Freeland Ventures Real Estate Private Equity and has personally invested in well over 500 properties all across the country. He’s also made hundreds of private lender loans and owns over 1,000 units of apartments. Josh is an expert at raising private money for deals and he prides himself on never having had a boss in his entire adult life. Josh and his team also mentor investors and entrepreneurs from all over the world. He doesn’t dream about doing deals, he actually does them and so do his listeners and students. Now sit back, listen, learn, and accelerate your business, your life, and you’re investing with The Accelerated Investor Podcast.

Josh: Hey, welcome back to Accelerated Investor. How are you? I am so excited to be with you. Thanks for joining me and thanks for all the feedback we’ve been getting from all of our subscribers and members inside of our private Facebook group and online on YouTube, iTunes, wherever you find this podcast or video who’ve just had tons of people sharing it, reviewing it, putting it all over the social media platforms. Just want to say thanks for that today. I have a special treat for you. I am, as you know, fanatical about building a business and the only way you can really build a business is through a couple of things. One, technology that helps you do things quicker, faster, bigger, but ultimately through people. People is what makes a business grow. Does it matter? If you look at a business a hundred years ago, like the Ford Motor Company or you talk to people who have built amazing businesses like Google and Facebook.

Josh: The technology is one thing, but the people using the technology is ultimately what builds an amazing organization and amazing culture. So I have a fantastic guest for you. His name is Rick Crossland. He is a internationally known speaker and strategists around hiring A players. He’s a regular commentator on Ink.com and Fortune.com and writes for those organizations. He does very high level business strategy around hiring the right people. He’s fanatical about hiring a players. I’m fanatical about building businesses around high players and I really thought you would benefit from my discussion with Rick. So Rick, welcome to Accelerated Investor. How are you doing today?

Rick: Hey Josh, I’m doing wonderful. Can’t wait to dig into the topic with you and your listeners.

Josh: Absolutely. So Rick, tell me about your passion for A players. Where did the passion come from? Was it a bad hire? Was it a business that somebody built that was demolished by a C player? I’m curious to know where the passion comes from.

Rick: I’ll tell you what, I wish I’d known that question beforehand. Maybe just a tad bit about more my background. So all that that you’re told is correct. I do that and the guys as an executive coach. And I got into this business because I had an executive coach when I was at Ford Motor. His name was Harry Cohen. I thought Harry had the coolest business in the world. And so when I had the chance to, you know, build my own business, I had options and I embarked, this is my 13th year of executive coaching. And so when you think of it, right, and I use this as an analogy, right? When we hop on an airplane, when we get on a, we’re ready for surgery. I don’t think too many of us want B player pilots or surgeons either flying our aircraft or doing this surgery, but for some reason in business, there’s a lot of B player apologist, right?

Rick: And I don’t know if it’s some, you know, kind of deep belief that people are do jobs, etcetera. So for some reason, as I say when it really matters like an aircraft surgery, sports or your kid’s academics, we won’t tolerate B’s or C’s, but for some reason in business, a lot of owners and one of the things that I asked, and I just wrote this up today, I wrote 10 points of a great client. One is you’re willing to top grade your team to 100% A players. And we’ll probably talk about top grading today. What top grading means is you’re uplifting every single level of the organization. You’re moving your, your C’s to B’s in route to being an A. And it’s interesting because I was doing a podcast, very nice person. You probably know her and she’s like, we go through all this and I’m like, you know, no B player apologists.

Rick: But of course Ricky can’t have a team of all A’s. I contend you can’t, it happens all the time. Right now, in many cases you have a small percentage of your team in flux, but those B players need to have a performance plan. I would rather coach people up rather than out, but you’ve got to be willing. It’s the best team money can buy. Your team has a salary cap. I have a salary cap. We need to fill that with the absolute best person at every position and every position’s important. From reception to operations to sales to finance. None is more important than the others. It’s like parts of a body and each one for the money paid and there are differentials and those reception versus CEO. To be a acute example, you’ve got to have the best available at every single if you’re going to truly win and have an unfair advantage versus your competition.

Josh: And Rick, I think it’s interesting because I’ve only been an entrepreneur my whole life, right? I’m 43 years old. I’ve never had a real boss, right? I’ve been an entrepreneur for 21 years since I graduated from college, actually started as an entrepreneur when I was 21 years old in college. And so it’s interesting. I think there’s this myth that A players are expensive and truly, that’s not really the case. You have a position, let’s say you’re going to hire a sales position for $100,000 a year plus bonus. You’re going to have A players B players and C players hire for that $100,000 position. Then being able to differentiate an A from a B, certainly an A from a C is a massive difference. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to pay a player $200,000 for the same, same position.

Josh: So I think it’s really comes down to two things in my opinion, and I definitely want to hear your take on all this, but what I’ve experienced in real business over the past 22 years is that one, there’s the perception that A players are more expensive and they’re not. And secondly, there’s the perception that I just need the job done today. So I think we get impatient and we’re not patient enough to hire the right people who can then have a huge, massive impact on our business longterm. So that’s my immediate take on why people are thinking that they can’t have or can’t afford A players, which was, which is just on my mind. You have a tremendous amount of experience with this because you’ve been doing it for 13 years as an executive coach, but I am still interested in you answering my first question is, is where did it come from? Where did your passion for this begin?

Rick: Yeah, so really, you know, when coaching, and I’ll kind of go back to the beginning, had a chance to do a podcast just like this with the great Michael Gerber, Michael E. Gerber is how he prefers to call the vema thing. And you need to build those processes first, right? So in the beginning, somebody at your organization knew what was going on and you’re able to train on it. And that is a big part back to being a savvy investor. You know, have you built something that has uniqueness to it and you have systems and processes for everything you do, including the intake of talent.

Rick: That said, when you know that I actually have something called an A player agreement, your listeners can find that on my website. That is a job description on steroids and when you do that, you know what you’re looking for. And I would contend most managers have no freaking clue what their people should be doing because they have not taken the time and they don’t have the courage, they haven’t had taken the time to written it down and then they don’t have the courage to actually coach somebody on here’s where I need you to be.

Rick: So you need to have all those systems so you need a really good specification for the role. That’s how you get an A in the role. Then you have all the training involved to get somebody there. Now we go out in the marketplace and Josh, I 100% agree with you, I’ll pay 5% I’ll pay a 10% premium for an A player head to head all day long. And I can’t tell you how many times somebody has an $85,000 position and they won’t go $87,000 when there’s a clearly better candidate. It just blows my mind. So absolutely. But you need to know what you’re looking for in the end of 2019 recruiting is brutal. We just got a message from LinkedIn that our messages are lower than normal. That’s because the market’s so tight. In that case you need to have angles. Like I need to have feeder groups to me, our business need feeders. Like where can I get a potentials that I can actually build up this talent? Maybe taking our 80,000 maybe there’s a $68,000 candidate that with some development. I can have doing 90% of that $80,000 job or that $85,000 job.

Josh: Right? It’s amazing that the people are out there, right? It is really, really tight right now. However people are always on the move, right? People might not like their job because of their boss. They might not like their job because of the office they sit in and they might not like their job because of the commute. I have people that work for me now simply because we’re in the suburbs, right? They were happy at a former job. So people are always on the move. So there’s this, there’s no shortage of talent if you have an amazing culture and the ability to constantly be looking for talent. So let’s take a step back for a second. Help me define in your mind and when you’re coaching your executives and your businesses, what exactly is an A player? Well, how do you define it?

Rick: Easy definition. Top 10% of the market for the compensation paid. So we have A players and a lot of times when we’re looking, we have a range. That’s one definition. The other one is you would enthusiastically rehire them. So think I’ll just take a pause of that. Ask a CEO at the bar. Hey, have your team right now, how many would you enthusiastic or rehire? By the way, strategically they said their team’s fantastic and they differentiate with people and they’ll say 60%, right? So that’s not really a differentiated people strategy. And then they have their second sip of their scotch or bourbon. And their like, well not so fast. 50%, 40% and that number drops like a stone and the re, you know, really when you look at that and you look at all the frustrations that you have and why work is not getting done, why execution isn’t done, it’s because of B players.

Rick: We probably won’t talk much today about C players because you shouldn’t have any C players on your team. If you do, you’ve got big problems, right. You might have nepotism issues, you might have, you know, your promise, somebody, granddad, he’d always have a job. Never do that by the way. It’s pay for performance and you’re as good as your last performance. You know that as an entrepreneur. I certainly know that. So no entitlements. So those are the first two. And then I’ll conclude with the third. So top 10% of the industry you’d enthusiastically rehire.

Rick: The last part is they need to model your core values. And an interesting question, let’s just take sales for a second and you find a candidate who, and I’ll use a polite term, they’re a jerk. A lot of people like, well, we’re going to put them in the middle of Kansas. What harm can they do? There just going to work with the territory, but if you really believe your core values, you wouldn’t hire a, so never hire a jerk or worse. And so that’s really important. Are people oozing your core values? You know, if one of your core values is promptness, they ooze promptness. If one of your values is core customer service, they ooze customer service right down to the point. We can actually measure it.

Josh: Love it. That’s fantastic. Now why don’t more entrepreneurs, business owners, in my case, guys that manage money, private equity, real estate investing businesses, multi-family investors, why don’t entrepreneurs in general that the CEO, somebody sitting in my seat, why don’t they or why have they failed so miserably at hiring A players? What are some core recurring themes that you’ve seen or complaints that you’ve seen of why they haven’t found A players can’t retain A players, can’t source A players, don’t have more A players on their team?

Josh: So the short answer that is, they’re incongruent. And let me get into that. And the other way I could answer that was I could’ve said, Josh, I wish I really knew because there’s no rational reason to do it. The other reason, by the way, is fear is they really don’t know what they’re looking for. The incongruence is they talk a great game about people. If I had a dime for every leader who tells me he’s a great leader, but then when you ask his team or her team, they’re terrible at leadership. So there’s just, there’s this real incongruency between how people view themselves as transcendental leaders yet. And here’s how you keep them honest, by the way, they can’t be an A player leader unless their team is 100% A players or 80%, 90%. And they’re got development plans on their only remaining B’s. Because you got to be like a Mike Shashefski, a John Wooden level coach.

Rick: And by the way, coaching, there’s a lot in the literature that coaching is actually the highest form of leadership right now. You know, take a Mike Shashefski at Duke, take Ryan Day at Ohio State now. I mean, a first year coach, this might be the best Ohio State team ever following a hall of fame level coach. He might get talent better. His culture might actually be better. So you’re recruiting, are you, you know, here’s a fun one. Well, Mike Shashefski and Ryan Day, they’re both multi-millionaires. You know, they can afford the time to be in the recruits living rooms and they are still in their top recruits living rooms, selling the recruits, selling the parents on their program.

Rick: Well, wait a second. You told me you had a multimillion business, so why are you different really fundamentally than Ryan Day or makes you Shefsky? You own a multi-million dollar business. You tell me people are important, but you’re not recruiting as hard as them and the recruiting is only one part of it. Are you coaching as hard? Are you willing to stick your neck out and make people uncomfortable to build the systems, process and demand the excellence of an a player?

Josh: That’s fantastic and I was thinking that whole time while you were talking about the guys that already have money or already made it in business or have $1 million company or a multi-million dollar company or the multi-million dollar coach, and I was thinking also about the guy that’s just starting right together, just starting his business like is bootstrapping it and grinding it out and working long nights and putting his own money in the company to get it off the ground. That guy can’t afford a miss hire, so if he does, it could sink the whole business in like in 10 seconds flat.

Josh: So that guy doesn’t really care where you’re at in your growth. If you’re, you’re new and you’re trying to get to let’s say $5 million, you’re still in startup phase, you’re probably grinding it out and the CEO’s really hustling. One of the things they should be hustling for is the intake and the coaching and the retention of A players. Because that’s the only way that a CEO can get to from $5 million to maybe $10 million and beyond, is to replace themselves with amazing people. So even maybe more important for a guy who’s in startup mode or new business mode to get the right people on board, right? Why don’t more of these CEOs and people that you work with, why don’t they put more time and attention into recruiting and hiring A players?

Rick: The guys I do work with, Josh do, right? They get talent and you need angles, right? You need an X factor in your recruiting. You need to do it differently than your competition or you get the same people or the rejects that your competition gets. So you need to build recruiting systems, you know, have you documented the roles? Do you know exactly where the mis-hires come from? My guys you know, when we are, recruiting is a third of our business. We just took odds and there’s one to three odds if this candidate that another recruiter has, because we looked at the background, they have this hoppy background, they’ve been everywhere and they have no, they don’t have a background of results. I would get rather get a junior person with bonafide results. I’d rather get the girl scout cookie seller who sells $2,000 a year of girl scout cookies without her mom’s help.

Rick: And you know, and I’m being a little funny here, but get that person as your sales manager rather than the clown who saw somebody else’s work. And half the time we find they’re claiming other people’s deals. This happens all the time. People don’t know how to interview and you’re going to get, if someone’s been everywhere, 18 months, guess how long they’re going to be at your place? 18 months. But because we think we’re transcendental coaches and leaders, we’re going to fix them and change them. Meanwhile, we don’t have any coaching systems. We’ve not been professionally coached and you’re doomed to rinse and repeat and also have an 18 month hire.

Josh: Got it.

Rick: Who never performs the whole time they’re there by the way.

Josh: Yeah. And just drags things down and tremendously. So Rick, what are like, like coach me for a minute, right? I’m a CEO. We have about 30 employees and we do millions of millions of dollars a year. We manage about $35 million of private money. We have $175 million portfolio. And I think I’m that transcend the leader that you just described. And I think we’ve got a lot of A players in the room. So what are some tips for making sure that we have a recruiting system, which I don’t know that my company is that we have a recruiting system, although we should, I do think we have X factors in the way we run our business and opportunities here. So what are some tips for me or our listeners starting to be a better recruiter or starting to select better A. What’s some real tactics to getting that done?

Rick: Right. It’s really knowing why the people who have been successful are successful and being able to identify in a profile and you got to remember most resumes lie, right? So we use top grading and what we do with the top grading, we have all the recruits put their information on a portal and what’s one, there’s many interesting things to this and I call that a results driven interview. I blog quite a bit on this and we actually start in reverse chronological order. So most resumes, if you think their most recent jobs at top, we actually start in high school and we want that longitudinal view. People’s backgrounds that make sense make sense. If they’d taken a couple turns down the road, but if you start with the current job, usually you’re satisfied and yet, you know, maybe a pluck somebody from your closest competition but you kind of, you fool yourself and you’re like, you know, a year and a half looks like 10 years or a year and a half looks like five years and you miss that the job before that was actually terrible, right?

Rick: You have a bias because you’re doing it in the wrong order. You want to build that up and you want to get a team. Don’t do this solo, don’t pass people down the hall. Get your core hiring team and get as many candidates as you can humanly possible. Which in 2019 is like three. I hate to tell people we don’t use tools like indeed we go for private people, we use big data tools and we plucked people. We pluck happy people who are well adjusted at their current role and provide them something better. And we vet for results resume. And think of this right? You have an a player versus a B player. He did one interview in the morning and by the way, our interviews are lengthier but we have the whole team at once.

Rick: So it’s actually more time efficient for your exec team and you all get good at talent together. And as a CEO, Josh, don’t you speak first. You get the most junior A player on your team and know B players can be in the room from your team because you’ll pollute the water. And you know, most junior A player, what do you think? Well Shelly, the most junior A player says, well I think Tony here did this and this. Well what do you think of Tony’s results, right? And we unpack it together and we were able to actually make a decision. Okay, we’re going to see Tammy in the afternoon. We’re going to compare Tony to Tammy. Now let’s look at Tammy and if you can get that head to head, there are situations where you’re like a sniper. You got one shot and that happens a lot in 2018 2019 will continue to happen in 2020 so you get good as a team together and you start to see, it’s like a like music, right?

Rick: Music’s comprised of the notes, but it’s also comprised of the non notes. Those pauses and silences are what make music work. Because if you just had one constant note, it wouldn’t be music. So you’re looking for errors and omission. And it is so clear between an A and a B. An A player sounds like a highlight reel. They will tell you chapter and verse and you will not be bored. Make the interview three hours. And if it’s three hours and you’re not bored, it’s definitely an A player. And it might not have to be a three hour review, but we’re going that deep prove that result. How did you get that? I sold $4 million. How’d you do it? Tell me about your biggest deal. Tell me about the deals that went bad. You find out everything in between. Find out what they inherited all those.

Rick: I know I’m using some sales examples. Sales is pretty much the toughest on operations. You know, it’s interesting, some resumes are written like they were spectators. You know, I learned this, I saw this, I was responsible for, I don’t care about any of that. I want to know what you did. I want to know that you moved a $15 million production facility to a $20 million and I want to know where all your battle scars is and how hard it was because a real combat and A player in the arena knows all that stuff. And it is fascinating, you know, and by the way, here’s my acid test. You’re so excited about that candidate. Your spouse asks you when you come home for dinner, how your day was, Oh my goodness, we have to get Tamara.

Josh: First thing off the top of your head, right.

Rick: She’s so good. I got to get her. And maybe, you know, you’re following up. You got to pursue these people. Trust me, the top NCAA coaches are calling, I’m a Duke alum. Shashefski after winning a national championship is texting Zion Williamson to make sure Zion is on his team. And a couple of years I was two years out. That’s how hard those guys want it.

Josh: Nice. Yeah. It’s a constant recruiting process, right? As the CEO, as the head coach, making sure. And what we find is we often the people that we hire, the people that we bring in that do really well are often people that we’ve met in the past through a friend or through a relationship or referral and we weren’t really hiring at that time for that position, but they were somehow in our ecosystem they were somehow introduced to us. Somebody knew of them, somebody knew what they were looking for, where they were really good at their job, and then when we opened up this position, someone is like, hey, what about blah, blah, blah. What about Natalie for example? What about Natalie? We know Natalie is at her job. She likes it. She’s killing it, but she might not be happy with what she’s doing. There’s maybe not a lot of upside. We’re opening up this position for digital marketing. What about Natalie?

Josh: We already know her when she comes in again, interview, first interview, highlight reel. This is what I got done. This is what I got done. I did this. I leveled up that, we made these sales. I helped to support these reps and you know, she could talk forever about all of her successes and sure enough relationship was there came in long interview, highlight reel. I mean I’m very familiar with the top creating process in the interview starting from their oldest job, working their way to the most recent job. We’ve done all those kinds of things and it works, man it works. 

Josh: And when I find somebody that I can think can have a huge impact in our business, you bet you’re right. When I go home I’m like, Lisa, you’re not going to believe this, right? Because we know you’re already feeling this person can have a huge impact on your business. Make things easier, make things faster, make more sales, whatever it is. So really just to kind of unpack and debrief where we’ve gone so far with this conversation, Rick, is first of all, you got to have the job description in writing in detail. Know exactly what you want this person to do, right? And have this systems driven…

Rick: Activity driven. What’s a week look like? What’s a month look like? What’s a day look like? Not responsibilities, not where you went to school, not that you need an MBA or a CPA. What are you doing? And then in the interview you’re ascertaining are they doing that now?

Josh: Right. What I like to say is when we’re hiring somebody, I don’t want people learning on the job, so I want somebody who’s already done what I’m going to ask them to do. And the second thing is they have to have total passion for it, meaning like they would almost do the job for free because they love it so much. They’ve been doing it for so long. It’s like they go home, they don’t even feel like work is work because they love it so much. Of course everybody wants to get paid, not that they would work for free, but in generally they’re feeling like God, I mean, I love this so much. I would do this in my spare time or I’d do this for free. For us, those are the two big ones, right? If somebody’s already got the experience, they’ve done the job and one, two, they have passion for it.

Josh: Third is culture, right? They’ve got to fit in. They’ve got to do, again, you mentioned core values was a big part of what you mentioned. They’re fitting in with the core competency of the company or the core mission of the business. They fit there. You get those three things right? Passion for the business, success in the past, core competency, and they, you know, they love what they’re doing and they’ve had success in the past. Those kinds of things. Bring somebody in they’re going to have a big impact right away, right now. Somebody in your business, right?

Rick: Can we, before we go there, can we, there’s an intermediate step, right? So you select, is your onboarding process a true onboarding process where you make people successful? Because here’s another thing, Josh, as the hiring manager, do you stick your mouth or have you vouched for this person, right? Are you going to stick your neck out that you’re going to do everything humanly possible to make them successful? And that’s the difference between good leaders versus bad leaders? Many won’t, right? They’re like, well, we’ll see how they do, right? They’ve done the Pontius Pilot wash their hands. I want people with skin in the game. You know, you’re not the chicken at breakfast, you’re the pig, you know? Are you going to do everything you know and most leaders won’t, right? So that is your onboarding process a true onboarding or is it a waterboarding process? Right, right?

Josh: Right. I like that. So onboarding, meaning, again, you get back to systems, right? Are they learning the culture? What are we all about? Are they being trained on whatever technology and software that you’re going to use? Does the hiring manager believe in this person? Are they being set up for success from day one that they walk into your organization, right?

Rick: Is it a training matrix and beyond the soft stuff, and there’s the culture in that, right? But let’s just take sales. You’re not hiring somebody to use the old selling system, right? You’re hiring for their success and the fact that they were successful in that patch, but I can’t stand it when I get somebody. We’ll at the old company, we used to do it this way. If you got that person, you got the wrong hire. You want somebody who, Hey, our old system works, show me your system, show me the Duke basketball system of your business. They should be coming. 

Rick: And by the way, have that playbook at the interview. You’ll blow the A player away. You guys have a playbook. I want to come work for you. They want to get people who want to follow your system. They don’t get to change your system until they hit par. And they hit par, then they can optimize and they do V2 or V3. But until they do, it’s like cutting the water on a golf course. You don’t go for the par five in four unless you can par it because otherwise you’re dropping a lot of title lists in the water.

Josh: Right. Awesome. So yeah, that playbook is huge, right? It gets back to, again, systems written, documented. Here’s your playbook, here’s how you’re successful. This is the number of calls you have to make if you’re in sales or the number of activities and the number of appointments that you have to keep. Here’s your…

Rick: Here’s how you counter seven actions if it’s production, right? So we’re doing granite production now and you came from lumber production, right? You need to learn the granite production system. There might be a lot of analogs with that. Maybe you had some good critical numbers and some things that worked and you are, you’re taking your knowledge and then building on our system and Oh, by the way, document as you go.

Josh: Yeah, that’s a huge part of it right there. I think so many CEOs are so busy because a lot of CEOs are in the business doing a job that they’re not documenting the systems as they go, right? Because if you’re a CEO like me and you’re, you’re in your business and you’re working in the company all the time, you don’t have time to select talent. You don’t have time to create systems. You don’t have the time to document it as you go. So when people say, well, what does a CEO do? That’s exactly what you do. Hire for talent, recruit and raise money. If you need to raise money in your company, you have to sell the banks or sell investors on what you’re doing. That’s the CEO’s job. Recruit and hire talent. We already discussed and make sure that all the systems are documented.

Josh: Right. One of my favorite quotes is from the book, Work The System by Sam Carpenter. And he talks about in that book that the CEO’s job is not to put out brush fires, it’s not to put out brush fires. The CEO’s job is to document all the systems to make sure to work outside and above the business so they can work on things like recruiting capital, recruiting talent, documenting the systems. They don’t really have a job in the business every day of selling or production. And that’s what people say. Well I don’t have time for recruiting, I don’t have time for A players. This problem is because you’re in your business too much.

Rick: Right. The job of the CEO is talent first and foremost, chief talent officer. And we abdicate that. We don’t even delegate it. We usually advocate it. And if you’re an operations manager and your advocating that to the HR manager, uh, let me give you a wake up call. Most cases the HR manager has no freaking clue what you really want, which is why you’re spinning back and forth and shuffling around B player candidates. You got to take the time yourself. You’ve got to get really good at talent and CEO who remembers what it’s still like to be good at talent and holds their team accountable for it. 

Rick: And for whatever reason, people want to break the recruiting systems like crazy. Like they’ll get, they’ll follow the whole top brain, you’ll get the best ever recruits. And then some reason it’s like, I’m going to drive without my safety belt and blows my mind. It’s like, wait, you just had fantastic, best ever results and now, now we’ve taken off the seatbelt. It’s crazy. It’s like driving a NASCAR without a safety belt and I don’t know where that comes from, but it’s a, you’re messing with fire. I mean, you were messing with fire.

Josh: The mistakes that I’ve made for sure and I’ve made many, many in my career is right. Even when you get it right and like you’re talking about the recruiting process, the selection process, you get that right? Then there’s the onboarding process and you get that right. Then there’s the ongoing coaching process like Tom Brady and Bill Belicheck had been together now what, 18 years or something like that and they continue to go to Superbowls every single year. Do you think that Bill Belicheck, stopped coaching Tom Brady nine years ago?

Rick: Not at all. Not at all.

Josh: He didn’t stop, right? He still coaches him every day. Did you look at this? Did you look at your check down? Did you call a different play? Did you audible at the line based on the defense, here’s something we would’ve done differently or here’s maybe three different options for plays that would’ve worked against this defensive set. It’s not like he sat after nine years, which, and Tom Brady won Super Bowls, right? He’s was the greatest quarterback of all time years ago. Not now, but years ago. I’m sure, right, that is still being coached. He still being, you know, things are being pointed out. It’s not like you can show up for practice and just goof off for two and a half hours while the rest of his team works hard. He’s being held to a higher standard. So the last piece of this right is retention, retention, and coaching of your talent to make sure that they stay and continue to get better. It’s, that’s what really makes people stay longterm as opposed to the hamster wheel of, well, that guy didn’t work and I’ve got to go hire someone else, right. So talk to me about retention.

Rick: Yeah. And I’ll use your Brady analogy. I just wanted to point out, I think Brady’s now 42 so his body is going against him.

Josh: Yeah. Don’t tell me that. I’m 43, I’m 43.

Rick: I’m older than you.

Josh: Don’t remind me, don’t remind me.

Rick: I’m older than you. People can let up, but I’m actually older than you. But Tom, Tom works harder on himself than anybody else. He’s the hardest worker there and that’s his greatness. He knows he doesn’t have a fixed mindset, he has a growth mindset. So he’s down to diet, he’s down to sleep, he’s down to exercise any edge. And that’s a hallmark of an A player. You’re looking for any edge. And think of it from a coachability standpoint, right? You, Josh you and I meet similar people, right? 

Rick: You meet the great business owners who are the most successful in the room. They’ll talk to a guy like you and me and they’re like, wait a second, you’re on something. Talk to me about that. Right? The arrogant ones shut down. I know, I know. But you look at the greats, they are so open to any edge possible, business-wise. The Tom Brady’s the Roger Federer’s and you look at the great athletes now who are winning against the clock. They are working harder than the younger people on themselves.

Josh: Love it. So how has the CEO or a business owner or a top level executive, what are some things that we can take into our business retention wise, tactical wise? Like is it sitting with these, you know, your people that are working in the dirt, doing the work, whether it’s in sales or production or whatever. Is it like a coaching session every week? Is it monthly goals? Is it quarterly assessments? Help me understand what should we be doing, the things that you’ve seen over the last 13 years that you’ve seen consistently work to help these A players continue to grow right and continue to do better, and then the level of the rest of the organization with them, right?

Rick: Well, if I can answer that, let me do it the antithesis first, which is what not to do. So if you want people to leave, make them work with idiots B players, bozos, and give them crappy work to do and crappy work for a CEO means maybe you’re flip flopping, you’re indecisive, you can’t make a decision. You disempower people. That’s all crappy executive work. So if you want to drive away your talent, make them work with bozos and give them undefined, crappy work to do, frustrating work.

Josh: Got it. And so to keep people the opposite, right? Let them work with other amazing people who are goal-driven, who are pushing, who aren’t looking for any edge because A players want to hang out with A players. A players don’t even really want to hang out with B players, right? They want to hang out with the best.

Rick: They’ll work with A potentials. That’s fun for them to develop them. But they hate working with B players. If you and so those of you on the call who have retention problems, it’s because you have B players who are driving your A’s out and you’re giving them crappy work.

Josh: Got it.

Rick: Okay. So what should you be doing? You should be leading a strategic planning process. Build a strategic planning framework like the scaling up one page plan. That’s the best one where you’re getting these A players, A players love to be part of the strategic plan. Now here’s a great acid test for in fact, do you truly have A players on your team? A players are both strategic and they execute well. So nobody can be in the strategic planning room. By the way, I recommend you do that quarterly and the cadence of meetings is an annual, a quarterly, a monthly management meeting that solves a big issue and reports out on progress to the quarterly plan.

Rick: A weekly, where you’re also touching base on progress and you’re handling kind of maybe more of a annoyance type of issue. Handling one of those a week and then doing a daily huddle, that cascades from the executive suite down to the front line. So that’s a pulse in your organization and you’re taking the strategic and you’re taking it into bite size executional trunks to propel your organization. And then you’ll know, you’ll know by the visibility net plan, we do this online in the cloud. Any of your listeners want to see what that looks like. It automatically color codes. It’s not just false codes, right? Based on the work done is given you the code.

Rick: And I mean an A player can be yellow, but the A players, the first one are not blaming anybody else. You know, I’m behind. I need to make that happen. The goals important because the goals and intrinsically important to hitting the big goals, the bee hives of the business. So they have to be done. And if someone’s too busy, I call them the busy bees. The busy bees will kill you if someone’s just, I’m busy, I’m busy, I’m busy. That’s an excuse. We can work with six clients a day. You could pump out a couple million dollars of production, but you’re not busy. We banned the word busy and most of the businesses I work with.

Josh: That is awesome. Well listen, we need to kind of round third and head for home here. I know there’s some materials and some freebies and some things you’ve already mentioned, so I want to make sure we memorialize that. Give our listeners an opportunity to dive in with some of these tools that you mentioned. So where can people get more information from your website about just, you know, leveling up top grading hiring and retaining a player?

Rick: Yeah, so got a bunch of tools on a website. Here are a lot of good things that there’s a lot of resources there. So the website’s APlayerAdvantage.com Josh, unique to your listeners, we have APlayerAdvantage.com/PodcastOffers. There’s three really good offers there, right? First one, there’s a business assessment. Second year, a team members can build active accountability with an online course. And the third one, if you’re really serious about improving your business and get a half an hour with me, which is worth over $750, so happy to, you know, give a business owner, you know, some advice and look at, you know, where some opportunities in their businesses.

Josh: Absolutely. That sounds amazing. APlayerAdvantage.com/PodcastOffers, there’s three freebies there for you. Make sure you guys check that out. Jump in, use the material. Rick, this has just been an awesome discussion when my favorite topics because you can only build a business with amazing people until the robots do all the work. We’re all going to have to work together, right? So Rick, thanks so much for joining us today on an Accelerated Investor. I had a blast,

Rick: Josh, same here. You asked some great questions. It really enjoyed your show.

You’ve been listening to Josh Cantwell and the Accelerated Investor Podcast. Leave a comment on our iTunes channel and let us know what you want to learn next, or who you’d like Josh to interview. While you’re there, give us some five star rating and make sure to subscribe so you can be the first to hear new episodes. Follow Josh Cantwell and his companies, the Strategic Real Estate Coach and Freeland Ventures on all social media platforms now and stay up to date on new training and investment opportunities to start your journey toward the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of. Apply for coaching at JoshCantwellCoaching.com.

With such a tight job market, how do you continue to find and recruit top talent to your team? Rick Crossland from A Player Advantage has been coaching executives for 13 years on how to build a team of the best of the best, and he breaks down for us today on what to look for and how to hire the right teammates for your business. 

When we talk about an A player, what does that mean exactly? An A player is someone: 

  • In the top 10% of the market for their compensation pay.
  • You’d enthusiastically rehire.
  • That models your company’s core values.

Sometimes people are held back from recruiting A players because they simply don’t have the right processes in place. They’re not even sure what their own people should be doing. Rick says that detailed job descriptions establish right off the bat what kind of candidate they should be looking for. So when you get a candidate in front of you, you know that they can hit the ground running because they’ve already done some if not most of the things in your job description. 

Resumes tell a lot about a person, and sometimes they lie. Hold a results driven interview by asking a candidate about their first few jobs to see how they got to where they are today. An A player’s interview should read like a highlight reel of their successes, and that’s when you know you’ve got someone in front of you who’s going to give 110% to your team.  

When I find someone that’s going to have a huge impact on my business by making things easier or faster, I want that person on my team no matter what. I can’t stop thinking about how they’re going to add to my business. That kind of excitement is what clues me in that this candidate is going to be the perfect addition to my team.

What’s Inside:

  • Find talent by rebuilding your recruiting system.
  • What to do when you’ve found the perfect person for your team.
  • Why an A player’s job interview should sound like a highlight reel.
  • Learn how to identify an A player by asking about their high school job.

Mentioned in this episode​

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