This blog post is part 4 of a series of 7 posts, transcribed from a presentation by Daniel de Gruijter on business & entrepreneurship during the Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamp 2018, titled: “Why you should f*ck up fast & often”. Watch the full presentation here: https://youtu.be/0XqF5ZtkGw8.
During the Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamp 2018, Incitement Cofounder & CEO, Daniel de Gruijter, shares 7 stories about ‘Why you should f*ck up fast & often’, and how each of those failures taught him valuable lessons on business, entrepreneurship, hiring, leadership, and more.
Scroll down to watch the video.
In the very early stages of Incitement hiring was painful. It was really difficult because you don’t really know what to pay attention to. You want to hire a high performer, but what is high performance? You want to hire a good cultural fit, but what is a good cultural fit to you?
High Performance vs. Cultural Fit In Your Startup
At some point we hired this guy, and he was a fantastic hire. He was bringing in sales, was great at communication and PR, was bringing eyeballs to our work, it was going great for about a year. Then, slowly but surely, his performance started dropping. He showed up late, he started snapping at people, sales were going down, he didn’t receive as many media queries as before, the contrast was quite stark.
All people have their ups and downs. Even the best colleagues are off sometimes, for a day, a couple of weeks, it happens – life happens. And the only thing you can do is try to understand what is going on through conversation, and if it doesn’t change – as I’ve come to learn – there has to be a cut-off point.
We started having this conversation with him, because we knew his value. We use the Netflix-dubbed “keepers test”, which basically means asking yourself “if this person wanted to leave, how hard would I find to keep him or her?” For this particular guy the answer to that was ‘really, really hard.’ We wanted to make sure he stayed within the company.
The story started unravelling from his side, though he was very hesitant to share at first. His girlfriend was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He showed me his missed calls from her – he had hundreds of them within the time span of a few hours. She would quite literally call him every minute. When we were having lunch she would call him, and she would ask him to hold phone in the air so that she could confirm that he was actually with the people he said he was with, because she didn’t trust him. She went to his house threatening to end her own life. It was a terrible situation for the both of them. She’s diagnosed with this mental illness and needed professional help. This went on for 4 or 5 months.
The lesson I learnt from this is that we need to make sure that we draw a line between personal from business, wherever that line may be for you, it’s important it is there. No matter how hard it is, no matter how much of an ***hole it makes you seem, you have to make sure that at some point there’s a cut-off. This colleague stayed with us for 4 or 5 months, with this situation have a drastic impact on his work. He received his salary, he was in the office, he would be consuming time with everybody else, but there was little to no result. And no matter how many conversations we had, it just didn’t improve – not because he didn’t want it to, but because his relationship didn’t.
The mistake that I made was not wanting to be that guy who is perceived as insensitive, careless, or unempathetic. But sometimes, no matter how hard it is, no matter how bad it makes you feel, no matter what impression it leaves on your co-workers or on the person in question, you need to make sure that you let go of people who don’t add value.
So the advice is a bit cliché; but hire slowly, and fire fast. It sounds crude, but you can manage those expectations up front when somebody joins your company, so they are exactly aware of what they are getting themselves into.
Watch: Hire Slow, Fire Quick
Watch All F*ck Ups & Failures Here
1. The one with the lazy Malay
2. The one where they think I’m gay
3. The one where I fired my girlfriend
4. The one with the bipolar girlfriend
5. The one with Sheldon Cooper
6. The one where I got arrested
7. The one where we got evicted
Or watch the full presentation by Daniel de Gruijter on business & entrepreneurship during GE Bootcamp 2018 here:
Why you should f*ck up fast & often (https://youtu.be/0XqF5ZtkGw8)