Hire Leadership, Not An Assistants

A mistake I see most founders make is they hire an assistant as their first hire. Do not do this. Hire leadership.

The first person I hired was our Country Director, and I recommend you do the same. On day-one I hired and empowered someone into a leadership position to build the organization. In hindsight, this was critical for three reasons.

Short-term. It removed me from the day-to-day mission oriented projects. I could then focus on the equally important vision oriented projects; these are not one and the same, they are very different, and only you can do this. It also freed me to focus on finding the ever important funding to get through the first few years.

Mid-term. It defined the kind of leader I was at the organization. I could have very easily became a micro-manager. This showed that my intention was toward empowerment of our team members.

Long-term. This helped me feel as if I wasn’t shouldering the entire organization. The empowerment of others took a great deal of stress off me.

Looking back, my initial hiring budget was limited, I couldn’t afford to hire a Country Director. Very few organizations start out having the budget available to hire an experienced Country or Program Director with multiple years of experience. I believe there are two paths you can take when hiring; those with passion or experience.

At the organization that I founded back in 2006, on a strictly HR standpoint, we have excellent employee retention. I believe our retention rate is linked to the fact we hire looking for passion first, not experience. We look for honest individuals who want to help us achieve our mission. We provide training and a compassionate work environment for them to learn and grow in. As our organization grew our team gained more experience. Our team’s compensation grew in tandem with our financial growth. This is something I’m very proud of.