Raising the Bar with a Hired Gun

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To improve your company’s performance, sometimes you need to bring in a hired gun, someone who has a strong track record of performance, a clear vision for improvement, and a commanding personality.

The argument can be made that leaders are best grown from within the ranks, because they know the culture, clients and systems. But the downfall of this strategy is that you get more and more of the same.

If developing leaders from within is working well for you, then do not change it!  But if you are looking for a breakthrough in company culture and results, a hired gun can be part of the answer.

Example. Year’s ago we recruited a hired gun to come into our pool service department to lift the bar on the rest of the team of technicians. It took us two years to recruit him, and he negotiated a premium. He brought brains, spirit and a super strong work ethic. The result: it raised the performance and gross margin for the entire division.

The key to the success of a hired gun is to make sure their personal value-set is relatively aligned with your corporate values…but not 100% aligned; otherwise they bring no added value.

You want their presence to stretch and improve your culture, without breaking it.

Making it work. Think of a hired gun as an acquisition: many acquisitions fail because not enough integration work is done during the initial months.  Make sure of the following:

  • Ample communication during the first few months.
  • Their boss is bringing clear leadership and not abdicating.
  • Agreement on priorities has been established.
  • Cultural differences are addressed as they pop up.
  • Current clients are benefiting (and not being overlooked) during the transition period.

Jeffrey’s Breakthrough Idea: The right hired gun will stretch and change your company culture for the better.

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