4 Hours to Save 400: The Ultimate Time Leverage

Time Leverage

Thought experiment: If there were a "leverage machine" where you could invest 4 hours and get 400 hours of free time back in your life each year. Would you play that game?

Put money aside for a moment. Even though we all know a great hire will add way more value to your business over the next several years when compared with an average hire, there's something that matters even more to some people: reclaiming their time.

One of the most common complaints we hear from founders about poor performers? They are a time suck. Someone has to continually "coach" and provide feedback to them. And worst of all: someone has to check and re-do their work. This is an energy vampire and it will drain the life from you and your company if you tolerate it.

So back to the question—if we ignore money and only count in time units (hours), just how valuable is a great hire? Here's a guesstimate: if a leader tolerates a mediocre-to-bad performer, about 10% of working hours goes to supervising, coaching, structuring work, dealing with potential PIPs, and literally re-doing poor work product. And if there is more than one of these people on the team? Ouch. 

It's fair to say that many leaders are in the position where they are spending 20% of their working hours (or more) paying the tax of settling for less than a great performer on their team. 400 hours of pain, frustration, and (worst of all) unproductive time, since you often cannot "coach" a poor performer to improve.

But what if you could avoid that disaster scenario in the first place? What would be required to dodge this misery in the first place? Our answer: about 4 hours of our Talgo interviewing training. That's about how long it takes to hit the "80/20" of interviewing competence—you will no longer commit the egregious interviewing and hiring errors that are tacitly accepted as "just the way we do things around here" by the vast majority of companies. And when you interview the way we teach, you'll collect a mountain of useful data that will help you drastically reduce the number of mishires that you make.

This is because interviewing is your primary gating mechanism for the quality of your future team members. The odd thing? Almost no one has received professional training on how to be a great interviewer. (I don't mean HR compliance training on how to not ask illegal questions...) As a result, you have the option to pick one of the lowest hanging pieces of fruit in the entire business universe: invest a half a day to learn how to interview properly and make the rest of your professional life easier, more productive, and more time rich. 

There is one type of objection I can still hear—is interviewing really that important? I'll just hire "reasonably good" people and train them, coach then, and hold them accountable. 

Jordan and I regularly conduct professional assessments and organizational due diligence projects for PE firms. Do you know what the number one most common improvement area for executives is? Holding poor performers accountable. 

Having to deal with a poor performer is one of the most emotionally difficult things anyone has to do (professionally). People are generally terrible at holding their direct reports accountable, and they are overly optimistic in people's ability to change and improve in response to coaching and feedback

Of course you want to be a great leader: you want to set clear metrics for success, empower your teammates, hold them accountable, and provide high-quality feedback. But imagine how much easier all of that is when you hire an A-player out of the gate. One who has the right attributes and skills to thrive in your specific company and role. 

What will you do with those 400 extra hours each year? Grow your business. Connect more with your family. Finally "rebalance" your life to some degree. Whatever you choose, the half-day you invested in learning how to install a talent algorithm in your company will pay dividends for the rest of your life.


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