This month I had a new partner point out that we spend more time evaluating a specific manager than a specific company. It’s true. Our Executives-on-Deck may spend 3-9 months tagging along on numerous lunches and coffees with a wide variety of people before joining our payroll. A particular business might be judged in a matter of minutes. A poor manager can ruin a good business. A bad business should simply be avoided.
People are critical to our operation and account for a very large portion of our expense and dang near all of our profit. Without a team we don’t have a business! The behavior of our managers spreads throughout the team. If they’re poor the whole company can be affected… regardless of it’s industry or history. The company momentum will propel it quickly into whatever direction the manager steers it.
I suppose we could look at resumes and LinkedIN profiles and only hire those who have managed companies precisely in a specific industry and team size that perfectly matches our present need. However, our preference is to more highly weight the desire and passion for what people want to do next. In this way we can develop together over a long time period. This requires us to evaluate both the competency and the passion revealed by their actions. And, for them to develop a level of trust in us. This takes time and judgement by both.
Along this journey we must make adjustments. Fortunately we have gathered a fantastic group of people headed in the same general direction. We are influencing and developing one another to the benefit of our customers. We are looking for humble, hungry and smart individuals to join portfolio companies at various levels.