Why I Wrote It
In 2001 I graduated Vet School and took my first job as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. And it was in very short order I realized I had gone from student to Doctor, and people were depending on me for the answer, the final answer. I had grown up working on farms starting in 6th grade and had been “the gopher” my whole life up until that point. I had been given orders and executed them. Someone would tell me to go get a ½ wrench, and I didn’t walk to get it, I ran to get it. We would be told to go build a fence around a circle of corn to turn cows out on, and not only did we build it, but we would have competitions to see who could build their half the quickest.
Now, I was making diagnosises without a DVM intern helping, or a DVM resident, or a DVM clinician overseeing things. I also realized I had kennel staff, technicians, and administrative folks asking questions, looking to me for answers. I was no longer the gopher, but the decision-maker, at the ripe old age of 24. I had graduated Vet School one of the youngest in the class, at 24, my immature brain was circling in the chaos!
As things advanced, and I entered another practice in another town, I was then involved in the interview process. We were a growing vet clinic, that needed more help and they asked me to sit in on interviews if I was available. They were often short, we didn’t ask the right questions, we only conducted one to make a decision, and often involved the appearance of the person more so than the quality of the person.
Things continued to advance, and my wife and I bought AMC. Once again, we were growing and adding people. It was chaos, yet we got a lot of work done, and often waiting too long to make a hire given the bootstrap nature of what I was doing. We would bring people in, interview them once, make a decision, often saying, “How soon can you start” since we had waited too long to hire to begin with! So we hired out of desperation and extreme need, vs hiring methodically and not before desperation had set in.
The issue is, for almost all of us, no one, not one single person has taught us how to hire people. Those of us who are “go-getters” often start out low on the totem pole, work our way up, and next thing we know, people are expecting us to conduct the hiring process, do interviews, and hire team members. We get put in leadership positions because of our work ethic and desire to make things happen, but there is no college course anyone can take that will successfully give us the skills to be able to successfully have the wisdom and carry out the hiring process. I give college profs credit for a solid foundational level of education, but virtually no 18-24 year old can sit in a classroom and learn nor retain the information on how to grow a business and hire the right people for the business or people the right people in the right seat on the right bus.
No one teaches us these things, and as I began speaking on leadership material, small business leadership opportunities, and leadership coaching, I began to see and feel how the information I was presenting was “hitting a nerve” with many people. I had people I was really speaking into their hearts, being relatable, and inspirational with very real, raw, relevant information for many people that were on the same journey of life and leadership I had been on. And they had more questions, and a desire for more information on subjects I was speaking on. And one opportunity I was seeing was this huge gap many of us had in the hiring process. Most all of us had no clue how to do it and most all of us had made a bad hire that ended very painfully. And as I spoke with many people about their personnel issues and challenges, most of my conversations would come back around to “how did they get in the door”. So I knew I had to focus on the root of the problem. We can do some strategic things, and make some action item expectation plans for people not performing to their expected levels. But, we must address the root of the problem, and that is the fact that we hired them, and it was likely a bad hire.
I had made a number of notes on the hiring process over the years, and it was in the fall of 2019, I began “writing the book”. Our Dr. Nels team member, Amy Habiger would hop on the phone with me at 6am, and I would verbalize the book to here, bit by bit, paragraph by paragraph, chapter by chapter, over the phone. We had the rough draft done, began the design and layout process, and we're working on that, and then August 7th hit. My son had been accidentally shot and paralyzed, and the book process got “shelved” for a bit!
Fast forward a bit, we all got our feet back under us, and on more solid ground, and we got it unshelved and back in the process to finish. From editing to self-publishing, finding a publisher, trying several different book options, finding a studio that could submit Audible required specs for the audio version, recording it, going through the Amazon Seller Authentication process, etc!
It’s now published, and my only goal was simply to help others in the hiring process, hopefully, help you have fewer failures than I, reduce some of your pain by learning from my failures, and making you more successful overall through another step in self-improvement. Your success is up to you! No one is going to hand over the keys to success, you are going to have to pull those keys out of your own pocket, and start unlocking those doors yourself! And I hope one of those keys is this book! Go unlock that door, read it, and execute it!