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Chris Lema on How to Build High-Performing Teams

Chris Lema on How to Build High-Performing Teams

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Today’s guest on the Early Stage Founder Show is Chris Lema (Twitter) who is one of the best storytellers I’ve run into and after hearing him speak at a conference, I knew I needed to get him on the show. While Chris has decades of experience doing just about everything with software companies, and doing it well, for this interview we dive into how startups can build, and keep, high performing teams.

Spoiler alert, it takes more than a foosball table.

Chris covers how to hire high-performing employees, how to create a culture where employees thrive, and how to compensate them so they actually stay. 

With how competitive the market is for developers, knowing how to hire and keep the best talent is crucial to your success. 

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Topics covered:

  • Chris’s early days and how it all started. (3:30-4:36)
  • Advice to new startups. (6:33-8:05)
  • The SNL effect. (8:08-10:05)
  • How to field your team like the Green Bay Packers. (12:35-14:06)
  • Chris’s personal hiring strategy. (14:12-14:45)
  • Compensation – How to make your new hires, “keepers”. (19:35-23:23)
  • Growing the team as a unit, rather than by individuals. (28:00-30:22)

Resources mentioned:

Zed Shaw on Raises for Developers

Where to learn more:

Chris puts out a ton of content, so you’ll find him all over the web. If you are looking for his best stuff on leadership, management, and building a high-performing team head check out BeyondGood.com. Chris also blogs about WordPress and has several great products and courses for sale on his personal blog, ChrisLema.com. If you want to get in touch with Chris, look him up on Twitter, or book a call with him on Clarity.fm.

Transcript:

Andy: Chris, thanks so much for joining me on the show today. 

Chris: It’s my pleasure. 

Andy: So there are a few dozen different topics I can pick your brain on today. I know we’d more than fill probably a season of episodes. We could talk about the rise and fall of the highlight industry, to the best cigar to enjoy while watching the election results. But today I want to focus on how startups can build a high performing team. 

Before we dive into that though, can you share a bit of your background with building and management managing teams in the software world?

Chris: Sure. So I started managing web developers the first year that web developers existed. So this was back in late 1994 and the beginning of 1995. It was a completely different ballgame so there was a long history of software development behind us, and yet this new web was very, very different. So the kinds of people that it was attracting to be developers in that space were also different. Much like every other successive dynamic when it comes to developers and software engineering, the newest generation is always considered by the previous generation to not really be programmers, because the tools make things more easier. 

And so the web was just one more in a long history and cycle of pattern of that, where people presupposed you needed a computer science Ph.D. to write something for the web, and yet here was 18, 20 and 40 year olds who were writing things for the web and going, “What about this?”

So I started managing when I worked at a government research lab – Berkeley Lab – which happened to be the third major player of the internet. We were the third fixed subnet on the entire internet. So when I joined the lab there were 80 or 90 different groups of people building web stuff – most of it was just web pages – but by the time I left three years later, I ran the only team. They consolidated everybody, we had let some people go, we had a small team and that was the first time that I realized that the kind of people I had on the team and the kind of dynamic I was building on the team, didn’t look like what everyone assumed it would look like.  

I had a guy who was an incredible graphic designer who also had a degree in sculpture, and yet he was writing some of the most amazing java ever. Mostly because he was motivated by what he was trying to build, rather than by simply being an arcane practitioner of software in that space.

I had someone else who was a remarkably talented writer. We wouldn’t know though, in 1994, that copywriting would be as important as it is today. And yet, she was incredible, and it made a huge difference in the kinds of things that we were building. 

I had two guys who were algorithmic kind of guys, and we were building algorithms, we were building the first conduit that allowed us to build the first web apps. Not just a webpage, but an actual application connecting to databases. In fact, at one point we spent three days without ever going to bed and without leaving the office. We stank, it was horrible. But we were young, we were 25 or 26 and we were building this out and we got it to work.  And then, someone said, “Ok, how?” And we all looked at each other and we didn’t really know how it worked or why it worked. And that would not be the first or last time that ever happened. 

But I started realizing that the group of people we had assembled was very small and yet incredibly powerful. And every person on the team could do pretty much one other thing – not as well as their main thing – and yet all together they could do a lot more than a team of 20 or 30 or 40. 

So we grew the revenue up of that, and it was an internal agency that was building out software for the rest of the government research lab, we built that agency to generate a couple million dollars in revenue from 4-5 people. And people started looking around and going, “What are you doing, how are you doing that?” And eventually the startups that we had been evaluating and looking at from a technical perspective starting saying, “Can you bring your team out and can you come join one of our startups?” 

So I left to join and start several companies. I started five, we sold four of them off after a year, year and a half. And that was a good ten year period of startups. And then I stepped entrepreneurially into another company where I managed more people and grew into 4-5 different vertical markets and built more software. So for the last 20 years, I’ve been managing software developers, people that are way smarter than me. And that’s not a problem at all, you learn a certain set of skills. 

But what galvanizes people together – what makes it really work – are these smart people are motivated like other people to get to success, and so they want wins. And the real trick is how do you build a lot of early and quick wins, rather than just let’s build something for six years and then declare that we won. It’s how do you get the quick wins in the week and the month and the year. So they’re motivated by that, and then motivated by hard challenges. Really high performers – you notice this whether you're talking about a football field or a basketball court – you notice this when people achieve the highest pinnacle of their sport, one of the first things that they say is, “We’re going to be back and do it again next year.” And you go, “Do you know how ridiculously hard that is? You just got to the pinnacle, you should milk this for all it’s worth.” This may be the only ring you get in your life, but that’s not what they do. High performing teams don’t sit there and say, “Let me enjoy and relish the position, the status of my current position. They instead say, “Oh, you think this was hard, let me take it to the next level.”

Andy: So let’s unpack that a little bit. I mean there’s a ton there and I’m thinking to myself from the perspective of this early stage founder, I have a growing startup, I have maybe a few cofounders, maybe some contractors, but not what I’d consider a real team. It’s just the kind of people cobbled together and we’re doing what we think is best and we don’t have a huge plan beyond that. So if we’re starting to make some hires, it’s like alright, we’re onto something here and we’re starting to hit some traction. We need to build something bigger than this, we need to be more deliberate. How do I make that first step? Do I just say, “Alright, let me find the smartest, most motivated person and hire him or her and we’re off to the races”, or is there more work that needs to go in? What advice would you give to that founder?

Chris: So what I’d say is all of your defaults – and this is of course what I say to everyone all the time – all your defaults are incorrect. Every default you have about who to hire, what’s the first thing you do? Well, we need a person to do X, so you do task based hiring. We need a person for role Y, and you do roll based hiring. And task based and role based hiring is not helpful to you. Because that task will ultimately change. Are you the kind of person that is going to let that person go when the task is no longer needed or when the role is no longer needed, or when the role has been halfway automated? No, probably not. 

So most of our startups are filled with people who were really useful at one stage of the company, but aren’t all that useful in another stage of the company. And because most people are really bad about firing people, it’s all carrying costs. So don’t do role based or task based hiring, I don’t recommend that. What I recommend is build your team. That means bring in people that you are excited to work with, comfortable to work with, people who are smart but not just brilliant smart. If they’re brilliant but they come with all sorts of baggage, let them go. But if they’re brilliant, funny, creative and collaborative, hire those people. 

If you want to study high performance – which I did – if you want to spend time, one of the most interesting and exciting experiments you could ever do is watch 30 seasons of SNL. It’s not really hard work. So I did, I went to Cabo for a week a couple of years ago and I just had 20 seasons on my iPad, and I sat in a pool and I just watched it forever and ever. That was my job. What you discover is every single year you introduce somebody new to the cast, and you let someone else go from the cast. Every year we say I’m not sure about this crew, they’re not as good as the old crew, we always remember the old crew as being super awesome. And yet, at some point, they find the right schtick and the right skit and suddenly you’re like, “This person is awesome.” And it doesn't happen once, it happens every year. And you go, how is it possible that this show hasn’t fundamentally changed it’s format in 30 years, and yet it’s still killing it. 

It’s because there is a dynamic there of gathering a group of people, putting them in the same room. Every Monday they sit in a room and get together and bring the host in and they say “gimme your ideas”. About halfway through what they’re talking through, all the good ideas are gone, and so the other people just say they’re going to collaborate with other people. Then they spend Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday writing these skits, some of which will never make it on air, never make it to Saturday. And so the people that were working on skits that don’t make it pull into the others, but what you have is you’re building a team. A team of people who know how to collaborate. A team of people who know how to communicate. A team of people who know how to interact with ideas and process, but also know how to get them to execute and how to get to the end. Because theses people put on a show on Saturday night every single Saturday night. And you go, “God, if I had a high performing team that could deliver results every single week, that would be it. We could do anything.  

Andy: With that team, there’s more to it than just the people, there's more to it than just the players on the team. Because a lot of these people work for other companies and aren’t producing amazing results. These other companies are stagnating, they’re doing not what you would call innovative work. So what is it on the culture side, on the management side that can allow this team to really thrive, because it’s more than just getting the talent and everything is going to be great. You need to encourage it, so how do you do that? 

Chris: The Green Bay Packers – for example – are a really interesting team in that they have won several different championships and awards and are a high caliber and high performing team. And yet, they’re one of the only teams that doesn’t get involved in all of the trading that happens in between seasons. So postseason and preseason training you look at all the other teams and they’re swapping players and they’re negotiating and they’re trying to bring in stuff. And the Green Bay Packers don’t do that so much, in fact, I think it was something like 98% of their team have started and every single game they’ve ever played on the field has been with the Green Bay shirt. So you go, “Holy moly, what does that mean?” Well, it means that they grow their talent rather than buying it. 

And if you buy your talent and you look at analysts in the stock market or you look at sports, more often than not the big names you hear are the ones you pay a lot of money for. And by the time you've already hear their big name,  you’ve probably reached their value proposition maximum, and so now you overpay for their value. You bring them over and then they never deliver. So my common example is Reggie Jackson when he finally moved to the Angels. The Angels are a team that’s notorious for paying way too much where we watch the Angels and we saw everybody, but we saw them after their prime. And so you look at Reggie Jackson – Mr.  October – but then he comes to play with the Angels and he doesn't do anything. He’s literally 20% poor performance, and you wonder what’s going on here. Because you overpaid, you just overpaid by the time they were famous and important they had already delivered all of their value.

So you look at the Green Bay Packers and you realize they’ve built a culture and they’ve built a team around great grooming people up, training people up, building them up and getting them to a place of being a high performer. So the questions is for your startup,what does that mean? Well, a lot of times what tends to happen – especially if you’re going to raise some money – past the seed round you’re getting money, and what’s one of the things you say. Well, I’m getting the money so that I can go hire top talent. And what do you end up doing you end up overpaying. You go recruit someone super fabulous, someone really famous, and then when they get there you realized they’re not really a culture fit and by the way, I think maybe we’re not getting the value that we paid for. 

So your better bet – something I did at Emphasys Software where I worked for 8 ½ years – is we built a recruiting program out of the universities. And we literally would pull in 5-10 students in their last semester of college every quarter or every semester. And we just kept bringing them in, run them as a cohort, and we trained them through exercises. We invested probably about a year into their development. And we saw about a 25% churn, 25% of them learned some stuff and went off and joined another company. But those that stuck felt like they had been invested in, felt like they understood the culture, felt like they had something to prove because now you had invested in them so it’s their turn to show you back a return on that investment, and brought a whole bunch of energy to the table. And these were all relatively young people. 

Now that doesn’t mean that you can only hire young. My general strategy when I’m staffing up a company is to only hire really, really seasoned people – experts, if you will – and really, really young people. I don't ever hire in the middle, I don’t hire middle managers, I don’t hire people with 5 years experience. People who have 5-10 years experience normally have one year of experience five times over or ten times over. I’m not looking for that. So I want to pair someone who is brand new with someone who is senior. And what you’re going to discover is that brand new person becomes senior much faster than you ever thought. 

Andy: I’m trying to think of all this from the mindset of that early stage founder, and a lot of times I hear, “Well we’re too small, too early, we need to move faster so we can’t be hiring Jr. Devs. We need someone who we can just hire and they can go off on their own and they can build. We don’t have the time to train, we need to move fast.” What would you say to them?

Chris: You’re wrong. You’re always wrong, and I’m right, and now let me explain it to you. I am much nicer in person, I don’t look at someone and say, “You’re wrong.” What I do say is, “I think you’re working under an assumption that I’m not sure that I would validate.” And that assumption is – especially with SaaS startups, which is all I’ve ever spent time in – you tend to think that more money chases more features, and it’s not true. More money chases better product market fit, which ultimately means, more money chases better copy. 

So I could hire one copywriter who writes better, who paints the picture better, who articulates the value better, and generate a lot more revenue than adding 14, 15, 16 features. And by the way, for every feature that I add, I not only have the cost of developing the feature, I also have the cost of supporting the feature. So every feature drives cost.   

But if you go to the same Saas and say, “Can you show me the ROI on the last feature you created?” LIke, do me a favor, show me how much you spent building it, show me how much it has cost you to support it, and then show me how many people purchased your product because of it. Walk me through the math. And they’re like, “No, I don’t have that.” Oh, so you don’t have the proof that says that money will chase features, and yet, you’re going to tell me we don’t have enough time, I can’t hire young people, I can’t groom them up, I can’t build team culture, I can’t do any of that. I just need high performance, drop them straight in, go to town. And my first response is, “I think your hypothesis is wrong. I don’t think you need more features, necessarily, and I don’t think money will chase the features. And I’m not sure that bringing in the high performer is going to get you your culture fit that you need for that team to assemble and actually move forward.”

So what I tell people is, make sure you have some senior people. Normally the founders, someone in the foundation…

Andy: I was just going to ask. Is this under the assumption that one of the founders is sort of that…?

Chris: Is a senior expert at something. Whether they’re a domain specialist or they’re a technical specialist. But normally you have someone who’s got involved at that level, and for each one of them, go grab two junior level people and have them mentor and train. Now one of the things that means is that the senior people have to be people who are collaborative. They have to be people who are interested in sharing their information. 

So here’s an easy red flag, if I out a junior or an intern – some young person – into a team and they ask a question. By the way, when I prep them, I tell them to ask all the questions in the world. If one of my senior people sends them a link to let me Google that for you as a response, that senior person is on their way out. They’ve highlighted that they’re probably not the kind of senior person that I want on the team. 

Andy: They’re not willing to teach. 

Chris: No. In fact, some of the best senior people that I have, have surprised me. I literally go to one of my junior guys and I go, “Hey, how's it going, are you working with Seth?” And they go, “Yeah, Seth’s awesome.” And I go, “I know, he really is, I’ve spent a lot of years with him, I really like him, his video library is awesome.” And they go, “What video library?” And he pulls it up on YouTube and this lead developer has created a set of videos as a way to share information to his team. I didn't want to tell him let me Google that for you, but I also wanted to make sure that everybody had the same material. We’ve created a training program. What he’s going – a high performer – optimizes their own performance, but also wants to optimize the performance of others and wants to help them level up.  

When you have a senior person that wants to help other people level up, you say, “Oh, that’s a keeper.” When you have a senior person that says it’s just about me, give me quiet, give me space, let me do my thing, that’s probably not the person you want to help groom and grow your culture on your team.  

Andy: And so why you are building all these people up, if you’ve managed to get some high performers who are able to teach, if you’ve managed to get some people in there that are willing to learn and they are constantly leveling up, how do you make sure you keep them? 

Chris: That is a fantastic question. It is the only challenge that a leader has in an organization. I would hire young kids out of college for $40,000-$42,000, they might get offers from other companies at $45,000 and $48,000, but they’re going to have them code in a language that has been since defunct, you’re going to code in that language updating some sort of software for 2 years, and 2 years later when you realize that you’ve learned nothing and you have no future because you were writing visual basic and it’s 2015 or 2016. IN that moment you’re going to look for another job. And someone will say, “What’s your 2 years experience been?”  And you say you’ve been writing visual basic. 

And that’s when the company that hired you knows you can’t go anywhere, and so they have chained you to that desk for the rest of your life. Yeah, they pay you a little more up front, but your ability to grow in that organization taps out. I may pay someone less, but I take someone at $40,000 and I pair them with someone who’s making $100,000 or $120,000, and that $40,000 person quickly becomes worth $75,000. They’re able to generate work at the right level, they’re able to produce custom code for customers, they’re able to do lot’s of things. And what happens? I take them from $40,00 and I jump them to say $55,000 or $60,000. And they go, “Oh my god!” 

When the average software company gives a raise to an internal employee of about 5% to 8%, it was on Reddit.

Andy: I think Zed Shaw posted that. 

Chris: And I thought that's ridiculous. One of the things they were saying was that people, in order to make more money, they have to jump to another company. And you’re like, that’s horrible. If your prime value in the business is the culture and the team you’ve built, you want to keep them around. So when you put someone junior with someone senior and you jump them up, they believe they’re here for their life. But the truth is, you keep having them work with a senior person and someday they go from being worth $75,000 to being worth $100,000. And you jump them now from $55,000 to $75,000. You’re still getting the benefit from it, you’re benefitting from that dynamic, and yet they’re never leaving you. And what do you do with the senior guy? With the senior guy,you start doing rev share. You start doing compensation that says as you deliver value to the business, let’s figure out how to bring that back. 

Some Saas companies, some young companies, some companies that are pursuing venture, it’s an options play. In companies that are private or not pursuing that, it is a rev share or some sort of employee bonus plan. But the bonus bucket of money is filled by performance and hitting above a certain performance mark. So depending on your return invested capital or some dynamic metric that you’re using, you fund the bucket, and then you take the bucket and split it among your executive and senior staff. So your senior staff say, “I don’t have to become an executive to get benefit for my role.” 

In fact, many companies will make that bonus plan be a percentage of their salary. So basically let’s say you’re making $100,000, but you get a bonus of 25% if your salary. Then you’re like, that’s sweet. But it’s performance based, it’s on did you hit the mark. It’s not just for existing, it’s not just for breathing, did you help the company get to it’s mark. And once the mark is hit, the funds come in, it goes into the bucket, the bucket gets split up by others. The point is, as a leader, your job is to figure out how to keep your people, and one of the ways you do it is through compensation.

Another way is through their growth trajectory path. Another way is the kind of work they’re doing, is it meaningful, is it challenging, does it push them to learn new things. In the corporate world, more often than not, we call people resources and we treat them like a manufacturing conveyor belt. We want them to specialize so that we can send them the same job over and over again –  which is fantastic for a robot – it’s horrible for a human. There is nothing motivating about being told to build a layer of a conduit between our product and someone else’s product through an API, and you want me to build an infrastructure and the layering there, and you want me to do that because I did it for two other companies and now you want me to do it here. And when I’m done with this, you’re going to want me to do it for another one of our projects , and another. But there’s nothing in it for me. I don’t learn, I don’t grow, I’m not challenged. I’m just literally connecting bits. 

And so my job as a leader – as a manager – is to keep people challenged, keep people growing, keep people compensated. And the average in Silicon Valley is a year and a half to two and a half years where people stay at a company in a technical role. The average for people that work for me is typically about 6 years. And that includes people who have jumped up to three companies. So they work with me for two years in one company and then I move to another company and they come over and hang for another two years, and then we go to another one. And so we’ve had, I think the longest is three maybe 4 companies in a row where people have said they’re just going to follow me and work with me. But that's your job, as a leader, your job is to make sure that you don’t lose that talent that you’ve invested in and the culture that you’ve created.

Andy: What happens when sometimes there are just bits that need to be connected, when sometimes there is that monotonous work that needs to get done, how do you handle it then?

Chris: Divvy up the work, everybody has to be a custodian at some point. So the reality is I normally will give someone a big challenge, and then when the challenge is done and they need to recuperate, I’ll give them some junk work. And the junk work isn’t like, “Oh, I think you’re a junk person.”  It’s like, “Hey, you’re tire, you just came off that big run, why don’t I give you something that’s really easy to do with your hands tied behind your back and one eye closed and just do that for a couple weeks.” And then they get it done and the you go on to giving them another challenge. So you’re constantly spreading the mundane around.

We built a startup at one point that was all in the telecommunications space, and one of our jobs was to consistently scrape a bunch of telecode data from hundreds of sites. And in the early days we weren't optimizing. You can literally go pull this data down in 2 days. It’s grunt work, it’s horrible, it’s boring, but it’s 2 days. And if you're going to build me a spider that’s going to pull in the data and synchronize in different places and make sure that you have a Collins schema, you’re going to spend weeks. I don’t want to spend weeks on a 2 day problem. And it only happens every 2 days, say, every 2 months. But we would share that project around. You just did that amazing thing, and now you can slow down a little bit and so you pass it around. You share the load and people feel like this is what part of being a family, part of a team is that people recognize there are some fun things and some hard things, and we have to do the hard things just like we have to do the fun things.

Whenever I have a developer that tells me – either directly in words or through actions – well this is beneath me, then I think they’re not long for this team. Because it doesn’t matter how awesome you are, we’re going to rise and fall with the tide as a whole. So that means you’ve got to know how to help the team out and do some of the hard work. 

Andy: It seems like the main connecting factor for a lot of what you talked about is thinking about the team as a unit, rather than the individuals that make up the team. I know this could go in a lot of different directions, but on a high level, how does this manifest as the startup grows, is there a certain structure that you look to to guide how big you grow and fast you grow and how you manage, where do you see yourself falling on that?

Chris: So you want to think about it as a swat team. You think of a high performance team that can step into a situation and solve a problem, whether the problem is super dangerous or super complicated or there’s a high risk factor or whatever drives you to send out a swat team. But you never send a swat team of 400 people, you don’t send a swat team of 100 people. You have a small team, but that team of operators – whether you’re talking about swat or whether you’re thinking of Seal Team 6 – if there’s a Seal Team 6, there’s also a Seal Team 1. So you create multiple units of small, high performing teams where they have developed trust and bonds. They’ve developed the ability to attack a problem and be able to solve it. 

So in Microsoft in the early years building Excel, Excel was their bread and butter and they made all their money on Excel, it was a big part of what became Office. And the Excel development team over at Microsoft was teams of 3 and 4 people, they just had lots of them. So I knew Greg Barnes who did the work on the pivot table and it was 2 guys. So they have this tiny little startup that’s working inside this bigger engine of all these teams all building Excel, but there's only 2 guys who are working on the pivot table. And when the pivot table was done they could turn it in and go, here you go.   

I’m not saying your team had to be 2 people, I’m not saying your team has to be 15 people, but essentially you want to build up a team. And then once you have that team high performing and it’s doing well and now you’re ready to grow again the company, take one or two people out of that team and go build a second team. Now you have two teams. Then take people from each of those, now you have 4 teams, and then you have 8 teams and 16 teams and it just grows from there. But each team knows how to be a unit together, each team knows how to work together, how to collaborate, how to push forward, how to get through the hard stuff, how to help one another and they know the personality nuances of that team. That approach helps you scale without ever creating bureaucracy. When you start creating layers and lots of people and middle management, you’re creating bureaucracy for the sale of bureaucracy. 

If you’re a SaaS startup and you have a policy for vacation requests that is longer than two sentences, I’m probably not a fan. Now I know there are HR people who will say you need infrastructure but I’m like, look, it’s really simple. When I want vacation, I want to take it. But I also work in a team. So in my context of my team, I want to be able to ask, “Can I take it?” And I want my team to be able to say, “Yeah, we’re good, take it.”  In that team unit, one person can go out and you’re ok, everybody knows how to help one another to get through it. It’s the team that solves that problem. But if I have to write it up and fill out a special form, then I have to pass it on to someone else, that someone else has to review it with their boss which I have to wait until he’s back from vacation to review. Most companies do this, they solve for the worst possible employee that could destroy the company, and they build all their infrastructure for those people.

You will never get high performers to stay in that company. You want to build your systems for high performers. Which means lightweight, least amount of infrastructure, the lowest friction related to doing whatever you need to do. Let them get to work. And then, if you have some poor performers who are taking advantage of the system, fire them. So learn to fire people, it will go a long way, but don’t solve that secondary problem by building so much infrastructure that your high performers decide to leave. Because then you’ve lost out. 

Andy: Honestly, you’ve covered so much in this that I’m just trying to digest all of it. I know you have a ton of resources out there on it, I’m going to link a bunch of stuff up in the show notes. Before we tell people where they can go to listen more, I’d like to just go through a few rapid fire questions quickly. So what I want to ask you is, what do you think right now you spend too much time on?    

Chris: Smoking cigars. I’m kind of in a lull between jobs, so I’m very relaxed. So I probably spend more time smoking cigars than I have in a long time. I’m not super stressed at this moment. But if you ask me at any other point, my default where I get caught up and I have to circle back over is I still don’t delegate enough. So I’m now willing to delegate up to about 5x, if someone takes five times longer to do it than me, but my goal is to get to 10x. And I still pull things back too soon, that’s normally what I end up doing too much of, normally. Right now I’m just smoking a cigar. 

Andy: What do you not spend enough time doing?

Chris: I probably could always do more environmental scanning. Looking out across the landscape, looking at competitors, looking at players, looking at products. I’m constantly recruiting, but my recruiting requires me to be out looking at people and having them tell me their story, because at some point I’m going to hire them, I just don’t know when. And so having all those conversations and connecting with people, I do it but I could do more of it.     

Andy: Interesting, And then of course, do you have anything you hope to accomplish in the next month – whether personally or in the business – anything like that?

Chris: Well, I’m negotiating with a couple companies about whether or not I take a full time job with them. So that would be an executive role to do more leadership and lead more people and all that. So my hope is that I figure it out in the next month. Or just stick to doing my casual consulting relaxing thing. 

Andy: Yeah, what are you, the third most contacted person on Clarity, or something like that?
 
Chris: Yeah, I got that going. And doing regular consulting, and obviously we connected at a conference where I was doing public speaking. 

Andy: So that actually transitions into a good way for us to wrap up, and that is if people are interested in hearing more of your thoughts on building a high performing team, or just any of your thoughts on consulting, building a business, about hiring – any of these things, there’s a list of a dozen different topics that you could speak at as an expert – so if people want to hear more from you, where should they go?  

Chris: I have a blog that is on leadership at beyondgood.com, I am on Twitter, and I have a blog at chrislema.com. The blog at chrislema.com is more focused on WordPress, on some products, and on some freelancing stuff. So there is freelancing there. The beyondgood.com is purely on high performing and team and leadership management. So those are two different websites, plus I’m on Twitter and that’s maybe one of the easiest ways to find me and get me.    

Andy: Awesome. So I’ll make sure to get all that linked up in the show notes. And Chris, I just wanted to say thanks so much for coming on today, I really enjoyed it.