By Sean Gagnon, Special AFS Contributor

Imagine today is your new hire’s first day on the job. She walks in (10 minutes early of course) and knows exactly what is expected of her. She knows where she will be able to immediately contribute and which areas she needs more training on. Even though there will be some areas of the job she may not be completely familiar with, I suspect she would have a certain level of confidence as she walks through the door. Now, imagine she just has a ‘general’ idea of her duties but there is a lot she is still unclear on. How would she feel? Apprehensive? Unsure of her ability to succeed? That’s natural but as an employer or team leader, it’s not what you want!

Last month we spoke about the evolution from business owner to leader and how that requires you to build a TEAM. Mistakenly some entrepreneurs view this as an EXPENSE but I challenge you to shift your thinking and view it as an INVESTMENT. As with any investment the goal is to maximize your return on investment (ROI). An investment in human capital - your team - returns on many levels from the growth of your employees, your customers and ultimately your business. The more effective and high performing your team is, the greater the experience will be for your customers and in turn, your business will GROW. That’s the very definition of ROI!

As our businesses grow, we reach the point where we ‘need help’. Often times we jot down a list of tasks that the new hire will be responsible for and set out to find the person that can get them done. If we are lucky we find the person we think can do it and bring them on the team. As the days and weeks go by we find ourselves giving them more things to do on top of what they were hired for and give them what I like to call “stapler promotions”.

That’s when you take the original job description and keep tacking on new tasks because things “came up!” When this happens you end up with 2 things, a frustrated employee who is overwhelmed and being pulled in a million directions and a frustrated employer who wonders why ‘nothing’ is getting done! Neither one of these things bodes well for the long-term success of the employee or the business. The great news is that there IS an answer and it’s called CLARITY.

The way to get clarity in the positions you are hiring for and to then pass along that clarity to the new hire is a system we call the BIG 3. Simply it’s the top 3 things that the POSITION is responsible for. Notice the word POSITION. This is not about the employee it’s about the JOB. When you are designing your organizational chart it is critical that you define the roles that each position serves and clearly understand how they will benefit from the larger goals of the organization.

Only then can you go out and find the right person to fill the role. Too often new employers miss this step. You end up with the scenario above, where no one is sure what they are supposed to be doing, which in turn leads to the feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. It is also important to note the NUMBER 3! You cannot expect a person to effectively handle more than 3 major priorities in the business and to do them well. Not everything can be a priority!

Some examples of the BIG 3 could include:

  • Sales - Hit Revenue Targets of “$X”. Service all new prospects each month and achieve a closing rate of “X%”. Maintain a retention rate of “X%”. These metrics drive towards the company goal of “$X” in revenue this quarter.
  • Marketing - Generate “Y” New Prospects for the sales team each month. Grow Engaged Social Following by “Y%” each month. Produce and deploy “Y” pieces of new content each month.

These metrics drive towards the company goal of increased community awareness that leads to new clients and facility growth.

Facility Manager - Ensure on time facility opening and class start times of “Z%”. Ensure Average Class Counts of “Z” members each month. Ensure “Z %” of equipment is operational and average repair time is less than “Z days”. These metrics drive towards the company goal of superior customer experience and an average review rating of 5 stars.

What you can see from the examples above is that the BIG 3 Description does 3 very important things.

  1. Clearly defines WHAT IS EXPECTED.
  2. Clearly defines HOW IT WILL BE MEASURED.

Think about our new hire again - the one that came in 10 minutes early! She clearly knows what it is she needs to be focussed on each day and how she will be held accountable. There is no ambiguity in this! As important, she sees how her work is contributing to something bigger and don’t we all really want to feel that?

The process of defining and implementing the BIG 3 takes work but the payoff is immeasurable. You end up with a team whose expectations are very clear. This clarity will lead to a team that is confident and high performing. For you, as the employer, it will give you very clear performance standards by which to measure your team and it will eliminate the feeling of ‘what am I paying them for?!”

Remember this - the majority of people want to do a great job and they want to contribute. Your investment - time, effort, energy, and resources - in the team will serve them immensely and they, in turn, will serve your customers in ways you cannot imagine. This, in turn, will serve your BUSINESS and drive you towards the mission you set out to achieve in the first place. Like everything else in leadership, it’s not easy - but its worth it! Get to work!


Sean Gagnon is the founder and president of The Abs Company. He received his master’s degree in clinical physiology from the University of Florida.  For over 10 years his company has been focused on core-based functional training products for the commercial and consumer fitness markets. The Abs Company products can be found in over 10,000 facilities and millions of homes in over 40 countries worldwide. The company mission is "We Change Lives from the Core”. Sean and his team are proud to do just that every day!

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