I don’t know if you’ve ever made a mistake when hiring someone. If you haven’t, then you must be smarter and luckier than I am.

Because it does happen, despite your best preparations.

And when you’re dealing with employees, it’s much trickier than if you purchase the wrong product. But there are things we can do about it.

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There are times when progress is just … S O   S L O W. It seems like I’m getting nowhere and wasting time.

Most of the time, that’s all in my head. The pressure is coming from wanting something Right Now.

But most things take some time to develop.

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Many businesses are struggling to build their teams right now. This is a recurring topic, of course, but magnified by the pandemic and recent social unrest.

The media and politicians like to focus on minimum wage, which is often a source of unfairness and discrimination. But that’s nowhere near the whole story.

Minimum wage attempts to provide a baseline. But it doesn’t apply to many situations, and certainly doesn’t provide a living wage in Northern Colorado.

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We often get entranced by new things. As a software engineer, I found myself drawn to every new computer, operating system and application for many years.

But that was just me. Everybody has different things that turn them on!

Why should we care? Because you have to realize that the things that get you excited may not at all be what thrills your employees. Or customers.

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You’re the leader, so your job is to tell other people what to do. As if it ever worked that way.

No, you want to lead by inspiration. By example.

Which means that YOU are the first one that needs to change. YOU need to reflect the direction of your organization, and how you want your people to make decisions.

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If you’re a leader, then people will look to your crystal ball to provide some reassurance about the future. The problem, of course, is that you have no magic crystal ball and can’t tell the future better than anyone else.

But did you notice that I used the word “reassurance”? Because that’s what people are really seeking. Being able to tell the future is one way to do that, but not the only way. Honestly, if you try to rely just on THAT skill, people are going to be skeptical because they know that nobody has the ability.

So what is it about, then?

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This is the time of year when all your business newsletters are telling you to create a plan for the coming year. Which is perfect if you have a baseline to build from.

But what do you do when all your assumptions have been blown to shreds in the last two years? Regulations are constantly changing. Supply chains are massively broken. Employees are unreliable. Whole industries are restructuring.

Your foundation, my friends, is much deeper than that.

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For some of us, things are slowing down. For others, it’s a crazy time of year. Hopefully you’ll have a chance for things to settle, perhaps in January or after April 15th or during next summer.

The point is that we all need a break from the intensity of work.

And not just the weekends. Those are very necessary and vital, but aren’t sufficient. What we need is the chance to REALLY check out of our work. For a week or two or three.

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You’re the boss, so you have all the answers. Right? Yeah, not so much.

I sure try to show confidence in my leadership roles, but that only works up to a point. Inside, I feel a variety of emotions, both positive and negative. Occasionally even cluelessness.

You know what? The people I’m with know that too. They know that we’re all just doing the best we can – hopefully succeeding more than failing.

So if we’re all just making it up as we go along, why do we seek out confidence? Because it’s about our desire for control and stability. If I don’t feel in control, then I’ll seek out others who look like they are. Even though I know that’s partially an illusion.

How should leaders deal with this? The key is honesty.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could get to the point where you’re honest with your people? Where you could say that you’re proceeding on the basis of partial data and educated guesses?

Yes, that opens up vulnerability. But it also creates trust that you’re telling people the real story, not hiding information.

What’s the next step you want to take on showing that kind of honesty?

Recently we had some devastating fires whip through some small towns between Boulder and Denver, Colorado. Nothing could be done with the high winds we had that day, and a thousand families lost everything they own.

And yet, we are grateful for the limited loss of life. And millions of dollars were contributed by the community within a couple of days to help these folks get through the toughest times of their lives.

What do we learn for our businesses?

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