Hiring dilemmas and keeping top performers. Week 6 topic – WCU ENT600

Wasserman states that “evaluating a hire’s fit with the start-up can be much harder than evaluating his or her skills.”  We also must assume that we have put forth the correct attention and strategic thought that would allow us to derive what skills we are looking for in our start-up.  As many of us struggle with making sure we are aware of what skills are needed, evaluating and concluding a good assessment of the recruit’s skill is equally important.  A miscalculation in either could result in a costly hiring mistake that could cost the start-up value beyond profitability. 

                Also, we must be aware of the ever-changing needs of our start-up.  Certainly, as mine only involves beginning with 4 associates on staff, I cannot afford a mistake.  “As the team grows beyond the founders its dynamics change dramatically” (Wasserman).   So, planning our hires for today and tomorrow are very important.  I can imagine that for casting the talent needs of our companies can somewhat be an optimistic approach as we all see success.  However, identifying a possible roadblock in the future and keeping that in mind when hiring could also bring some success. 

                I do conclude that Wasserman is somewhat as a pessimist with Herrenkohl bringing in optimistic solutions to his “dilemmas”.  I can see why Dr. Llam felt that we should read them together as in reading Wasserman alone we may just give up.   I just felt like this needed to be said. 

                As Herrenkohl states, “C-players don’t typically become A-Players, so you have to build a system to finding A-Players.”  As we have learned previously finding an A-Player goes beyond placing an ad in the local newspaper and must involve our social capital and a recruiting strategy that is ongoing even we do not have a need.  As Herrenkohl goes on to state how A-Players have the ability to make big contributions and have more opportunities with other companies.  I contend that A-Players also do not want to work with C-Players.  So how do we help the C-Players find a new home after they have settled In and pose a larger opportunity to disrupt the A-Players?  Wasserman proposes that linking rewards and roles together can help solve this problem.  I have always believed that C/D Players always know they are not doing a great job and many times they will admit it if you just ask them how well they see themselves doing.  I do believe that by adding the reward piece it will help them out the door as it exposes them more to their peers.  

                Creating the environment for A-Players to thrive can certainly be a hit or miss effort for a leader.  Many times, it is a tailored fit for one associate that would not fit with another.  I do like the idea of using personality assessments in the hiring process to help identify those that will not only fit but will serve a need for the start-up.  In conclusion, all we can do is work on our personal leadership ability and strategic acumen to help us identify and create the correct environment for attracting the type of A-players that we need. 

Role dilemmas and recognizing and appreciating people who may offer (the not necessarily obvious) “skills you can teach and skills you can’t”. WCU – ENT600

Wasserman (Founders Dilemmas) states that founders often insist they do not care about titles.  He goes on to give examples of how they do and how unclear and direct titles and leadership most often causes problems and sometimes clashes of power.  I can personally relate here and often think about this in my current career.  I have always thought of myself as someone with the capability of accomplishing and a doer, I never chased the title early in my career and often placed myself behind others that were looking to attach their name to a term of entitlement.  I did find that often now in my career I find some jealousy in those who have climbed the ladder at a faster pace as I settled to perform the work and not apply for the next position.  As my skill set and influence has grown within my company, I do find that I perceive myself as more capable to lead than some co-workers with the title.  I must be cognizant to not dismiss their directives or to overshadow them with influence that I may have over areas of our business.  Thus, as Wasserman leads us to the understanding that Titles may provide structure and direction for the company and not just the founders I can certainly understand. 

              As Wasserman states, “Titles are viewed with a symbolic significance and can translate into real authority.  They also speak volumes to outsiders who often interpret them quite differently than the co-founders themselves do” as well as “titles can extend motivation” to help the company succeed.  Given the correct founder or leader is in the position the company will expect leadership from the position and expect to follow.  It is equally interesting to me when we consider how titles can motivate the folder to succeed and perform, or in my case demotivate. 

              Although clearly defined roles are certainly more important at the top of the leadership pyramid, they resonate down through the organization chart and manifest the character or persona of the company itself and affect the type of employees that it will attract and retain.  Herrenkohl (How to Hire A-Players) teaches us the importance of identifying and determining the skill set that we need in the types of people that we recruit and then creating a work environment that attracts that worker and fits their skillset for success.  Being open-minded to different working environments even though we may not initially be comfortable with it just may net a high producing and happier team than if we would have stayed with the fundamental work environment.

              Identifying the traits, you desire in your team and then a large pool of people that hold these traits will provide you great opportunity to recruit from will result in a greater opportunity to land A-players.  Herrenkohl states that “life is an interview” and remembering that every visit you make to every business is a recruiting trip.  Take the time to tell strong performers they are doing a great job subtly opening the door for future recruitment.  He continues with stating that –       Motivation, leadership, commitment, Ability to sell, and desire to achieve are all traits that you cannot teach, and you are better off finding people that already have these traits and then teach them to be successful in your business.  Again, I find myself in a real-life dilemma here as I am losing my right-hand A-Player with my current company and can certainly see a decline in my personal life soon.  It would feel a lot better if I would have been cultivating a group of people that I could recruit from with the traits that are desired. 

              As Motivation, leadership, commitment, Ability to sell are all traits that we may need to focus on in finding personnel in our businesses, the statement by Herrenkohl reminds me of a skill versus motivation grid that I have always kept in the back of my mind as I hired and worked with co-workers. 


              The idea being, if I could hire the will then most often the skill I could teach, or it would soon follow.  Also, a highly motivated or willful hire would most always leave me in a situation to guide or empower which is a lot easier than to try to create motivation itself or to spend very important time directing and teaching. 


Wasserman, N. (2012). The Founders Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup. Princeton Univ Press.

Herrenkohl, E. (2010). How to hire A-players finding the top people for your team – even if you don’t have a recruiting department. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Will vs. Skill Grid – http://thepeakperformancecenter.com/business/coaching/skill-will-matrix/

Benefits and Risks of Homogeneous Teams, and the Role of Founders in Building Teams. – ENT600 – Week 4 – WCU

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” ~ Isaac Newton. 

In reviewing Chapter 4 of “The Founder’s Dilemmas” as well as Chapter 1 of “How to Hire A-Players”, we are forced to realize that although we may be the founding owner the success of the company will almost always be the results of people other than us.  We may have the idea and the road map but as we do not have all the resources, we will need to find them in the efforts and talents of others.  We should also conclude that the best people are most likely already tied to other careers or efforts that demand their attention.  Whether we are looking for employees, partners, advisors, or investors, they will be a part of the founding team and just may become the largest influence on the long term success of our start-up.

              Noah Wasserman (“The Founder’s Dilemmas”) states that “Core Founders should consciously analyze and decide which capabilities they need and then actively pursue people with those skills and abilities.”  This certainly takes a well thought out business road map and understanding of what is needed and lacking.  To understand what resources are needed and what talents currently may not be held from anyone currently inside the start-up will certainly take some honest and humble measurements of who we are as well as any other already established founding members.   As Eric Herrenkohl mentions in “How to Hire A-Players”, we can not make giants out of midgets and that the best coaches are the best recruiters.  We must realize that we will not have the time to teach nor may have the talent to teach what our start-up is needed; thus, it is up to us to identify and recruit the very best out of the gate.

              If we also consider Herrenkohl’s statement, “Nothing has a bigger impact on the results of your business and the quality of your life than hiring and keeping A players”Then the pressure mounts as we begin to understand the magnitude of the decisions of who we recruit and who we allow into our company will weigh on our future success as well as lifestyle.  He references Bill Gates and how he believes that Microsoft was built around fewer than 20 people and concludes that Bill became one of the richest people of the world because of the talent of these 20 people.  Certainly, a great testament of the importance of hiring and recruiting A Players.  If Bill Gates needed 20, what would the value of us finding just one be?  In many ways, I am sure the positives are immeasurable. 

              So naturally we may want to start with our closest of friends, family or even associates who we may have worked with in the past.  Wasserman warns greatly against homogeneity within teams as similarity within the team will affect the dynamic of the founder’s ability to make and act upon the decisions they make.  He states that it may be “natural but wrong to assume that trust in relationships developed in the social realm will transfer easily to the professional realm.  Social and professional relationships have very different foundations and operate in very different, often conflicting ways.”  This brings back the importance of social capital as finding these resources outside of our “natural market” may be a necessity.  Herrenkohl mentions many times how hiring an A player can greatly add to your personal life in taking stress’s off you and mentions that “Even one A player can help you to build a great business and have a full and satisfying life outside of work.” He even references divorce, and this hits home to me as I am working together with my wife in our company.  However, I conclude that even if a family member or close friend may un dauntedly an A-Players it may be the correct decision for all to keep them from the founding of the business or at least at a safe and defined distance as our relationship may skew attention, honestly, and ultimately business profitability.  I may not have this option with my wife being involved but it does bring some reality to our situation. 

              As founders, our role is to always seek the truth and understand the reality behind our needs and decision.  We must be great recruiters, but we also be calculated and have a strategic road map to understand what we are recruiting for.  Understanding dynamics as well as the influence that relationships will have upon our business for the long term.  As we look to increase profitability and influence the value of our business, we can not have blinders on that others may be able to see clearly. Now…where do we find giants?


Wasserman, N. (2012). The Founders Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup. Princeton Univ Press.

Herrenkohl, E. (2010). How to hire A-players finding the top people for your team – even if you dont have a recruiting department. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Building Social and Financial Capital – ENT600 – WCU

“Social capital — the connections and shared values that exist between people and enable cooperation — is the key to entrepreneurial success.” (Cancialosi, 2014).  The “key” to entrepreneurial success?  Wouldn’t establishing and growing financial capital be “key”?  As I read Wasserman’s section regarding building social and financial capital, he leads us down a similar path pointing out that social capital just may be more important to a new start-up company than financial capital alone.  He states, “Social Capital is the durable network of social and professional relationships through which founders can identify and access resources,” and goes on to state that one type of capital can spark a virtuous cycle. “Social capital before founding are able to attract more human capital (co-founders) and financial capital with which to launch the start-up, and to do so more quickly.”

              So, if social capital is more important than financial capital early on in a start-up company, how do we turn that social capital in to financial capital and gain?  Where is the correlation and how do we capitalize on it?  Wasserman and Cancialosi both go on to expand their points to somewhat answer my questions still leaves me looking to correlate it all to my business.  As we are looking to develop our own social capital, we can be a little more strategic and thoughtful as to how we can utilize it in the future.  We will all need varying levels of expertise, talented employees, business mentors, and even investors.  I think we all may have utilized some DIY help from a friend that may save a costly service call.  The social capital in that relationship certainly equated directly to our financial situation.  Social capital though connections can help fill holes and fill gaps on teams and resources as well as give opportunity for financial capital.  Wasserman goes on to give examples and state that “these connections can decrease the amount of financial capital needed ultimately decreasing the time it would take for a start-up to become cash flow positive, decreasing urgency.”  

              Wasserman does state that “Here, as with human capital, youth is often at a disadvantage.”  I am not sure I agree to this point.  I do think that social capital in our youth and younger adults is certainly measured differently.  I quickly think of the popularity contest and the social value that we placed on clothing when I was younger.  However, I also believe that our younger adults have a greater opportunity to form life-long bonds with others that we may struggle with as adults.  Those bonds and friendships can easily be called upon as adults in reconnection for greatly needed social capital.  As adults our professional needs for each other are more upfront and a little more quid pro quo.  I think that sometimes as adults we go to networking events and do not even know that good “networking” is.  When I go to events, I see a lot of people that I feel are professional networkers and never capitalize on meeting each other. 

               So how do we turn social capital into financial capital?  We certainly know that access to financial capital is quite possibly the most important piece to starting our businesses and most certainly will define the health and cash flow of our company for a long period of time even when we do find some success.  Wasserman states that some potential founders “aren’t able to make the leap at all for lack of financial capital” and references a “study” that “found 51.3% of people who had seriously considered becoming entrepreneurs could not do so because they lacked the necessary financial capital.”  I am truly curious to the study that Wasserman is referencing but I do believe that we can accept the statement as directionally correct as to how the access to financial capital early in our start-ups will define the health of our companies for a long period of time. 

              Chris Cancialosi gives us some valuable insight to how we can capitalize on social capital in this Forbes article, “4 Reasons Social Capital Trumps All.” 

1.           It Establishes You as a Leader

              Giving to and supporting others builds trust and establishes your reputation as an upstanding person who is skilled in your field — two qualities that are critical for buyers looking to engage.

2.           It Fosters Reciprocity

After you’ve provided wisdom, support, and connections to others in your network, you can begin to count on those people when you need support.

3.           It Creates Stronger Teams

Social capital doesn’t simply exist external to your organization. You can also build strong, honest, and mutually beneficial relationships within the walls of your company. And by so doing, you make sure you can count on your people to have your back when the time comes.

4.           It’s Natural Networking

traditional networking can be uncomfortable at best and outright torturous at worst. Mark Schaefer is a great example of someone who has fun while building social capital. He used Twitter to completely bypass traditional networking while growing his network online.

              Cancialosi also reminds us that, “The secret (to building social capital) is that the assistance goes both ways in a very organic and healthy way.”  Its always growing and changing and is much more than just who you know.  It’s a give and take but more importantly simple and well intentioned.  To me it is just as important to be a valuable part of someone else’s social capital and to remember that it is a fundamental part of professionalism.  Not everyone can return the same value that I may be able to give them but I will also remember that some people will extend more value to me than I may be able to return also. So I will just keep it simple stupid.


Wasserman, N. (2012). The Founders Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup. Princeton Univ Pr.

Cancialosi, Chris. (2014). “4 Reasons Social Capital Trumps All.”  Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/sites/chriscancialosi/2014/09/22/4-reasons-social-capital-trumps-all/#7e9784fa6986

Maintaining Control versus Maximizing Wealth – What Is Your Definition of Success? WCU ENT600 – Week 2 blog

What does success look like as an entrepreneur?  I am sure that we all have differentiating personal answers but most often with entrepreneurs there are some desires to control our own destiny, work on our own terms, and have some control on what our incomes are.  I for one want to be profitable with my business venture, I also want any success to be contributed to my hard work and talents.  I believe that I have planned most aspects of entering the custom home construction business, however I am not naive enough to think I have thought through all issues that potentially can and/or will rise.  However, I do have a plan that will allow me to enter the business that I believe will give me a successful beginning…but what after that?  As I take a deeper look and focus more specifically on the details of my strategy, I can identify many long-term aspects that are murky and may not be well thought through.  However, a high level of personal control, influence, and profitability is consistent throughout my vision at every step of the life of my company.  Concerning to me, as Noam Wasserman states in “The Founder’s Dilemmas, “although the desires for wealth and control seem complementary, as entrepreneurial motivations they turn out to exist in perpetual tension with one another.”  So…wait, there is more to it?   In reading the section of the book entitled “Wealth Versus Control: A Closer Look” it is enlightening to me the importance of a longer range “owner strategy” that clearly articulates my goals and rationale.    

                As Wasserman states concerning founders of businesses, “An individual’s motivations are almost always complex and rarely transparent to anyone— including the individual himself or herself.”  And that, “The best way for them to know what to do is to know their own motivations—why are they there in the 1st place.”  In the construction home process, many times the trade-off is cost versus the quality and style that are hoping to achieve.  The motivation may be to always create the highest quality home.  We may want to utilize the highest quality materials that will also achieve the most up to date design appeal but there is always a budget that brings some reality and influences that motivation.  In educating ourselves to the pros and cons of all materials so we can provide the most desired project within the budget.   This example showing that motivations can change with the current situation and other influences.  Our motivation may become to produce the highest quality house per the budget or to increase the quality of materials and sacrifice some design and style but there are trade-offs.  John Baron and Vlad Barbieri (Harvard Business Review – Every Business Owner Should Define What Success Looks Like) point out that “the key is for the owners of a company to be aligned on what goals they want to pursue, recognizing that there are trade-offs among them” and to “revisit these trade-offs as things change.”  

                Most all custom home construction businesses are privately held by individuals, partnerships, or families which can often create struggles between control and maximizing wealth.  There are also opportunities to include investors on projects where extra capital may be needed.  All stakeholders will have personal ties in the business and will most often influence both control and wealth.  Investors will most often look to invest in projects that match their own vision and motivations.  As the business grows and others become more included it is even more imperative to have a very clear “owner strategy” that will aid in aligning all stakeholders to keep the business on course.  As stated by Baron and Barbieri, “if owners are clear about how they want to keep score, board members and management teams will know how to win.  That clarity also allows companies to define success on their own terms, rather than someone else’s”

                Income and profitability will always be important, and I don’t believe that any of us would ever create a company just to hand over 100% of control to someone else.  So, we must conclude the answer will always include a mix of wealth strategies as well as effort to maintain certain levels of control.  Baron and Barbieri recommend homing in on four-six financial metrics that can be used to define the company’s profitability success.  We must also keep in mind the correlation remains fluid so clear metrics help define how we will keep score as well as what the guard rails are.  To conclude, we must make every effort to define our motivations, understand what level of profitability and control is important, and understand that it is fluid and ever changing.  Success may be hard to clearly define at each step so we must also look to define what success is not. 


Wasserman, N. (2012). The Founders Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup. Princeton Univ Pr.

Baron, Josh and Barbieri, Vlad. (2019). Every Business Owner Should Define What Success Looks Like. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2019/08/before-you-start-a-business-decide-what-success-looks-like

Fire and Light Logo and Justification / Identity Analysis – ENT645 WCU

I wanted a simple logo that would give a consistent impression to potential customers and would be flexible to build upon with our overall persona that we would look to create with our overall marketing strategy.  

Please listen to my reasoning and feel free to comment!  

Direct Response Marketing Tool – ENT645 WCU.

I took this project very seriously but I may not of truly understood its effectiveness.  It was a great exercise that allowed me to engage a few ideal clients as well as other business peers in a discussion concerning the effectiveness of the the two step marketing process in our genre of business. I truly look forward to performing this exercise in a real world scenario soon!



Extended Pitch – ENT645 WCU

Hello All!

Attached is my Extended Pitch! I wanted to use a real world scenario where I would be presenting to a group of my ideal clients (custom builders and designers) and introducing my conceptual company Fire and Light as a new business entering the market.  

Thus, I performed this just like I would if I had clients in a room and I was making a presentation.



Elevator Pitch – ENT645 WCU

Hello All!

Attached is my “Elevator Speech” for my conceptual company Fire and Light.  I waned to give some insight to the wide scope of products that we offer but I did not want to lose the overall message to the listener.  Builders and designers will already know who our company is but I hope to establish our company as a topic of conversation anytime anyone would have a conversation with them.  Such as… ” oh, your a builder.  Do you buy your products from Fire and Light”?

I also want to promote our online presence.  A visit to any of these websites or apps would give our company the opportunity to “put our best face forward” before they even stepped into our showroom.  It would also open the door to some online interaction and allow the client to dream! Driving them online to drive them off later.  

Presentation and Self Promotion Follow-up Response / Reflection WCU ENT645.

Thursday August 1st, I had the pleasure of discussing and presenting myself as an expert on the topic of preventing clear-cutting in the construction process in Pinehurst, NC.  This topic is a sub-topic of the long-range plan called “Envision the Village” that I used in the announcement of my presentation.    

As I work with residential builders, this type of involvement allows me to be influential in a very important stage of our business.  Being involved and influential in the areas that are important to my customers allows me to be more important to them, ultimately gaining trust and influence with their business.  I truly believe that focusing on the overall “health” of our construction industry as well as the community here in Moore County does ultimately contribute to the profitability of my company.  My involvement and participation in this type of planning will benefit my entrepreneurial venture in many ways.  In order to have a successful business that grows along with the community, I must have a deep understanding of the direction to which our community is going.  This will help me prospect for clients, understand development and building trends and forecast my business.  Also, involvement with the Village of Pinehurst in an advisory capacity allows me to network with influential individuals in the community.  As my network grows, I have a larger pool of prospects to whom I can market my business.