August 3rd, 2016 | by

“If you get the wrong people, they have the ability to put growth at a standstill.” – Henry Schuck

In an ongoing interview series by Crain’s, executives, entrepreneurs, and business leaders are asked about mistakes that have shaped their individual business philosophy.

Recently, author Charlotte Woolard sat down with DiscoverOrg’s CEO, Henry Schuck, to discuss his learning moments over the years, as well as some of the biggest stumbling blocks he experienced while helming one of the fastest growing companies in America. Below is a quick synopsis of the article.

The Single Biggest Mistake Impacting Business Growth

Most companies’ growth strategies typically revolve around new products, new markets, and new channels.  While those are undoubtedly critical elements of successful growth, Henry’s experience taught him the lesson that, at the end of the day, it’s the people that drive the growth.  

Too often, when trying to expand, fast-growing companies are tempted to hire a candidate based simply on the length of their resume or experience level. On paper, this person looks great, but are they the best fit with the culture of the growing company? For DiscoverOrg, Henry found that hiring someone who doesn’t fit into the culture just to fill a role led to high churn rates, high opportunity costs, and it stalled the ability of the company to grow.

Quickly, he transitioned the hiring process. Today, thoroughly vetting each candidate for both cultural and skills fit protects both the company and the candidate.  This emphasis on finding the ideal person led DiscoverOrg to employ two protocols as part of our standard hiring process:

  1. Assess problem-solving ability – this gives insight into a candidate’s ability to apply new concepts and solutions and flourish in a very fast-growing environment; the company has also been able to match those results to others who previously succeeded in the role.
  2. Diligently call references – both the ones the candidate gave, as well as interviews with former supervisors.

Adding both of these straightforward activities to our hiring process has greatly improved overall team retention and the company’s culture.

The end lesson: companies grow as a result of the people. The right people have the ability to ramp your organization. The wrong people can put growth at a standstill.

Read the full post on Crain’s, as part of their “IF I KNEW THEN…” series, which asks executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

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About the author

Theresa Potratz

Theresa is a Social Media Specialist with additional experience in creative communications and strategy.