Debra Swersky
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Journal

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Do What Doesn’t Scale

I’ve heard this phrase a few times over the past months: do what doesn’t scale. I reckon that it falls into the category of if you hear something once, like a new word that you learn, you then start to notice it everywhere… everyone uses it, everyone knows what it means, and now you’re part of some special club. Like the word “avuncular” which I learned a few years ago. (Which, of course, made me look up materteral.) 

For the phrase, do what doesn’t scale, it was less so about the meaning behind the phrase (because I already know about the benefits of doing so), but the fact that it was shared so concisely. The phrase also happens to marry a sentiment of "doing what others don’t" that I feel strongly about with a word that I commonly associate with business operations: scale. This all comes back to the world that I operate in, my raison d’etre (that’s “reason for existence”). My “why”... Phase 2. 

Phase 2 was about taking the time to understand what I wanted to be working on, really honing in on the message, and my “why.” I read books, I took assessments, I listened to podcasts, I talked to people, I reflected on my background and values, and I started to put some life puzzle pieces together. I knew that I wanted to be in the world of start-ups, but it wasn’t until I read "Zero to One" that I understood why. “A startup is the largest group of people you can convince of a plan to build a different future.” Yes! Peter Thiel's line matched up to the challenge that Zeynop Ton faces in trying to get companies to adopt the "Good Job Strategy" which supports and makes a ton of sense in the context of Jim Collin’s "Good to Great." The stars aligned when I reviewed my notes and found “the lesson” that everyone could learn from my particular personality cue: It’s the human touch that makes employees feel valued.

Wow. That’s huge. The people problem is a big one (fact)… and I can help solve it. 

It starts with that little big detail that many startups overlook, or don’t think is that important, or that they prefer exists as a mentality: sink or swim. “Hey, we’re a start-up…” is a phrase that you’ll oftentimes hear as an excuse for neglecting this little big detail. But, in reality, the startup is doing something great, starting something awesome… “building a different future” with some of the best and brightest minds. Does it make sense that they would neglect the crucial first step after spending all of the time, effort, and energy in recruiting and hiring their new team member? Don’t they want their latest and greatest asset to last and appreciate vs. depreciate? How can they take the people that they’ve recruited to get on their bus and keep them excited about the bus that they got on? 

“New employees are 69% more likely to to stay longer than three years if they experience a well-structured onboarding.” 
- The Aberdeen Group

Hello, Phase 2: LBD Producers

I work with startup companies to create onboarding strategies that efficiently and effectively transition new team members to their roles using the organization's’ brand, culture, and operations. By focusing on onboarding in startup companies, I’m mitigating the stress that is placed on managers to train their new hires instead of leveraging them, and facilitating a faster shot of success for new employees.

Employee Onboarding & Training: The little details make a big difference.

Debra Swersky