Recruit and Develop Entrepreneurs in Business and at Work


Earlier in my career, I requested a meeting with a business Founder, hoping that he would get to know me well enough to recommend me to his friend, a fellow local CEO – I was very interested in working at the other CEO’s company. At first, he was just going to speak to me on the phone, which was fine. However, his Executive Assistant asked if I could come and meet with the Founder at his office the next morning, a Saturday.

As I was escorted to Founder’s office the next morning, I noticed that while I was dressed in my navy suit for an interview, everyone else in the office (including Founder), was dressed for the weekend in jeans and sneakers. I sat down at Founder’s conference table, and thanked him for meeting with me in person. “When I saw on your résumé that you and your husband started a custom picture-framing business, I wanted to meet a fellow entrepreneur,” Founder remarked. I chuckled at his compliment. “I appreciate your feedback; however, I would never compare the store to your business success.” We spoke for the better part of an hour, and were clearly intrigued by each other: I was fascinated by Founder’s current business; and I had caught Founder’s attention as an HR Manager who wrote a business plan to help start her husband’s custom picture-framing business. When I accepted the HR job he offered me after our career-changing conversation that day, I learned that Founder has started his large and successful company from the trunk of his car. Working for Founder was one of the best jobs of my career.

Later in my career, as I worked more than full-time for another entrepreneur in an operations management job in hopes of learning more about how to start and run a business of my own at the brink of the last recession, my friend, big-brother-from-another-mother-and-father and soon-to-be-entrepreneur mentor John took me out to breakfast – we volunteer our time working together on our congregation’s Personnel Committee. John, a fellow GE alum, had started his own successful business with intellectual property he had developed at GE 20 years before, at GE’s request. As the waitress at the diner filled our coffee cups, John asked me a question out of left field. “I wanted to know why you’re not in business for yourself?” I looked at John. “What made you ask me that question?” I queried back. John smiled. “Because I see a bit of myself in you. Have you ever thought about putting together a business plan?” My turn to smile. “I just updated it last week,” I replied. And with that conversation and John’s mentoring, the training-wheels runway to my current consulting business, Deb Best Practices, began.

As you recruit, hire and develop talent to build the success of your organization now and into the future, how will you discover and lift up the current and future entrepreneurs to enhance your team as employees and mentees, in business and at work?

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