Your business is a living, breathing organism. It runs on real people – until we reach the singularity, it’s your employees that keep the wheels turning.
Part of your role as the leader of the company is to manage your people in such a way that you get the best out of them every day, and so that they actually want to give you their best every day.
A key part of this is knowing how to manage yourself, and we’ll get to that shortly. But first I want to share my BOSS analysis model with you.
You’ve probably heard of SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) and maybe DOS as well from Dan Sullivan (dangers, opportunities and strengths).
While both those models are useful, they’re externally directed – they are best used for analyzing business units or planning projects.
They are focused on forces at play outside the individual, rather than what is going on inside the head of the people who will actually be carrying out your strategies.
This is where the BOSS analysis is different. It can be externally focused, but it shines when you use it for internal focus – make it all about the person in question, their particular profile and how that profile fits with what you need.
You can put BOSS to use when you’re hiring, during probation periods, and at your regular employee reviews to get focused, practical results at each stage.
How to Use the BOSS When Hiring
The day you think to yourself… “God… I really need to hire someone else to do this” is the day you should start mapping out the BOSS profile you need for the role. In this situation, the focus is external, because you don’t have the person yet, but you can project what kind of person might fit the profile.
For example, ask yourself:
- What are the barriers someone is going to experience in this role? What is going to make this job difficult for them?
- Most jobs have barriers: communication across timezones & platforms, unclear reporting structure, unfamiliar team dynamics etc.
- What are the opportunities associated with this role?
- If you’re hiring there must be an opportunity: expansion into the market, better customer relationships, more sales?
- What are the shortcomings of this role?
- Are you only able to pay a limited amount? Will they have to bootstrap the role because you don’t have enough resources in that part of the business? Is the person who will manage the new hire prickly or overly demanding?
- What are the strengths of this role?
- Is there a chance for a lot of upward mobility within the company? Will the experience make them poachable? Do they have a chance to get rich working with you?
Once you have a BOSS profile for the role, you can start looking for the person that matches up. You’ll know what kind of character traits you’re looking for, what kind of experience the candidate will need, and what kind of outlook.
Throughout the interview and hiring process, you can then check to make sure the best candidates match up to the profile. This instantly weeds out the people who won’t be a good fit, and leaves you with the cream of the crop.
You should also apply BOSS throughout the new hire’s probation period.
(You are doing probation periods, right?)
Some people interview really well. They’re perceptive and get a good feel for exactly what you’re looking for – and then give it to you. As a result, the reality can come out differently to your expectation.
Continue measuring your staff against the BOSS profile over the probation period. You might find that the role is not exactly what you thought it would be, so that profile needs to be updated – either to fit the person you hired, or to help you go back to the hiring pool.
If the role does unfold as you expected, then the BOSS analysis of the new hire will let you know if you’ve got the right person. If the day-to-day expression of BOSS matches up to the analysis – perfect. Keep ‘em. If not, go back to the drawing board.
How to Use BOSS For Reviews
Once an employee is past the probation stage, you can use it to direct your quarterly reviews.
(You are doing quarterly reviews, right?)
In particular, it allows you to create a focused conversation between the management team and the employees for each role.
Every quarter, you can assess…
- The barriers the employee is experiencing as they deliver on their role. These can be internal and external barriers.
- The opportunities the employee has in the role. These can be the opportunities within the role itself – implementing new workflows, extra training, expanding responsibilities etc – and within the employee – increasing confidence, making new connections, getting more control etc.
- The shortcomings the employee is experiencing in the role. These can be issues or blind-spots that you’ve observed, as well as their own assessment of their current problems.
- The strengths they are displaying in the role. Again, these can be areas of prowess you’ve observed, as well as giving them a chance to highlight things they think they are doing well or are proud of.
As you can see, the BOSS analysis creates a conversational framework that allows both management and employee to bring up all the elements of the role.
As you move through the analysis, come up with the action steps both parties will take so that the employee can get to the next level: the actions you’ll take to overcome barriers, capitalize on opportunities, minimize shortcomings, and maximise strengths.
At the next quarterly review, you can assess how much progress has been made since the last BOSS session, and do a new one so that everyone keeps progressing.
Which brings me back to the point about doing the BOSS analysis on yourself… because it’s not just employees who need to keep bringing their A-game.
You need to keep getting better too.
At some point, every founder comes to a crossroads and must make a critical decision:
Am I the best person to run this company?
Leaders should apply the BOSS analysis to themselves at least as often as they apply it to their staff.
You need to be hyper-aware of the barriers to your own success, both internal and external.
You must keep an eye on the business opportunities around you, and the opportunities you have for personal growth.
It’s critical that you are aware of your own shortcomings, and are able to get people around you to cover them.
In the same way, you must own your strengths and double down on them to make as much progress as possible.
The question it comes down to is whether you are a good enough boss. Are you focused, personable and visionary enough that your people will follow you anywhere?
For some people, the answer to that question will be no.
If you think that might be the case for you, then you need to hire someone to lead the company, and find yourself a role that better fits your BOSS profile.
(Yes, hiring someone else to run your company might seem like a horrible idea. But it’s often the best decision you can make for the growth of the business and for your personal progress.)
Really – if there’s a shred of doubt in your mind about this, make sure you read this article. I dive deep into whether you should assume the role of CEO or hire for it, as well as how you go about determining the right kind of person if you do hire.
And if you’ve never thought about whether you’re a good enough boss, the BOSS framework is ideal for figuring out if you are the right fit to lead the people on your team.
You can analyse yourself in relation to the company and how it’s going, and make a rational decision about what you need to do. Ideally, you’ll include a lieutenant or a trusted person in senior management in this process, so that you don’t miss any potential blind spots.
The BOSS analysis is a simple framework, but it opens up critical parts of your business and team to close scrutiny.
It ensures that everyone on your staff is right for their role, and is maximizing their impact in it every day. It ensures that your management keep a close finger on the engagement and progress of their direct reports, allows you to do the same for the managers, and can ultimately transform the direction of your business.
Start putting it to use today, and watch your team become more focused, cohesive and successful in the coming months and years.