Building A Millennial Team

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No matter what you’re doing in business, you are going to need great people to run it. And I’ve been fortunate to have some great people over the years but inevitably they were almost always surrounded by shit. At the time, though, I didn’t know that: Do great people make their coworkers look like shit or are some people just exceptional? If you don’t know the answer to that question, read along, chances are you’ve made the same mistakes I have and I urge you to fire everyone, today.

Mistake 1: Hire slow, fire fast

You’ve heard it, I’ve heard it, entire books have been written about it – and it doesn’t work with millennials. We’re dealing with a self-absorbed generation that has been cultivating their “personal brand” since adolescence and every aspect of their life is on-demand. If you’re thinking the person you’re interviewing is the person that’s going to show up for work, you’re sadly mistaken. What’s worse, they are impressive at faking it, so if you run a business with any bit of wiggle room they’ll find a way to do nothing of any value while pretending to be hard workers.

Mistake 2: Hire for potential, train for greatness

Another bit of common sense passed down to you by people that didn’t plan for their retirement and are still working like it’s the age of personal responsibility: for every self starter you find there will be hundreds of people only interested in taking a shortcut.

Hire the best. If you can’t hire the best, outsource to someone that will have a contract dictating their level of responsibility because, son, parenting is hard.

Mistake 3: Promote from within

Worst, fucking, mistake.. ever. If you have an opening in your company and an existing employee isn’t already doing that job, you don’t have an internal candidate.

Let me say that using smaller words because it’s important and it fooled me too: If you suddenly have a workload that requires a skill set, one of your employees has already started doing that job. If they have, and they are good at it, just pay them more. The end.

If you need to qualify, train, motivate, or do anything other than adjust their salary.. repeat after me: you don’t have anyone to promote. At best you have an incompetent person about to make a mess that will take you forever to clean up.


Hire professionals. I know, they cost more, you can’t afford it, the time is not right for the high salary person, budget – make any f’n excuse you want I’m just a blog post I’ll hear you out – but mark my words, you will have to clean up the work of an amateur and that’s going to be a lot more expensive.

Care about the people that you hire. Or fire them. If you run a business that doesn’t give a crap about it’s personnel, if you don’t want them to do the best job they possibly can, if you hate people… they’ll hate your business and your clients too. Flown lately? I know this is gonna make some of you cry but the sooner you accept the Word of Vlad, the better it will be for you: You now run a millennial daycare.

Build up the people you hire. I always looked at career development through the clown mirror I saw myself through: just throw more money at the problem. Truth is, for almost everyone more money is not the solution. Nobody is sitting there at their desk trying to solve a problem and thinking “I’d be much happier doing this if I only got an extra $3.50/hr for doing it” – no. You need to talk to your m’f’n people and find out what they are into. Figure out what sort of weird shit they like. What’s their favorite soda. What their hobbies are. Then mold your training, your flex time, your approach against that. Got an employee banging a girl in Miami every weekend and got a big project? Trade him a day on a weekend he’s not down there for a 3 day weekend and see how quickly the morale improves. If you’re paying people to do a job, pay for something that is going to make them better at their job.

Mind your own f’n business. I know a lot of you are religious, so you do your thing and let the god judge them. I used to have a hangup about drugs but I overcame my fear of needles but the thing that matters to me the most is whether we do our job and take care of the client. I’m as interested in your drug cocktail as I am in your pornhub playlists, if you can do the job and do it well, what you do to yourself is between you and Jesus.

IMG_0057Watch what you say. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. And when you do say it, ask them what they heard. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of being tortured by me on the phone or a webinar or in person, you know that I will repeat the same f’n thing 3 times. I’m not senile or a pothead, I just want to make sure we’re on the same page. Yet, I still make mistakes. I have an amazing branding person. She is in my office a dozen times a day doing A/B tests on me and checking if we’re taking all the marketing and service stuff in the right direction. I used to say “I don’t care” to people for the longest time but they heard “Vlad doesn’t give a shit”. Then I started saying “You do you” which apparently means “Go fuck yourself.” – what I meant to say is “I pay you a lot of money because I trust your judgement and expertise, you’re better at this job than I am and while I appreciate you keeping me on top of everything, the decisions on these issues are in your domain because you spend your entire day thinking about it and I’m just here to tell you I really don’t like the color orange.”

Now, if you’re not cool with that person, you’re never going to make that point. If you are, you put it on a tshirt.

Team. As much as you have to love all of your work children, none of them (or you for that matter) come ahead of the team. If you run a company that has a bunch of disposable mouth breathers, you need to fire them right now. The rest you have to drill the following into constantly, repeatedly, and thoroughly: This company has a mission and everyone here has a vital and critical role in it’s success. If anyone is not here 100%, leave. I am not going to fire you, but I will make this place a living hell for you and all these other people that depend on you doing an incredible job will beat you around the clock. If you’re lucky, the wusses will leave without causing any more damage (hint: they probably already caused a ton of it, you’ll find the surprises later). The people that are left behind will take an even greater ownership in the business, do more for your clients, take responsibility for issues and make sure that whenever you get a lazy/dumb slob they get pushed out swiftly. Here is the thing though: you have to build the team. Not just hold a weekly meeting or a lunch, you need to know the mfers, you need to know how to talk to them, how to motivate them and how to break up fights among them. You have to give them the tools to work with each other as well as they work with you.

Here is the thing: all of this stuff is simple. It just takes a ton of time and hard work that you have to do yourself. Yeah, it’s no coincidence that people can’t build great companies but a dozen “coaches” pop up every day. So, you have a choice. Or if you’re smart, you know you really have one option.