A Tale of Two Dogs Part 1

Picture of Two Dogs.. espree and maya. espree was smart white shephers.. maya is cute but dumb bichon poodle mix.

I had the smartest of dogs and I have the dumbest of dogs.

 The smart one was a white German Shephard / Husky mix. She was a natural hunter and guard dog who loved to run and catch pheasants. 

 She had her faults, including shedding the equivalent of a foot of snow around the whole house and – being a bona fide racist. 

 (She ignored our mail delivery guys except for one – who was black – who when she saw him, howled like a wolf and chased him on top of a car. Despite what I’m sure was her fantasy of collecting sticks to burn little crosses under the nests of squirrels, she was smart and her instincts were spot on).

My favourite story…and this was 100% true.

Where I grew up we lived by a field, which meant our home was often invaded by different types of pests.

 One day I heard a scratching on the inside of the basement door. I ran to the dog, literally put my finger on my mouth to shush her and we both crept quietly back to the door. 

 The dog didn’t make a sound but the hair on her back went straight up.

 I flung the door open

 Like a blur she flew past my legs and bounded down into the dark stairwell and disappeared.

“F*** Me”.. I thought..

surely she is dead after barreling down the stairs in pitch black like that..

 But she was fine. Prancing up the stairs in a couple of minutes and going to her water bowl for an aperitif.

 I went down the stairs, flicked the light switch on, and there at the bottom, with its neck broken, lay one of the biggest rats I had ever seen.

 She had caught it and killed it in the dark in less than 3 seconds…

 I was amazed …

 And then there is my current dog – the dumb one.

 She’s “cute” but a hyper-anxious “loser” who prefers to stay indoors and barks at every shadow and sound it seems.

 Her claim to fame was how she stared down, growled menacingly, and barked at the top of her lungs at a real nasty …. Balloon.

 Forget hunting, she couldn’t catch a rock if her life depended upon it.

 She’s pretty much better seen and not heard.

 So what does this have to do with business?

Well, nothing unless you want to discuss scaling and growing your company.

 Specifically, the team you have to scale around.

 Just as my first dog was not cut out for life in an expensive room because she shed like crazy, your business will not scale if you have the wrong team. 

 Just as I would never have expected my loser dog to hunt and feed us, you should not expect your team to do everything.

 Instead, as you build a team, it’s important to hire people who complement each other’s skill sets and are passionate about what they do. 

 And remember that even the best teams need time to gel. 

 My first dog was a great hunter, but she preferred to go it alone. It took her a while to learn how to trust and work with my cousin when he took her out hunting (especially after he shot off the tip of her ear by accident). 

 Similarly, your team will need time to get to know each other and figure out how best to work together. 

 Patience, clarity and accountability are keys when building a strong team.

 As is avoiding the temptation to go “cheap”

 Which we will discuss in parts 2 and 3.