How to make sure your best employees never leave (and make a lot of money while you’re at it)

When it comes to culture, here is where the leading business books will lead you:

1. Hire amazing people

Amazing people create great culture. Hire 10xers. Interviews should be 5 steps and 10+ hours. Do personality tests.

2. Love on your people

Pizza parties. Ping pong tables. Kegerator in the office. Early Fridays.

I’m not here to tell you that those things aren’t great. They work. I always try to hire the best people I can (usually who already have jobs) and I spend a ton of energy and time recruiting them.

I also really do spoil my people. I make them feel appreciated, build them up with my words and actions, and spend money on them.

But that said…

99% of the advice you get around hiring and building a culture isn’t actionable.

My rules to build a great culture.

Do not tolerate incompetence

As the leader of any group of people (toddlers or executives) you get more of whatever you’re willing to tolerate from the rowdiest of the bunch.

If you put up with incompetence within your ranks at a company, you’ll get more of it.

Lets say you have a poor performing team leader in your small business. They make poor decisions, don’t work that hard and aren’t that good at their jobs.

Instead of firing them, you keep them around. Its easier and less stress for you. Besides they aren’t that bad and the business is making money.

Your top performers will leave and the people who enjoy just disappearing into the payroll depths while you forget they are there will stay.

The performance of your entire team suffers and more and more people regress to that low standard of performance.

News flash:

There is nothing more frustrating for a 10x employee than being surrounded by incompetent people.

They’re constantly picking up the slack for others, they have a constant nagging “this isn’t fair” feeling and their lives are more stressful.

Not being able to count on teammates to deliver solid work is a massive stress inducer.

What does a 10x employee enjoy most?

Kicking ass. Getting things done. Growth. Making things happen.

Incompetent team members stop all of this on a dime. They keep 10xers from doing what they do best: kicking ass.

Want to build a killer culture?

Get rid of incompetent employees right away.

Build a culture of productivity and growth and good decision making. Where employees can count on each other to follow through and get shit done the right way.

Move quickly at the top

What makes a high performing employee even more angry than incompetent co-workers?

A boss who makes slow decisions and doesn’t get anything done.

Everybody knows how this feels.

They have a job at a big company with layers and layers of bureaucracy. They see blatant and obvious things that could be done by the management team to make their jobs easier…

When they go to the boss and make the recommendation they get a lot of excitement and eagerness. Basically a whole lot of words…

But then nothing happens. The boss doesn’t execute. Nothing changes. Your stress still exists because of the shitty methods or processes in place.

So you go back again a month later. “Hey boss how about these changes.”

“Oh yeah we are discussing that internally and will execute very soon!”

6 months go buy.

And you go get another job at a company that embraces change, improvement and growth.

I’m on the other end of this and I’ll admit it is tough.

Making changes in my company requires a lot of work from me. I can’t just play golf and sit back and cash checks. I actually have to come in and get things done…

Maybe that is why a lot of bosses don’t end up doing anything. The risk and the work. They don’t like either…

As the leader of my company I have 1 job:

Set my employees up for success and remove anything that stands in the way of them becoming a 10x employee who can come to work and kick ass all day long.

Remember, 10x employees just want to kick ass.

Your job is to let them do that and make things happen fast!

Simplify the job

A lot of business owners think their employees are just like them.


Thrive in chaotic environments. Don’t like structure. Good at solving problems. Able to make quick decisions without stress.


The opposite.

The biggest mistake I made as an early entrepreneur was assuming my employees wanted what I wanted.

It turns out if they wanted chaos, uncertainty and decisions all day with incomplete information they would be entrepreneurs!

News flash:

Employees want structure. They want to be told what to do and how to win. They want to succeed and kick ass and they want the tools to do it.

Then they want to go home at 5pm and forget about your business.

Give your employees a clear, reliable way to win and do their job well and your culture will improve.

Hire fast, fire faster

I’ve hired 500+ employees at my company.

Want to know a secret?

I have NEVER been able to tell if an employee is a 10xer or not before getting them in and watching them work.

There are some managers I know who are good at this and I’ll admit I still have a lot ot learn…

But I’ve had some folks who really underwhelmed me in an interview come in and become a 10xer at my company. I’ve had some people with glowing resumes and excellent interviewers let me down and not last long at all.

My brother runs a lawn care company in Bloomington Indiana and echos the same sentiments. His best crew leader was a same-day hire on craigslist a few years ago.

My advice:

Just make the damn hire.

Start low risk with a $1k per month ($4.75 per hour) hire in the Philippines or Colombia through Shepherd. This is an insanely low-stakes way to become a better delegator and get somebody in to help you with early tasks.

If you need somebody local get creative and go find the people you need. Walk into places where they are working and hand your business card to them. Interview a few people and just hire one. Or utilize RecruitJet to find an employee locally.

That sounds overly simple almost to the point it is ridiculous, I know.

Just hire somebody!

There, I said it again. That is all it takes most of the time.

The key here is that you should let them go quickly if they prove they can’t hack it.

Fire fast even though it puts you in a bind and is a huge pain in the ass. Firing somebody is almost always more work for you in the near term. But you have to do it, your entire company (and your culture) depends on it.

The obvious stuff:

  1. Treat your people with respect.
  2. Don’t get emotional. Be steady, dependable and stoic while you lead others.
  3. Pay your people what they’re worth and give the folks who kick ass raises quickly or you’ll lose them.
  4. Give your best people full control over their schedule if they prove they can handle that responsibility and still get their work done.

The truth:

Delegation is a muscle. You can’t get good at it without exercising it.

You can read this newsletter and all the books on hiring and delegating you’d like, but you’ll only improve if you get out and do it.

Thats all for now. Go build a profitable, healthy organization with a great culture.

Onward and upward,


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About Me

I started the Sweaty Startup in December of 2018 because I believe the Shark Tank and Tech Crunch culture is ruining the real spirit of low-risk entrepreneurship.