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Hire Them. Buy In To Them.

I grew up playing soccer in Oklahoma City. I played ALL THE TIME. I will never forget that time. For some reason, I remember having white soccer shoes when I was tiny and beginning to play. I remember the teams I was on and even certain games / situations I was put in all along the way. There is one thing I come back to again and again from my soccer days though. Being a part of the team.

When I got to the point of leaving “Recreational” soccer and into Oklahoma’s “Classic” soccer program. I used to scroll through all paper and look at all of the tryouts for all the “good” teams. I would be totally intimidated by the list. The players I knew were on those teams. The legacy of the coaches. The quality of play..

I remember picking out my July plans for what teams I would try-out for and getting my gear all in place. Visioning my ability to play well and look good for the coaches while also being a team player. I finally made a team and we ended up having a great first year but there was one team that I could never get out of my head. A team that I watched in tournaments and got beat by in league play. A team that always seemed like they were in a different world as far as how they operated. I wasn’t sure if I could ever be on that sort of team. It just felt out of reach and the lines at the tryouts were always long and tough. They never took many new players (if any) year after year and it seemed like an impossible dream to put on that kit.

I finally decided to give it a go. Long story short, I was offered a position on the roster for the Royals FC and I couldn’t even believe it. I will FOREVER remember the first time I put on those blue and black (Inter Malin) kits. It was a Sunday day for a tourney in Edmond. I remember seeing myself in my mirror for the first time in the kit thinking… holy smokes. I’m walking to a game ON this team now.

My first few games were a bit rough. This play was different. The coaches were different. The perception was different. Finally, my trainer brought me over and said something I keep close by even today:

“You are ON THIS TEAM NOW. We picked you because WE BELIEVE in your skill and ability to help us get better. Go PLAY and OWN your position.”

(Quick Side Note: Now, that may not have been exactly what he told me that day BUT that is how I remember and what I took away from it.)

I’m going to bring this all back to coffee now. Most specialty coffee companies (like EVOKE) have a packed roster of great baristas and coffee professionals and the turn over is often REALLY low. It’s actually crazy cool to see people sticking with these companies for so long! That being said, when it comes to open spots behind the bar, there are often several people interested in joining the family.

When our team would make a hire, we would hire people we knew believed in our community the same way we did, that could be coached to make coffee like we did, and that could own their position.

Once we trained them to our systems and gave them all the tools they needed to succeed at EVOKE, we believed fully in letting them own their spot. Sometimes, we would have someone that was awesome but just was nervous about messing up, about not being the best, scared to ask questions or dive in deeper. What would I tell them? The same thing my soccer coaches told me!

I have always felt like you need to hire great people and then BUY INTO THEM! Let them work. Give them power and a seat at the table. This business was about the people and YOUR PEOPLE are worth your investment.

Help them be great. Help them have a strong chance for success. Listen to them and communicate with them. They are there to work and be a part of something great but that “greatness” came from the people that came before them – remember that!

If you don’t allow your work family to succeed and be great, things will never go well. Give them the tools and watch them grow! Remind them how great they can be and why you chose to have them join the crew and then get out of their way and trust those same skills you knew they had in the first place.

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