Being a Cool Boss Starts With Hiring

My husband has a running joke with literally everyone we know that “Sabina doesn’t actually do any work.” To most people on the outside looking in, Swift Kick spends business hours being ridiculously silly and having fun. I often get asked, “Hey, I see all the fun Instagram posts, but…what do you actually do??” LOTS OF STUFF. WE DO LOTS OF STUFF.

If you have worked with Swift Kick before, you know that we deliver quality, award-winning trainings and keynotes and that we do our best to treat our clients like family. You might not know, however, that at SKHQ we also have:

  • Unlimited sick days
  • A no-problem work-from-home policy
  • The ability to stop a meeting completely, so we can “quote” a coworker
  • Wedding planning during work hours
  • “Good news tangents” at our weekly meeting, aka personal story  time

So how does our happy little company manage to be so flexible and so productive and efficient? How did I land this job right out of college with the coolest boss ever?

Can you be a cool boss without running your company to the ground?

It starts with hiring. 

It ends with actionable core values.

That’s it.

Anyone who has ever interviewed with Swift Kick knows that our hiring process is, well, intense. There are several rounds of interviews and homework assignments. We have a rubric for all potential candidates to rate them on many aspects of “fit.” By the time we hit the final round, we have an incredibly hard choice to make, because those who wouldn’t be right for the job have already weeded themselves out.

Tom, our CEO, knows that not every company could successfully implement unlimited sick days. It works at Swift Kick because we have hired people who fit the company’s culture of integrity, honesty, and openness. Our people simply wouldn’t take advantage of unlimited sick days to go to the beach. In fact, our people probably work from their sick bed unless it’s dire. (I had mono and took maybe one real day off.) But at the same time, if my husband texts Tom that I am having an anxiety attack and won’t make the meeting, I am only met with well-wishes and support. That’s how it works here.

When you hire the right people, you have the ability to be flexible and “cool.” 

But a word to the wise – it doesn’t stop there. Humans are humans. Even the best of us are tempted to take advantage. So it only starts with hiring. Step 2 then continues for eternity – using your core values.

This doesn’t mean having a poster in the office that says “INTEGRITY.” (What the heck does that really mean, anyway, in practice?) It means that we have weekly one-on-one meetings with our boss to go over how we exemplified each of the actionable core values that week. It means we get graded on these values at our quarterly performance reviews. Every week I hear these sentences, for example: How did you feed your butterflies this week? Is there anything in the open doors, open hearts space you’d like to tell me about?

The key here is that our values are repeated, reminded, and put into action constantly so that we consistently nurture the culture we want and expect. You can’t let the important stuff lapse. We won’t let you.

So you wanna be a cool boss?

  1. Create a few core values that are action statements, not buzzwords.
  2. Hire people who naturally follow these core values.
  3. Implement systems to insert said values clearly every single day.
  4. Let your people live their lives with flexible schedules, and smile because they get it done anyway.

Does your team have flexible policies? How does your team leader balance that with productivity?

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