How To Optimize Your Time & Hire In The Correct Order

About the show:

The Agency Spark Podcast, hosted by Sara Nay, is a collection of short-form interviews from thought leaders in the marketing consultancy and agency space. Each episode focuses on a single topic with actionable insights you can apply today.

About this episode:

In this episode of the Agency Spark Podcast, Sara talks with Jhana Li on how to optimize your time and hire in the correct order.

Jhana Li has over 4 years experience as a COO and Operations Consultant for digital entrepreneurs.

She specializes in executing scalable team & systems infrastructure, and harnessing the true power of Operations as a lever for compound growth.

Her passion lies in scaling purpose-based businesses, and partnering with the founding entrepreneurs to unlock their highest potential & impact.

Key topics:

  • How to know when it’s the right time to hire
  • Unpacking the EHV metric and methodology for optimizing your time and hiring
  • How to identify the highest and lowest value activities in your business
  • Strategies to improve your onboarding and delegation processes

More from Jhana Li:

  • View Jhana’s website here
  • Book a free discovery call with Jhana here


Sara Nay (00:00): This episode of the agency, spark podcast is brought to you by, a powerful project management platform. I personally am a big user and fan of and spend most of my day working within their platform. Learn more about how to set your team up for slash Monday.

Sara Nay (00:24): Welcome to the agency spark podcast. This is your host Sara Nay and I have challenged my guests to come prepared with impactful, actionable insights they can share in just about 15 minutes. So you can walk away, take action and give back to your busy day. Today. I have Jhana Li who has over four years of experience as a COO and operations consultant for digital entrepreneurs. She specializes in executing scalable teams and systems, infrastructure, and harnessing the true power of operations as a lever for compound growth. Her passion lies in scaling purpose based businesses, partnering with founding entrepreneurs who unlock their highest potential and impact. So welcome to the show Jonna.

Jhana Li (01:09): Hi Sarah. It's good to be on here.

Sara Nay (01:11): I'm excited. We were just talking before we started recording. I think we have a lot in common, so I know you're I read some of your operations obsessed. That's absolutely how my mind works as well.

Jhana Li (01:21): A fellow ops nerd. I love it.

Sara Nay (01:23): awesome. I know one of the things that you talk a lot about is your methodology for business owners to optimize their time and hire in the correct order, which I just shared with you right now, we're hiring we're onboarding new people. So I'm really excited to dive in and learn more about what you have to share on that topic. So the show is yours. Let's hear about it. Okay.

Jhana Li (01:41): Yeah. Let's so I would say that this is a question I get a lot. Who do I hire? In what order do I hire? How do I know it's the right time to hire? And so this is essentially my methodology for like a universal answer, for whatever business you're in, whatever size your team is. Here's what you can be thinking about to help you answer those questions. So there is essentially a metric that I made up, I call, call it effective, hourly value, your EHV right? And your EHV is the potential value that you can drive to your business with one hour of your time. This is more than just, what is the cost of your time? What is your salary? It is what is actually the potential revenue, the potential growth that you could be driving to your, with that unit of time. And so if we think across a team, everybody on your team has a different EHV.

Jhana Li (02:30): The CEO's EHV is the highest ever, right? Like they are doing things that are going to drive more growth to the business. Then anything else that anybody else could possibly do on your team? Your, you know, marketing virtual assistant has an EHV. They have the highest level of potential growth they could drive to the business. It's just a lower value. So this is how we think this is how I think about hiring anybody. If I was the business owner, figuring out who do I need to hire, what I would recommend you guys do is you build a list of everything that is taking up your day to day. All of the things, all of the tasks, all of the activities, right? And you order that list by EHV meaning what are the highest value activities that you're contributing to your business? What are the lowest value activities?

Jhana Li (03:18): Not, not to say they aren't important, right? To be clear, they're important, they're necessary, but they're just contributing less value. So order it like one to five, give it a ranking, your strategic vision, your strategic partnerships, your deep think time, your right, like your visionary in those are all fives, because those are the things only you can do within your business. Highest value sending 500 emails a day, lowest value. So order it one to five by EHV. And then in answer to your question, who do I hire build a scope of work around the ones and the twos on that list and ask yourself, which of these activities are taking up the most amount of my time. that's who you hire first, because strictly from an efficiency perspective, what that means is that you are taking your least valuable activities that are taking the most amount of your time.

Jhana Li (04:12): You're delegating that in a, in a package and a scope of work to the next role that you're hiring. And then all of that time that you just saved gets reallocated into your four and your fives from an efficiency perspective. What this means is that your time is only ever being increasingly optimized, being increasingly reallocated towards the highest value things that only you can drive to the business. And over time, what that is going to look like is first my virtual assistant and then my admin, and then my salesperson, and then my account manager, right? Like it will systematically walk you through. Here's the next person I need to add to my team. And then here, like run the same exercise with your team, where are they spending their time? That is less than total value, highest value. Cool. I need to get that person in an assistant or I need to write. And that helps you walk through how to build this team out in a way that works for you and your company, whatever your business model is.

Sara Nay (05:02): Yeah. I love that. We've worked with a lot of people over the years, and always when they're talking about delegating and hiring for the first time, it's always started with make your list of everything that you're doing on a regular basis. So absolutely align there. But typically then our advice was looking at things that like you shouldn't be doing or you hate doing, or that would be easy to outsource, but not actually having like the value behind and the one through five metrics scoring. And so I think what you're sharing makes complete sense, because as you said, as the business owner, the goal should be to focus on those four or five. So I always said your, your highest payoff activities, like that's where your focus should be. And then getting the people in place to help with the threes, the twos and ones as it makes sense.

Jhana Li (05:42): Yep. Totally. And, and interesting things come from this exercise, because for example, something that you hate, like I'm terrible at sales, frankly, Sarah, like I'm bad at it, but I am the only salesperson for my company. It is a super high value thing, but as my team starts to build out around me and the potential value that I could drive to my business continues to increase as my business grows, what is right now, like a four sales is probably a four that's eventually gonna drop to a three and then maybe a two. Right? So at some point it's gonna make sense for me to hire that role out. It just doesn't make sense for me right now, because it's still the highest value anything I can do with my time. But what I see a lot of business owners miss is the fact that their time appreciates it's an appreciating resource, right? It actually gets more valuable, the bigger your company grows. So the things that used to be a four or used to be a three, they used to make sense for you to do this thing no longer make sense. And so it's something that you have to can continuously audit and Reau because your list is actually gonna change over time. And the worthwhileness of a hire is going to change over time because your time is going to become more valuable and it needs to be protected more and more as you grow as a business owner.

Sara Nay (06:53): Yeah, absolutely. And that was gonna be my next question is this, does it, this seemed an exercise that you could go through, not just when hiring it's something that you should do on a regular basis with yourself and also your team members. And so you mentioned auditing there, like how often would you recommend a business goes through this exercise in terms of looking what is on everyone's plate and where their time should be spent?

Jhana Li (07:14): I think it depends on like the rate of change within that company. So if you're growing really fast, your time is rapidly appreciating. It needs to be looked at more frequently because the potential loss on the table is greater. If you are literally spending your time like its money, because it is on the wrong things, you're costing your business money and the faster your business is changing, the more closely that needs to be watched. So my maybe in, in periods of quick change, monthly, when things are slower or you're a bigger company, things are changing less frequently, probably

Sara Nay (07:47): Quarterly. That's one of my favorite answers as a consultant. It's always depends. It

Jhana Li (07:52): Depends

Sara Nay (07:52): On a number of different factors, but it depends on the team and the growth and everything that you have in place essentially there.

Jhana Li (07:58): Yep, exactly. Exactly. And again, your hiring's gonna reflect that in periods of rapid change and rapid growth, you're gonna be hiring way more. So you're naturally going to be looking at this thing more often.

Sara Nay (08:06): Yeah. And so let's say you hire someone based on the areas that you need them in. Let's talk about once you're onboarding someone, do you have systems and processes in place that you would recommend in terms of making sure that their value is spent, where it should be?

Jhana Li (08:18): Oh my God. So many. So here's what I'll say, guys, the first two weeks, let me say the first 30 days of an employee life cycle, I genuinely believe are the most important 30 days. It's like onboarding a client, how you set expectations, how you set up that relationship, how you set up that dynamic is going to go on to either like it's gonna affect the quality of work and the quality of that relationship all the way down the line. And so just in the way that we pour in as businesses, a ton of time into our client onboarding experience, we need to pour a ton of time into our employee onboarding experience, setting them up, how you set them up is going to determine whether an a player shows up as an, a player or a B player or a C player, or they turn out in 60 days.

Jhana Li (09:02): Right? Like it matters so many. But if I could give you just a couple yeah. I would say, um, whenever I onboard a new person in the first 24 hours, I do a couple of things. I walk them through our company culture. So I walk them through our vision, our mission, behavioral expectations. So things like showing up with your camera on and on time to meetings, right? Like the basic things that business owners are always like, are like, they never figured it out. You never told them first 24 hours and then core values, right? So I that's the first 24 hours. I also give them what I call a, a job scorecard, which is essentially a definition of success in their role. Here is your role. Here's what I expect you to be able to accomplish. Here's what the desired outcome of your role looks like.

Jhana Li (09:46): Here's what an, a player in your role looks like. This is yours. Now I transfer ownership. This is yours. Nobody else. This team is going to do this for you with like it's yours, right? Which also means that you need to take ownership for your training process to become this person, to close the gaps that you know, you have that are going to prevent you from executing at this level, we're here to provide the training. We're gonna walk you through it. We're gonna give you the full like hour by hour. I call it my 14 day bootcamp. We're gonna give you hour by hour, what you need to do to close these gaps, but you own the result. So if you have a question you need to ask it. If there's something that you don't feel capable of doing, you need to seek out the resources to make sure you're capable of doing it because here's the definition of success in your role. We don't accept anything less than this. I love that. Super

Sara Nay (10:37): Powerful. Yeah. I love that. And so with the scorecard, obviously you said your 14 day bootcamp, you're presenting it very early on. Is that something that you're re-looking at on a monthly, weekly, quarterly basis moving forward as well?

Jhana Li (10:49): The job scorecard. Yes. Because again, that definition of success, the only thing that should change is maybe like the targets, the metrics that they're trying to hit, because those metrics will evolve. But the definition of success is huge because people will come to me and they'll say, Hey, I, this person isn't showing up, I don't know how to have that conversation. If you've already presented the job scorecard, it becomes a very easy conversation. Hey, we define success up here, but you are executing here. What are you going to do to close this gap? Yeah. And you've all ready, laid it out. You've already told them that this is the minimum acceptable standard and that it is theirs to own. So the conversation is just a reminder that they already agreed to this. Yeah. And here's the gap, as opposed to now trying to introduce expectations that we're never explicitly stated before and now you're making them aware of a gap they didn't know existed. And that's a harder conversation to have.

Sara Nay (11:41): Yeah. I love it. I could honestly talk to you all day.

Jhana Li (11:45): I know. I love it.

Sara Nay (11:46): I'm sure

Jhana Li (11:48): If people

Sara Nay (11:48): Are interested and want to learn more from you online, where can they find you?

Jhana Li (11:52): Yeah, probably the best way to get in touch with me guys is through my website. So that's just John and I'm sure they'll drop the link, but right now on there, there is a link to book a call with me. You are able to hop on, we're able to dive deep into what your unique kind of operational bottlenecks are and see if there's a way that we can add value and insights to help you with that.

Sara Nay (12:09): Awesome. Thank you so much, John, for being here.

Jhana Li (12:11): Yeah, absolutely love this conversation, Sarah.

Sara Nay (12:14): It was awesome. And thank you all for listening to the agency's podcast. This is your host, Sarah, and.



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