I used to brag about this, but it was a mistake (and listen up, because – it’s a common one!).

Until recently, I organized my company so that only one person ever reported to me. The reason is, I tasted freedom! I loved moving out of the day-to-day of my company, so I jumped to this extreme… before Hirsh Marketing was ready for that.

I basically created a layer between myself and the company, for no reason! And now, we’ve rectified that with huge results.

In this episode, I’m detailing why I made this mistake in the first place + how I fixed it (quickly), plus…

  • How my #1 priority had to shift
  • Why fixing this ONE mistake in your business could change the game
  • And what this means for the future of Hirsh Marketing

Tune in for another transparent conversation about the behind-the-scenes of a growing company, and then head over to Instagram to share your personal takeaways on stories (tag @emilyhirsh for a shoutout!).

Key Points:
[1:58] I used to brag about this, but it was a mistake
[4:58] I couldn’t find the obvious problems in my company
[6:45] So, my #1 priority had to shift
[7:59] Fixing this mistake has changed everything
[10:18] And here’s what this means for the future
[12:40] This is a common mistake, so take note!

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Episode Transcripts:  

Emily Hirsh: I’m Emily Hirsh and this is the Hirsh Marketing Underground Podcast. Attention innovators, influencers, creators and game changing entrepreneurs, your internet domination begins right here. We are the powerhouse marketers that you’ve been looking for. You’re already making waves in your industry and we’re here to help amplify those waves of change by creating a connection that cuts through the noise. We take everything you’ve built inside your zone of genius and find its audience.

Emily Hirsh: With killer strategy and laser eye for impact, we launch multimillion dollar campaigns and skyrocket your reach online. And now, we are doing the unheard of, we’re unveiling everything we’ve learned, taking you behind the scenes with the Hirsh marketing team and giving away the secrets to our client;s success. Stay tuned for top [inaudible 00:00:50] learning strategy, ROI reports and insider knowledge that you won’t find anywhere else. You’re changing the world and we’re the team to help.

Emily Hirsh: Hello there everyone. Welcome back to the Hirsh Marketing Underground Podcast. Today I’m going to be talking to you guys about a mistake that I made in my org chart, basically a mistake I made with my company layout. I don’t know why I’ve waited awhile to talk about this because it’s something we changed a couple months ago, but I think this is going to be a really good one. I love being super transparent with you guys on here about marketing, but also about team stuff so this one’s going to be focused on this. I think it’s going to be really good because I’m not the only one whose made this mistake actually.

Emily Hirsh: I have a good friend who went through the same thing. Her company is actually a lot bigger than mine, but she went through the same thing. We kind of like ended up in the same place and different levels. I was like, “Wow.” It was just interesting to see because I think it’s a common one so I’m going to be talking about it to hopefully stop you from making a mistake. In the past, I’ve actually come on the podcast and bragged about the fact that, not bragged, but been like, “I only have one person reporting to me.” In a nutshell, that actually caused a lot of issues. So two months ago… I had one person. I had a COO reporting to me and that’s it.

Emily Hirsh: First of all, in my opinion, a company at $3,000,000 doesn’t need a COO. That was my mistake number one is promoting somebody to fast who was a great individual, but it was just too fast… is a great individual, this person is actually still with the company, just in a different role. I don’t need a COO. I probably don’t need a COO until I have a $10,000,000 company. What happened is I used to have everybody reporting to me. I used to be involved in everything. I used to be overwhelmed. I got a taste of this freedom of, “I have no meetings. I have few team check ins because I have one person reporting to me and I can run everything of through this one person.”

Emily Hirsh: This person actually didn’t have too many people reporting to them. She had five, four or five. But the thing is, they were departments. It wasn’t like she just had one person who does their job reporting to her, she had one person but the whole department was under her. What I first of all learned was that having departments report to somebody is different than having a person. It’s a total different mindset shift for her that she had to go through, but I had coach her through because you can’t go really deep like you used to with the one person reporting to you where you would… Not deep in terms of the relationship, but deep in terms of like, “What are they working on? What do they need support with. How do I manage it? How do I fix problems?” If you did that for that one person, you would be doing it for the whole department and you can’t do that deep, right.

Emily Hirsh: Essentially, our company wasn’t ready to be in place where the department heads underneath her were operating independently enough that she could then have four or five departments under her and be able to manage it. Also, I basically created this layer between myself and other people in the company for literally no reason. It was because I got that taste of that freedom. I went to the extreme opposite side of having nobody report to me and that freedom of, “I only have one person.” It was great, but it caused a lot of issues. What happens is I actually didn’t have the head of the ads team reporting to me, but the head of the ads team was reporting to this person. She was coming to me. I was telling hers something. She was going to the ads team. It was just silly.

Emily Hirsh: It’s like, “Why not just go straight to me?” We ended up in group chats. It was just extra fluff that we didn’t need. Also though, I didn’t have HR reporting to me. Frankly, we really needed to build, we still do and still are, working on building out our HR department. We don’t need a full HR department, but we don’t have a functioning processes of a HR department that’s fully running all on its own yet. So having me removed, I couldn’t find the problems that the CEO would need to find and be involved and understand that. It was causing chaos where I was getting frustrated because I was like, “What’s going on in that department?” She was getting frustrated because she’s like, “I can’t make the decisions.”

Emily Hirsh: We actually made a full change once we realized the problem. Ironically, at the same time, my friend was going through a similar thing and was telling me that they were changing everything around. They didn’t have any of the departments reporting to them or their husband and they were changing. I was like, “Oh my gosh. I’m doing the same thing on a way smaller level,” because my company is smaller than hers. When I realized that, we changed it. We actually brought everybody over and now reports to me. I actually have five direct reports now. We did it over the course of a month because when I moved the people over, I did a daily check in with them for a week just to get on the same page, just to be like, “Where’s the problems? What can I do to fix it?”

Emily Hirsh: When you have somebody reporting to the CEO, it’s always going to be easier for them because I can make decisions in 30 seconds, less than three seconds right. Somebody else who has to go to me to get permission, then go back to them and tell them my decision is going to slow everything down. They don’t feel like they have power over the department because they have to go through people. You don’t want to create unnecessary layers. What I realized was my number one priority had to shift. I need and needed to build a basically leadership team underneath me.

Emily Hirsh: I have five individuals now. They’re all department heads. It’s the ads team, head of the ads team. It’s the head of marketing, head of our sales, head of our operations, head of HR, all reporting to me and then I have an executive assistant. I think that’s five. I’m not looking at my org chart. I could pull it up, but that’s the… Yeah, those are the people who are reporting to me. Now, I can make sure that those departments get billed out how they need to so that those individuals can run their departments with as little of my help as possible. Obviously, I’m always there, but we just didn’t have the systems and the foundation and infrastructure for an entire department to be running without my input.

Emily Hirsh: At $3,000,000, I don’t believe you’re ready that. All of these people in these departments and building out their processes and everything, they need my input. They need my, I guess, support and feedback and direct contact with me. It has made a massive, massive difference doing this. It’s been… First of all, I found a lot of issues. I found a lot of things that were getting people stuck that weren’t working that well, that weren’t to the standard that I would necessarily want, but they didn’t realize it because there wasn’t that communication. Second, it’s just made things run so much smoother. Everybody is more clear with what they need to be doing and the direction and has my feedback on things. I believe it’s really important for me to build those actual relationships with those people for the future of the company.

Emily Hirsh: My goal is having a layer of leadership underneath me that is rock solid. Because by $10,000,000, they’re going to be responsible for such a massive amount more than we are now that I need this really team of A players. I have them, but we have to be nurturing. I have to be nurturing that, not just relationship, but the processes in the department and all of the pieces. This was a massive shift. It has been the best thing I could have done. I wish I realized it all… “mistakes” because you have to make the mistake to then realize the mistake, but I wish I realized it earlier because I think it would fast tracked our progress. Since we made the change, just… our company has moved faster because I feel like the reason is people are more clear about the direction we’re going because they’re not through one person who then goes to me and then I go back to that person and then they back to that… That slows everything down.

Emily Hirsh: I’m not talking about just decisions, but it’s almost like… It’s decisions, but it’s also bringing up problems or spotting gaps or issues in the department. It’s just, if I’m not there, then I don’t see it and then I don’t fix it. You as a CEO are always going to have laser eyes on everything in your company that… I have amazing employees. They still don’t see things exactly the way I see things and the vision see so you want that in all of your departments, that high level vision. I think I’ll probably always have four to five people reporting to me. I don’t plan on changing that. I don’t plan on… I pretty much plan on always having the head of these departments reporting to HR under operations. But besides that, the head of all of these departments will always be… I don’t want to say always because I might change it, but I don’t ever plan on changing.

Emily Hirsh: I think they need to have a touchpoint with me, the CEO. Also, a mistake. I had COO, but I didn’t have any other C level because I don’t need a CMO and a CFO. I have a $3,000,000 company, I don’t need all those things. You don’t want to have really uneven levels of leadership. Pretty much, my levels now is like they’re either managers or we have one director. You don’t want to make it really uneven where you’ve got a C level and a director and a manger and it’s all weird on your org chart because that’s… It’s hard. One thing that was pointed out to me too was if you promote somebody too fast… I’m not talking about pay promotion actually, because I didn’t really change this person’s pay, we changed her title, but I’m talking about title promotion. Because as a human, once you get to the top level, you’re going to start… They will start to feel like, “Well, where do I go next?”

Emily Hirsh: COO is where do you go next, right. To be at $3,000,000 and have capped out your title and… Titles matter. I don’t care what you say, they matter. It’s like I said, not talking about pay. Titles to people matter. If they’re like, “Well, I’ve gone as far as I can go and we’re at $3,000,000.” Down the line, it’s going to cause problems. Once I saw that, I had to just have a transparent communication and be like, “We made a mistake. We’re not ready for a COO. I still want you in the company. Here’s the role that we’ve created and done for her.” It’s working right now. I re-transitioned those people to reporting to me. What that means, reporting to me, is I have a one on one check in with them every week, like a one on one, just me and them.

Emily Hirsh: I’m involved in the metrics that they report. They come to me for problems. It’s helped me build those relationships. My goal is to build that leadership team and I was trying to build that leadership team through somebody else. That was a mistake. I wanted to share that with you guys because I think it’s probably an interesting one. It’s something like, I definitely have those experiences where I would have to do this to learn from it because I thought it was a great idea when I was doing it until you realize. You have to be able to have that lens when you’re growing a team and you’re growing a business where you can be like, “Wait a second, am I really doing this the way I should be doing this or should I change it?” It feels so good once you get that clarity and you shift those things around. That’s what we did.

Emily Hirsh: True Emily Hirsh style, we changed it very fast. As soon as I realized, it was like, “Oh, that’s the problem. Okay. Let’s change it.” We did have that transition period where I wanted to meet daily for a week with all of those people, just like we do when a new hire comes on. We actually meet with them daily for two weeks. They meet with their manager. I was like, “Well now, they’re transitioning as I’m their manager. I want to do a daily meeting for a week just to kind of reorient everybody so I can get up to speed to the problems.” It was actually a lot of work for me, those 30 days. I was on a lot of calls because I had all these daily calls and checks in again. I had to put them back in my calendar. Now, it’s definitely been streamlined and it’s more calmed down. But I knew that up front, I had to step in and build this and restructure this and it was going to be a lot of work for 30 days, but it’s going to change the game for the long run.

Emily Hirsh: Hopefully that was helpful for you guys. I loved to know on Instagram or wherever you want to share if this was a helpful tip, if anybody’s done a similar thing. Hopefully nobody out there’s teaching to do this because I think it’s a terrible idea. You can’t build a leadership team through somebody else. You are the leader. You are the CEO. You need to be that leader and build that team of people who are there to support you through thick and thin in your business. That is what I’m doing. All rights guys. Thanks so much for tuning in today and I’ll catch you next time.

Emily Hirsh: Thanks for listening to the Hirsh Marketing Underground Podcast. Go behind the scenes of multimillion dollar ad campaigns and strategies, dive deep into the Hirsh process and listen to our most popular episodes over at hirshmarketingunderground.com. If you loved this episode of the podcast, do me a favor and head over to iTunes to subscribe and leave a review so we can reach more people and change mores lives with this content. That’s all for now and I’ll catch you next time.