MSMP 82: Martin Ebongue on Building a Team
Seven years ago Martin Ebongue was living in France, working at a job that he enjoyed. But he wanted more freedom, and since he had already built some online businesses with good revenue streams, he was able to quit that job and go on a world tour for 18 months. He ended up settling down in Bali, which is where he was when he joined me as a guest for an episode of the Mads Singers Management Podcast.
One of the big themes of discussion for us in this episode was delegation. Martin stressed the need to let go of your ego: “I’m not always the best person to take care of a certain task,” he noted. But it’s not enough to just come to this realization. There also has to be a process for delegation. Martin’s process involves him going through the task once himself before handing it over to someone. That person then confirms that they understand exactly how to accomplish the task (and if they don’t they can ask). This seems to work well for Martin as he has only had one team member leave in the last seven years.
I shared that one of the biggest pain points that should lead people to delegate in the first place is the burden of being a subject matter expert (sometimes in multiple fields). That means that people are always coming to you for decisions, creating bottlenecks. Martin agreed, saying that while it may feel like a burden to create a process in the first place, that’s only a short time commitment that pays outsized dividends in giving you more of a personal life.
Martin also believes in having a team culture that looks for collaboration rather than competition. Given that his team is spread out across three continents (Europe, Africa, Asia) that’s a powerful mindset to keep the team collaborating. This collaboration extends to the hiring process. Martin’s first two employees were simply excellent freelancers that he ended up bringing on full-time. He began to realize that people who have achieved mastery in a certain field tend to know others who have also achieved mastery in different fields. This led him to start looking for potential candidates from his team’s recommendations. There are so many different components to a great team, and different candidates bring different skills and personalities to the table.
Along these same lines, I was recently chatting with a coaching client about a new hire he was very excited about. “If only I could get one more like him,” he said. “Well,” I said, “why not ask him?” Winners know winners.
Martin is one of those winners and I know you’ll enjoy this conversation as much as I did.
Key Learning Points:
1. Martin shares the locations of his remote team - 2:43
2. Martin discusses the importance of letting go of your ego in delegating better - 3:45
3. Martin talks about how he empowers his employees once he has delegated tasks to them - 6:35
4. Martin outlines his process of delegation - 8:02
5. Martin states that he has only had one team member leave in seven years - 11:15
6. Martin notes the progression of some freelancers to becoming his first hires - 16:05
7. Martin emphasizes the importance of asking your people to help find new hires - 17:30
8. Martin stresses the short-term pain that needs to be overcome in creating new processes - 20:20
9. Mads talks about the hazards of being a subject matter expert - 25:18
10. Martin opines about the time of team culture he wishes to foster - 29:08
Connect with Martin Ebongue