070 Todd Nienkerk | Hiring Right To Scale Your Company

Todd NienkerkGood leaders know the value of good employees with a specific skill for the job.  Great leaders know that you hire people and train for skills.

Todd Nienkerk is the co-founder of Four Kitchens, a digital agency that exploded on the market.  Todd shares the value of hiring people that can think through creative and innovative projects for their clients.  They don’t just do websites…they create cutting edge, dynamic solutions for their clients.

Hiring the right people is essential to success and Todd discusses his use of progressive management practices.  He believes that when you hire the right employees you can offer amazing perks that will not be abused like an unlimited paid vacation (does that scare you?).

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Todd’s Target Audience: Todd’s target market is people and companies in the industry of web design, development and publishing. 

Todd is the co-founder and digital strategist at Four Kitchens, a company specializing in creating things that people enjoy. They focus on three main verticals: media entertainment and publishing, education and non-profits, and open source tools. When they started, Todd found they were spending a lot of time just running their business instead of doing the actual work of developing for clients.

Because of this, Todd and his team realized that they had incurred a lot of opportunity costs. As they continued to grow, the staff size increased and finally, the development team realized that they could not do everything all the time. They made the smart decision to delegate the leadership and management responsibilities to new, capable staff members. Now they had more time to focus on the projects instead of operations, where they once spent around 80% of their time.

Today in this episode, Todd talks about how they started a leadership structure that delegated much of the leadership and decision-making activities to very specific people in their company. This led to staff members being accountable for the success or failure of their part of the business. When their staff was empowered, it allowed Todd and his partner to focus on things that they loved doing.

And these changes were for the best for everyone: the business grew and became more profitable, and the people working for the company were much happier. Todd believes their management practice called “Progressive Management Practice” is the reason for their successful changes.

One specific aspect Todd discusses their Progressive Management Practice is unlimited paid leave. One of the main criticisms of this benefit is that can be abused by employees and owners alike. Todd believes as long as you as the leader set the correct tone expected for proper use of paid leaves and discourage those who abuse it with critical actions, then this can be a wonderful benefit for your staff.

Todd also talks about how he got to where he is today. His previous strategy did not help the business to grow accordingly. They had the sheer necessity of finding the right team and giving interested people opportunities to demonstrate their leadership abilities. Listen to hear Todd’s wisdom about delegating responsibilities and leadership in this episode.

In this episode, here’s what we’ll cover:

  • How Todd increased his company’s efficiency.
  • What has changed in their organization in a year?
  • How Todd delegated leadership responsibilities and why.
  • Hiring the right people vs. someone that can just get the job done.
  • What are progressive management practices and why do they matter?
  • Unlimited paid leave: the pros and cons.
  • There are two main criticisms of paid leave: what are they?
  • How Todd reached where he is now: The big triggers.
  • How to empower others to make decisions.

Practical & Actionable:

Todd says the most practical and actionable thing that you can do right now is to make sure that you have a way for people to communicate questions or needs. You can then explain the values and philosophy that guide your decision-making, empowering them with the ability to answer such questions on their own going forward.


To give Todd a shout out for being on the show, follow him and send him a message: Todd Ross Nienkerk. Connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter at @genehammett and let me know what you liked about the episode!

Do you have questions about today’s episode!?!

Did you know that you can apply to chat with me by phone? This is a limited time offer to help anyone that is serious about refining their business as well as developing a clear & compelling strategy that will drive them forward. Complete the questions and our team will follow up with you to schedule time for your “Business Breakthrough Session”. These are limited to 30 minutes, completely free and oh, so valuable.  Apply Now!


And lastly, please leave a rating and review for the Leaders in the Trenches on iTunes (or Stitcher) – it will help us in many ways, but it also inspires us to keep doing what we are doing here. Thank you in advance!

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