The company will go as far as the team you, the owner build, and it won’t go any further.
Quote of the week:
“The strength of the team is each individual member.” -Phil Jackson, NBA coach with 11 NBA championships.
The Importance of Building a Strong Team
We spoke about this in the previous post, Part 1, If you have ever been on a sports team you know the value of teammates. If you are trying to build a top organization or a winning business, you need to be able to recruit a team. Many small business owners fail to realize how imperative this is. The first mistake they make is that they hire their friends and family. It is a defense mechanism. It is too easy and ninety-nine percent of the time, it does not work.
I want you to think about the perfect team, a team that would allow you to grow a company exponentially. It is truly exciting when you staff a company so well that you can actually sell it. There are a lot of companies that have no value. I meet with business owners who are in their late fifties or around that age and they think that they can sell their company. When I start investigating, they don’t have anything in their company that is transferable. The only transferable thing they might have are the clientele of one individual staff member. The business does not have a systematic talent pool where each division within the company is running effortlessly by people that plan on staying with the company. The business has no foundation.
Define your profile employee.
The New England Patriots get a lot of credit for building great teams. The profile player that they are looking for is someone who is smart and versatile. In the NFL combine players are chosen based on how fast they can run, how high they can jump, and other physical attributes. On the other hand, the New England Patriots want someone who is smart, who will study the playbook instead of watch TV at night. Second, they want someone who is versatile. This year they had a guy on the team who actually played rugby in college. They had a lacrosse player as well. They have moved players from one position to another if needed.
It is no different for building a team in a small business. You need to know the kind of player that fits your organization, the type of business you have, the industry you are in and your personality type. The New England Patriots’ profile is smart and versatile. I don’t think that you could go wrong with that, but each system is different. I start with being smart because you can’t hide stupid. There is a lot you can do with smart. I define a smart person as someone who has competency in the area that I am hiring them, whether that is sales, management, or marketing. I want them to have competency and a proven track record in that area.
I also love capacity, the ability to do another person’s job if needed. They may not want to, but I know that they are smart and versatile enough that I can move them somewhere else. This is critical for small businesses. Over the past two weeks, two of my lead guys had emergency surgeries. In twenty years of owning multiple companies, I have never had anything happen like this. If I didn’t have talent beneath them that was versatile and could be moved around, we would have been in a lot of trouble. If I didn’t have smart partners that could come in and help, I probably would have pulled my hair out.
You need to know who fits your system.
Some work well alone while some work well with others. Some work well in a fast-paced high-stress environment with high demands while others will shut down in that same environment. Is your business a team friendly environment or is everyone in it for themselves? Only you know your organization and the environment that employees will be working in. You need to know who would be the best fit for your company’s system. If you hire someone that is a renegade and highly individualistic but you have a team atmosphere where everyone is helping each other, that person is going to disrupt your team.
You need to know who fits your culture.
Culture refers to how you do things in your business. I have interviewed people who I thought were competent in their area, but the longer I talked to them the more I realized that they would not fit our culture. What I like in my company culture is someone who plans on staying with us forever. I cannot stand replacing employees. I am either going to fire you fast or keep you forever. When looking at a person’s resume, it is important that I check to see how many places they have worked for.
I want to find out if they have a reason to make a paycheck. When asking about what they do in their free time, they might mention that they help coach their kid’s sports team. I know that this person will probably not want to change jobs very often and that a flexible schedule will be important to them. Another quality that is important to me is integrity. Are they going to do things the same way that we do them in our company?
Do they have personal characteristics or a personality type that I like?
There are certain personality traits that will drive me crazy. I am an extremely high energy person and people who are negative or high maintenance drain me. I don’t like people who lack intelligence, reliability, versatility or people who give me the impression that they are looking for another job. I can’t deal with people who need me to explain everything to them. I once spent fifteen minutes explaining a job description to someone and after I was done, he asked me to repeat what I had just said. I let him go then and there. I had just spent fifteen minutes explaining the job to him when it normally would have taken three, and then on top of that, he wanted me to explain it to him again.
You need to know the characteristics that fit your personality type and organization. I like high energy people but I can also work with solid methodical people who plod along but never take a step backward. Likability is a trait I often look for. It doesn’t matter if you are a quiet person or a talkative person. I just want to like you because I know that if I like you, our clients and our staff will like you.