Building a great, cohesive team is the foundation for any business, and the people surrounding you can be your guiding force or your sinking ship. Here are a few tips for assembling the right team:
1. Remember that resumes and college degrees are just a foundation. The real gems are those who have a passion for what they are doing, have spent time growing and challenging themselves in their trade and authentically believe that their career is meaningful.
2. Referrals are everything. A smart, knowledgeable candidate is great. But a smart, knowledgeable candidate that has the stamp of approval from a friend or trusted adviser is priceless.
3. Scout talent on your own, don’t always wait for the resumes to come to you. We are always looking at blogs, at social media, at events to find that person that could really add to our team. We are never not hiring as that means that we might miss someone so valuable because we didn’t have our eyes and ears open.
4. Personality and chemistry go a long way in finding a successful long-term employee. On paper, he or she might be a perfect fit. But in reality, work styles vary, personalities vary, behaviors vary and it’s important to find someone who can be folded easily into the day-to-day workings.
5. Don’t be afraid to ditch titles. Titles can be helpful and hurtful in defining roles and it’s important to give each person the freedom and flexibility to wear many hats.
6. Set expectations right out of the gate. Our team knows that they will be working on many, many different jobs. Some are challenging and interesting, others are a bit less sparkly. But they know what those expectations are when they come in and thus there is no frustration involved.
7. Play to people’s strengths. Not everyone is good at everything. Give your team tasks that they are naturally good at, foster them, make them even better. Don’t bog them down with roles that they aren’t built for. Everyone will be happier and the job will get done better if you approach each member like this.
8. Don’t believe the hype. People have come in promising the moon, and very rarely, have delivered. Spend time really getting to know anyone that you intend to bring on, whether short or long term, get referrals and make sure that your own expectations are accurate. If they exceed them, great. But if they don’t, you know what you’re getting. That goes for contractors and for employees.
9. Building a great team is like putting together a puzzle. It may take a few shifts in roles, a few changes in personality, until you have just the right fit. Don’t be afraid to try different approaches, giving them time to marinate, so that you can find an equation among your employees that really, really works. And give yourself permission to let the bad apples go.
10. Creating friendships and relationships among your team members is really important. Not only is your team happier while working, they also support each other more, help each other more, cover for each other, cheer one another on and generally give you a great foundation to build upon. It’s a win for everyone.