One of my peers and I have frequently debated what is most important for delivering successful business performance: having the right business strategy or having the right team?
After years of experience in running businesses, I am convinced having the right mix of talent is most crucial to delivering exceptional results.Putting together an effective team of individuals who work well together is no small feat. Team building takes a committed, consistent investment in time, money and patience.
Here are three tips that will help you build a winning team:
Can’t get the best people? Get the right people
It’s not always possible to hire A-plus talent in every role. Consider which critical roles must have the A-plus hires to deliver exceptional business performance.
Having an effective interviewing process is crucial. The wrong process will lead to the wrong candidates and ineffective — or worse, detrimental — hiring. Having the right experience means having past experience doing what your company needs — you want a sales person for a sales role.
This is especially important for a smaller company where training is limited. Still, past experience doesn’t guarantee future success. You also need to hire for behaviors that are consistent with your company values. In the past, I have hired individuals who were not a great cultural fit, though they exhibited excellent work skills. Each time I made this mistake, it was painful for the entire company.
You should also rely on your network, which knows you and your company well and can point you to candidates who are a great fit.
Hire people with a different approach
We like to hire people in our own image because they think like us, which leads to less conflict and more perceived productivity. But my experience has proven time and again that the best business performance comes from a team that is diverse in thought, where team members approach problems and address issues differently.
I have experienced major business breakthroughs with multigenerational teams composed of people from different backgrounds, ethnicities and gender.
Turn the right people into the right team
Diverse, high-performing individuals will deliver business breakthroughs only when part of a well-functioning team. It takes time for individuals to understand each other’s motivations and belief systems. Trust is the destination, but the road is paved with everyone assuming everyone else has good intentions.
The journey takes time — and patience, which isn’t often a valued trait in today’s business environment — and like a family road trip, the travel is easier when the group behaves in a way that is consistent with shared values.
Crafting a strong group requires team members to spend quality time together and have deep, candid conversations.
Being part of a team with a high level of candor and focus is an amazing experience, personally and professionally. Just as important, though, is establishing a clear, common goal for the team to rally around so that everyone builds on each other’s ideas. This type of teamwork delivers the type of business breakthroughs that elevate a good company to a great company. ●