With any business, its success is dependent on the people that are executing the plan and in particular with SMEs the philosophy of “ one bad apple can spoil the bunch” is highly germane. You can also lose a considerable amount of time, money and opportunity if you make a mistake with the wrong hire. If you have recruited an underperforming sales director or an unqualified marketing manager the effect on the business can be cataclysmic at the very worst time. Growth and expansion can easily be ‘stifled at birth’ if you make the wrong decision in a key appointment. We help business owners by making sure that they get their key hires right first time by providing an experienced set of eyes and ears to assist with their team building. We assist businesses by finding the right person for the job; helping with the specification, searching and due diligence to ensure that they get the best available person on the market for the job in hand. When both time and cash are in limited supply we ensure that mistakes are eliminated in this crucial part of building the business.
So once we have helped you secure this key individual it is time to build the rest of the team behind him or her following these few simple guidelines:
1. Build in diversity with a combination of talents
A common mistake business owners make when building teams is to only hire people like themselves. Successful teams should include a mix of different personalities, people who focus on the task and those who focus on relationships – but all focussing on the success of the business. Your team needs a combination of those who focus on a combination of ‘the big picture’ and granular detail. For example without built-in diversity, you may create a team full of people focused on innovation to the exclusion of all else. Ultimately the world’s best ideas still need implementing. You need to balance innovation with structure and process.
2. “Vive la difference – engender a multi-skilled environment
A complete solution needs a multi-skilled approach. If you have a team who think and operate alike it is highly likely they will have become used to reinforcing one another’s behaviour. If you add other people with skills and behavioural norms outside your team’s modus operandi, and there’s likely to be friction. If you are you building a successful sales-team it is unlikely that they will all great prospectors, canvassers, closers, relationship-builders and process completers. If you are making an appointment to fill the gap of say an account manager it is important to keep the rest of the teams motivation high by recognising the achievements of the rest of the team. A good team needs motivation where each member feels comfortable expressing his or her views and feels heard.
3. Leaders set examples: never ask your team to do anything that you cannot or will not do
It sounds pretty obvious but you need to set an example to the rest of your team about how you want things down – whether it a certain level of activity or a certain way of behaving. The only way to do this is to do it yourself – whether leading a customer presentation, staying late to complete a bid or just making yourself available to help. It all needs to be done.
Set your team up for success by clearly communicating the expectations, boundaries, resources available, company culture, roles and responsibilities. Then progress on to setting some well rewarded but achievable goals. No team can succeed if the goals are translucent. Communicate the goals, give reasonable deadlines and remain available for questions and concerns. Avoid micro management at all cost – nobody needs it least of all a competent team.
4. Clearly articulate your values
One area where you do not need diversity is in your team’s cornerstone – its culture and its values. A team without shared values, or a non aligning team culture within the company’s climate, will ultimately fail and will be at odds your goal as a business owner. Corporate culture and values include innovation, leadership, evolved learning and setting the bar high whilst pursuing excellence. Successful teams are based on feelings of cohesion, unity, and shared values. Get this wrong and it will severely impact your bottom line.