Building the Right Team
What are Successful Maryland Businesses Doing Differently?
Do you feel like there are not enough hours in a work day to conquer the critical things your business needs to move forward? If you’re like most executives, your calendar is full and only getting more booked up. You are not alone and you most likely do not have a time management problem. Like many organizations, your problem may be not having the right team.
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Developing Your People & Positioning Them to be Effective
A company’s most valuable resource is their people. Organizations invest a huge amount of money and energy in finding resources but some don’t spend enough time investing in the resources they have and positioning them to be successful. While recruiting and hiring are both critically important, it may not be your starting point.
Rather than starting at square one, make sure you are not overlooking valuable resources already within your organization. With the right development, motivation and positioning, existing team members can flourish.
Are you holding your team members back from taking ownership?
Most managers and executives are high capacity individuals and tend to want to “do” rather than developing their people to do it themselves successfully. This cycle creates an overburden on the manager and complacency in their team members.
- Don’t take over issues. When your team members come to you with a problem, if your immediate response is to handle it for them, shift the burden and use it as an opportunity for growth. The next time someone comes to you, help them to clearly identify the problem and who would be the right resources to help them identify options and create a solution. Then encourage them to address it with those individuals.
- Bite your Tongue. In meetings and presentations, position your team members to take ownership and then avoid jumping in even if you feel you could “help” them by taking over. Instead, follow-up after the meeting and review what the individual thought they did well, what challenges they had and what they could do differently.
- Define Latitude. No employee likes to be micromanaged and usually our team members are unsure of what they can and can’t take the reins on. So define exactly what each employee does or does not have the latitude to do or make decisions on. It sounds simple, but very few managers have this conversation and reinforce it regularly.
Looking at Production and Values.
So, how do you assess if you have the right people in your organization? Most healthy organizations evaluate their people on both results and values. It’s not an either/or scenario and the detriment caused by top producers that don’t share your company’s values can be team busting. It’s easy to run through your team and identify who isn’t performing or who has a negative attitude but without clearly defining it and creating an action plan, we can often let it go on for far too long and cause damage to our team or our bottom line.
- Define your values. Write out the values that are minimum acceptable for your organization—things like honesty that are not unique to your business but that are a must to be part of the organization. Then outline your core values—those that are not universal to all good businesses, but a defining value for yours.
- Create measurable results. Ensure that each role, even administrative roles, have measurable outcomes associated with them. What does it mean to be successful? Make sure it is quantifiable and clearly cascaded to each area.
- Map out your team. To understand how your team stacks up, plot each person on a matrix with the x axis as results and the y axis as values. For those that fall under the acceptable results line and score low in terms of values, it may be time to coach them out of your organization. Where employees fall short on results but high on values, problem solve their performance issues and put an action plan in place to get them where they need to be.
Hire for Coachability.
Now that you’ve assessed your current resources, you have likely identified gaps in your team, so how do you ensure you bring the right people on board? The hiring process is one of the biggest areas of pain for many organizations. When you look at bringing someone into your organization, identifying their skills and drive may be the easiest part of the evaluation. Harder to do is identifying a good team fit. Will they meld with the team they will be joining and your organization as a whole? Lastly, but potentially most importantly, look for coachability. Someone may be high capacity but if they are not coachable, they may be a short term fit in your organization.
We can probably all think of one person in our organization who fits this description. Incredibly hard working and self-motivated but not open to feedback or working through the ideas or vision of others on a team. This puts a cap on their potential and creates challenges when collaborating with others in your organization.
- We love the interview questions found in Kevin F. Davis’ book, “Sales Manager’s Guide to Greatness” to gauge coachability. They work for any role, not just sales—check them out!
Here are some of our other favorites to check out when trying to build the right team:
- Patrick Lencioni’s “Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team” and “The Ideal Team Player”
- The Jack Welch Matrix
- How To Outperform Competition with Better Internal Communication
Advance Business Systems helps organizations focus on their core mission by providing technology that can increase efficiency and effectiveness and services that eliminate the distractions that many organizations face.
The right resources and a plan are critical to an organization achieving and exceeding their goals. Advance provides services such as IT planning and support that will take IT off your plate, keep you from worrying about data security and position your business for the future.
Having the right business technology solutions in place, such as multifunctional copiers, interactive white boards and document management software, can greatly improve the flow of information through an organization.