Pick good people you like – with a Passion for your Product – who can learn as they go.
Team Building Topics: Experience, Passionate People, Swiss-Army Knives, Problem Solvers, Learn from Failure, Like-able.
Lessons from Experience. Earlier this year, I began Team Building to be the focus of my newest business venture. While I had a good idea of who I was looking for from the start, it was a valuable learning experience. With the process still fresh in my memory, I decided it would be a good idea to write down some of what I learned and share it with other entrepreneurs who are looking to build their own startup team:
1. Value Experience. a CEO & co-founder said, “Startup culture today almost admires inexperience. They don’t know what they cant do”. He was right. Many Startup Team members (possibly most) learn the skills they need “on the go.” It pays to have people on your team who have “Been there & done that.” The ability to notice subtle issues in operating procedures, then find and address problems from warning signs (instead of major disasters) isn’t something that’s taught. Rather, it comes from years of experience in your specific niche. Even if you have an entire team of trusted, smart, & driven – but inexperienced individuals whom you feel will get the job done – you will definitely benefit from hiring someone with experience in your industry.
2. Find “passionate” People. The next thing you should look for when Team Building is arguably the most important – Passion. While money in the bank is the main driving force behind the creation of any business, if it’s the only thing that inspires your business, you’re almost destined for failure. People don’t buy products; they buy solutions. In much the same way, your team doesn’t buy into your company: they buy into what it provides. If the only thing your business is providing to a new team member is a paycheck, you can expect them to jump ship at the first exciting opportunity, your disaster or a larger paycheck. It’s integral that a startup’s initial team be comprised of people who are “passionate” about the idea or solution being offered. If people believe in your vision and want to be a part of it, that “passion” will help them overcome the stressful situations & problems that are guaranteed to rise during a businesses struggling Startup years.
3. Look for the “Swiss Army knives.” Let’s start with the basics. Obviously, when you hire anyone, you’re looking for them to fill a role, or more specifically, to bring a skill-set to the team that’s currently missing. But the trick is finding people who can handle more than one role. Start with the Technical Specialists – those members of the team who need to be absolute experts in their given role. Once you’ve identified those people, add more Generalists. Find a lead Sales-person who also has Marketing experience, and a Web Developer who can also handle graphic design. Hiring a complete team of people on a startup budget is infeasible, but bringing on generalists at the beginning will ensure that every aspect of your business is properly attended to. Now, those individuals will know exactly what to look for in the future when hiring someone to fill one of their roles.
4. Good at solving Problems. Now that we’re talking about the inevitable challenges that Team Building faces, remember to plan for the worst possible outcome and make sure your team is prepared. Let’s face it, the way a person acts and the decisions they make while things are going well can often be worlds apart from the actions and decisions that same person makes while stressed. Do your best to find out how a person will “weather the storm.” This is where it pays off to reach out to people who have worked with your potential candidate before. Spend some time with their previous employers (or teachers, if they’re a student) and ask them, “How well does this person perform under pressure?”
5. Learn from Failure. I consider a person someone who has tried — and failed — in their given role. This may sound counter-productive, and you’re probably thinking, “Why would I want a proven failure?” But the truth is, a person who has tried, failed, picked themselves up & tried again has a proven track record of prevailing. They may have made mistakes (like we all do), but it shows they are willing and able to keep on going when times get tough. On the other hand, an individual whose entire career has seen nothing but success may crumble in the wake of failure, and not possess enough due diligence to really see things through.
6. Hire people you “like”; not people “like you”. That may seem like counter-intuitive, but it’s an extremely important component of Team Building is a well-rounded team – and often -one that many entrepreneurs neglect. While it’s true that your team needs to be like-minded and both socially & professionally compatible to succeed, that doesn’t mean they all need to be the same. In today’s increasingly diverse society, it’s of the utmost importance that your company possesses a realistic world view. Building a team that comes from different upbringings, social standings, religions & cultures will ensure that the business doesn’t get tunnel vision and can still appeal to a broader target audience of many cultures.
7. Conclusion: There’s a multitude of ideas to consider when building your team, and far more information than can be discussed in a single article. But if you keep these basic suggestions above in mind, you should be able to create the world-class team you had always dreamed of, and on a budget you can afford in your Startup’s early days.
Comments: Do you have any other advice on Hiring your Startup Team?
from INC Zine 06 July 16 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz