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The Power of a Team

The Bob Pritchard Column 

A startup usually has a founder/s and a few others doing everything.

As the business grows, there is a whole heap of stuff that needs to be taken care of…..cash flow, rent, people, wages, administration, marketing, sales, systems, development, (and the list goes on) and all too often, the entrepreneur is doing things that he or she is not great at. The proverbial 80/20 rule com s into play – where only 20pc  of your time is spent on what you are good or passionate about.

The success of a business is in building a great team of people around you who can take care of the things that need to be done to grow a scalable business..

Culture , Vision , Values, Team 

The key to do this is to have a strong corporate culture with a strong vision that people will “buy into” , a set of values that are non negotiable.

Your company is a reflection of you – and is built up by the skills, moral character and personality of your team under your leadership.  

If it is a finely oiled machine working to a strong compass, your company is well on the way to success. 

Examples of Successes and failures 

Jeff Bezos didn’t build Amazon alone,  Zuckerberg didn’t build Facebook alone, Musk didn’t build a space rocket or the best car ever built and Steve Jobs didn’t really invent anything. 

But they all had the vision, the skills and the leadership qualities to build fantastic teams who built great products and companies.
 
Mike Lazaridis  didn’t screw up Blackberry alone,  Jeffrey Skilling didn’t send Enron down the tubes alone,  they had poor, unmotivated teams with no strong guidance to help them.

Building a team 

Team building is a time-consuming process and the selection of people with the right talents and the right personalities takes a lot of effort. 

Talented people are almost a dime a dozen, but melding them into a cohesive team is another thing completely.  

It is so important to ensure that all of the team buy into the vision, have similar values and fit the companies culture.

The wrong person is like a cancer, spreading an infection through the company while the right fit will build the company, encourage others and act like a catalist.  

It takes a long time to build a strong corporate culture and  a few bad actions and people to destroy it.
 
Everyone says that they want and need to attract the right talent.  

But before you look for them, 
  • Do you know precisely what you are looking for?  Not only the skill sets, but the character traits that fit with your corporate culture. 
  • Do you even know what your corporate culture is?    
  • How do you identify potential employees ?  
  • Do you just grab the first person who fits your skills requirements?  
  • Do you have your current team take part in the selection process and determine whether they like your choice? 

So what is the selection process?

Firstly, you need to identify a range of people who have the skills to perform the role you require. Ensure they are all self motivated, eager to learn and are positive team players.
 
Examine the personality and character traits of the people in your team that you could not do without.  Identify the people in your potential group that best fit your corporate culture and then have a think tank session with the potentials and your current team and watch the interaction.  It is extremely revealing.
 
Select the person that fits your company and team culture. 

Now you understand the talents of the person joining the team, do you need to slightly adjust roles so that you can achieve maximum results.
 
You need to make these decisions very carefully, take your time, don’t rush it. Involve your team, this will help ensure that the skills and personalities will mesh. 

Focussing on skills alone rather than the cultural fit invariably lands up in a whole lot of pain.
 
 
The best leader  is the one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what he or she wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.
Posted on July 3, 2018

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