Guest post by Jennifer Foster.
Ever wonder how some of the largest companies in the world actually started? And, better yet, what separated them from the competition trying to do just the same thing? Most highly successful companies — no matter their size — know that the team they assemble is crucial to helping their business and their bottom line grow.
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success,” said Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford. “And I know better than to hire a bunch of ‘myself’.”
What did Ford mean by that? Well, he was smart enough to know that surrounding himself with new hires that were exactly like he was would not ensure success. He learned that putting together a diverse team with different personality traits and skill sets would allow his company to approach both day-to-day and complex business problems with alternative solutions. Don’t force your staff to always “think like you do” – otherwise those solutions become stale and are not always effective for your clients.
Business Insider shares that there are six personality traits that every small business owner should search for when hiring and assembling a growth-oriented team. Make sure you are on the lookout for recruits who are collaborative, curious, future focused, self-fulfilled, tech-savvy and action oriented. You don’t need to be hiring a clone of yourself, but search for a team member who will acclimate and “buy in” to the company philosophy quickly.
With any consulting or service-oriented business, team members also should be flexible and accepting of change as short-term and long-term business needs change and clients come and go.
Still confused as to where to begin? Give these four growth staples some thought:
• Start with a plan. It may feel like a puzzle at first, but taking the time to find the right puzzle piece to fit in with your current company’s team chemistry is important. First, understand that your clients are all different personalities and each is seeking something different from you. This will enable you to search for recruits that are diverse as well.
• Adaptability is a must. This is true for business leadership as well as new-hires. Small businesses are in a constant state of motion. Adding clients, and adding them sometimes quickly, is most often a staffing challenge. By knowing your staff’s strengths and variable skill sets (and those that you need to search for to complement your current team or satisfy a new client’s needs) will allow you to feel more comfortable with making shifts in client assignments among your team.
• Represent who you are – truthfully. Small businesses focused on growth are striving for a balance between acquiring new clients and keeping the ones they have satisfied and loyal. Be honest with any new-hires or new team members. Don’t overstate who you are or where your company is going. By being honest about the reality of where your business is at that moment, it will allow the potential team member to envision their role in the company and their future success as the company grows. Company culture matters.
• Never stop recruiting. While resumes may be the way you usually search for new employees — try something new. Digital media such as LinkedIn, Twitter or your corporate Facebook page will allow you to reach a broader audience. Let your current team help spread the recruiting message as well. There is nothing more appealing to a possible recruit than interacting with another employee that is happy to have joined your team.
With every hiring decision, I consider the fact that the team matters. I purposefully created a small business where there is a mentality of “all hands on deck.” To balance this, the work atmosphere allows for flexibility. Be conscious about staffing with personnel willing to get outside their normal comfort zones to pitch in to meet company goals and client needs.
NBA Basketball coach Phil Jackson is known for his “zen-like” approach to sports. He’s put together some fabulous winning teams from the Chicago Bulls to the Los Angeles Lakers. Take a tip from someone who is used to taking individuals and bringing them together to form a dynamic and unbeatable team. Jackson says, “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” Start building your winning team today.