In the springtime, U.S. professional sports are in full swing as hockey and basketball head into the postseason, and baseball gets under way.
At the end of their respective seasons, one team in each league will be crowned champion. And when that happens, it's almost certain that the top team will be loaded with talent, but more importantly, the winning roster also is almost certain to be filled with exceptional individuals who love working together as part of one team.
One thing I've learned in business is that you need a cohesive team to be successful. The whole is much stronger than any individual part. You may be able to start your life as an entrepreneur with zero help, but you'll need to build a focused team to lift your vision and really take your business to the championship.
1. Develop strong relationships
One of the most important ways to guarantee that your team works hard for you is to ensure that those people are happy in their daily work lives.
At Ben & Jerry’s, for example, there's a special committee called the Joy Gang whose sole purpose is to find ways to make working there as enjoyable as possible. Developing those strong relationships with your team will make them love working for you, and it's impossible to overstate just how important loyalty and devotion are to a strong workplace team.
2. Your company is your family
The people you work with are, in many ways, your family, and it's important to treat them as such. You don't have to buy everyone a gas grill as you are trying to get your company off the ground, but considering that you may spend more time with them than your actual family, it's essential to treat them all with respect and gratitude.
3. Empower the best; lose the rest
It can't be stressed enough just how important it is to hire the right people.
Enthusiasm and a positive attitude will do more for your company than any other attribute in an employee, so while smarts and work ethic are important, passionate people -- people who “get” your vision -- are equally important. Walt Disney used to hire recent art college graduates he connected with personally and worried about training them more specifically later on. By the same token, entrepreneurs should look to hire people with advanced skills who also are capable of helping you execute your vision.
4. Take a backseat
It's surprising how many people who want to start a business are actually uncomfortable with the idea of hiring others and delegating their work.
The reality in business is that it takes more than one person to grow a company to higher levels. Early in my career, I landed Pepsi Cola as a client for my burgeoning business, but as the relationship grew and I found myself with more responsibilities, I realized the only way to keep Pepsi Cola happy was to put more people on the account. When I did, it made a huge impact in growing the company.
5. It starts with you
Remember that a positive work environment starts with you.
It does not matter how many great people you hire. If you don't regularly demonstrate that you can be trusted, that you can bring optimism and positivity to the work environment, your business family won't be happy. When good people aren't happy, they move on -- and no business can afford to lose good people.
Teambuilding can prove challenging, but assembling the right players can make all the difference in advancing your business and seeing real success as an entrepreneur. As hard as it may be to admit, sometimes other people are the key to our own success.