5 Effective Ways to Build a Winning Team
Having the right team is the x-factor to success. Follow these five methods when building your team.
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Whether in sports, business or life, most of us have experienced winning and losing teams. We know that the right team can make all the difference in the world. Over the years, I've put together many high-performing teams in the advertising industry and now as an entrepreneur. Here are five tips on what makes your team a winning one.
Having shared values seems like a fundamental concept, but you'd be surprised how often the core team is not on the same page. They might think they are all rowing in the same direction, but inevitably, it comes down to not connecting on a fundamental level around your core values. Luckily, this is something that can be prevented and fixed. The key is to do it early in your business formation.
Take the time to discuss and codify which values are fundamental to your business, and don't deviate from them. They should not change even if your business does. Hiring people aligned around these values is insurance against disconnections which can drain time and money.
Of course, if you have an established business and have these fundamental problems, then taking a step back to clarify will only help. But it's much more challenging to do it later, as inevitably, you'll have people who feel they didn't necessarily sign up for the vision (once they know it). So be prepared for some disruption in your staff as you sort through it. If you remember that it's about building for the future, you will be better.
Related: 6 Steps to Build a Strong Team
Trust and respect
Building your team with people you trust and respect is much easier. Sometimes that comes from having a previous relationship or from a level of transparency and authenticity that allows people to do their best work. Trust and respect are invaluable when you hit a hurdle, which will happen to every business these days.
When you're dealing with significant business challenges, the last thing you need is to worry that someone on the team has a different plan or is not pulling their weight. All of your energy should be spent on solving business problems. There are pros and cons to hiring friends, but in my experience, as long as you know their skill set and superpowers, I come down on the side that it's better.
So much of your time is spent on work; why not do it with people you want to spend time with? Just remember that everyone has different work ethics, different work styles and different motivations. So be prepared if they decide that life takes them in another direction, don't take it personally and leave things on good terms. Having as many people rooting you on as possible is a good goal.
Related: The 5 Crucial Phases of Building a Team
Nothing kills a team (and your business) faster than negativity. Some people are naturally optimistic, while others are negative. Surround yourself with people who are "glass half full" and eliminate all of the toxic people from your team. I know this is sometimes easier said than done, so if you can't stop an opposing force, at least contain it, so they don't taint the rest of their team with their doom and gloom.
Give hostile team members a specific task where they are not leading everyone else. The team must honestly believe that what they are working on is attainable and will succeed. Once it feels like a lost cause, it usually is.
Find complementary skills
I have met many founders who started their business with a co-founder who was essentially a clone of themselves. While this can work occasionally, I have found it's usually much more effective to find people who have different, complementary skill sets from you. This requires a bit of soul searching to truly understand what capabilities you need and where you are lacking.
If you can identify the skills critical to your business's success, it's much easier to find people who have them. It's no fun to have people stepping on each other's toes trying to do the same things while no one is managing other vital responsibilities. Sometimes you need to help people understand what they are good at. I've found that what people say they are good at and what they are good at are not always aligned. Once you put people in the right job, it frees them up to perform at their best.
Related: Lessons about Building a Team from Zuckerberg and Facebook
Communication equals transparency
No one likes working in the dark. Even if you think you are communicating a vision or plan, it often takes multiple times of reiterating fundamentals for them to sink in. The risk of not communicating overtly and clearly is that people will think you are not being transparent. So take some steps to ensure the team is well informed. Hold regular team meetings. Send out weekly recaps. Use Slack to share critical milestones. Whatever works for your team is excellent. The point is to be disciplined about sticking to it.