Business author Jim Collins said that the most important thing for a CEO or entrepreneur is to get the right people on the bus. And secondly, to get those people in the right seats. In the sports world, aside from post-season playoff games, the most important days for a team are draft days and free-agent trading days. Coaching staffs, owners, scouts and recruiters spend huge sums of time and money in hopes of getting the right people in the right positions. And teams that get it right become dynasties. Think of the Green Bay Packers under Vince Lombardi, the Dallas Cowboys under Tom Landry, the Chicago Bulls under Phil Jackson, the New York Yankees under Casey Stengel or Billy Martin, the Boston Celtics under Red Auerbach, the New England Patriots under Bill Belichick, and many more. My point is this: Great dynasties are made. For each of the teams I listed here, there is a great coach in combination with some phenomenal players. Business is no different. If you are going to build a business, go for the dynasty model.
1. Surround yourself with people smarter than you are in their fields. You can buy/borrow brains. Do it! This demands a leader who is confident in his/her own skin. Insecure leaders hire staff that are less than they are so they can always feel strong around them. Bad mojo! If you're that insecure, get a job working for a strong boss and collect your paycheck.
Many of the great coaches were not standout players. They were mostly average to good players with an above average understanding of the game and human nature. Same for good bosses.
2. Hire to complement your strengths and to compensate for your weaknesses. Know what you do and do not bring to the table and hire to complete the full picture.
3. Hire for character above talent; attitude above aptitude. A talented person who can't show up to work and who is lazy - well, that person is worthless to the organization. Talent without character is meaningless. Character without talent is potential; character with talent is priceless.
Now, many a team has some difficult personalities - the prima donna, the anti-social, the loner, the overly-sensitive, the brooding .... none of these particularly bother me. Talented people are often lacking in some of the social graces. The other team members may not get along well with him/her, but you're not hiring a social club; you're hiring a team that can win the championship, that can take your business to the next level of production and success.
4. Productive personnel can often make big messes. They irritate other team members or especially those not on the team, they are not always as patient and tolerant as you would want them to be. Some companies would rather emphasize "being nice" over being productive. Who wouldn't prefer nice fellow-employees? But I demand production over everything. I can teach my team how to get along and "play nice" but I can't teach a non-performer how to produce. Or how to have drive and ambition. That comes from within them. And that is why I hired them. I can use cologne to make the "stink" go away, but I can't spray success on people.
The boss or the coach - they are the ones who run interference for their top-producers. Find your talented players and give them the resources and support to run. The leaders' job is to fix the fences they tear down and to repair the walls they crash through. Successful production in my business is worth the time I must invest to mend broken feelings. There is a Jewish proverb that says, "Where no oxen are the crib is clean, but much increase is due to the ox," meaning, your producers may make a stinking' mess at times, but you have to choose: clean business with no production or much increase?
5. I insist on these SEVEN QUALITIES in my team members:
A. Their best work. I pay well and reward well, but I expect their best and don't want this job to be an avocation for them.
B. An approachable spirit. Yes, their eyes and ears must be open, but also their spirit. It means not shutting out the words and ideas of other members of the team and being open to new ideas and methods. Quite simply, it means they don't build walls around themselves.
C. Loyalty to our team and our vision. I don't tolerate critics who bad-mouth the team or the vision.
D. Respect for all the members of the team. Each is an expert in his/her field. If they have a problem with another member, I expect them to talk with that member or to me, but still to respect each member as they themselves deserve to be respected.
E. Transparency in our meetings. Participate in decisions, contribute thoughts and ideas and constructive criticism. I don't want "group think" or "yes" people. I want strong leaders who speak their wisdom, not their anger, and are not afraid to be constructively analyzed by the team.
F. A teachable spirit. We all make mistakes. Learn and grow and be willing to be corrected.
G. Self-Starter. Carry your own battery. know how to motivate yourself and not allow others to demotivate you. Be where you are supposed to be when you are expected to be there, ready and prepared to work.Andrew Cordle