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Smart Strategies for Building Your Dream Team

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Look into the heart of every successful company, the businesses that have made a real impact on the world, and you’ll notice they all share a common trait.

The people. But not just any people, as Jim Collins famously said…

 “People are not your most important asset. The right people are.”

So how does an organization go about attracting the right candidates, top performers who are effectively managed within teams that go on to do incredible things?

Well, it all starts with the interview.

#1 Get involved in every aspect of the process

It’s important you are deeply involved in the interview process, helping to extract the information your team needs to make the right calls.

Lou Adler touches on this in his best-seller “Hire With Your Head,” recommending hiring decisions are made using a systematic approach, focused not only on past qualifications, but identifying all of the traits a candidate needs to be successful in a particular job. Then hire for these.

#2 Hire candidates who share the same values 

As you’re researching candidates, take the time to dig into what really drives them, their motivations, their focus and priorities, to ensure they are aligned with the company. Tech giants like Google and Facebook are already using behavioral traits in their hiring, are you?

Warren Buffet drives this home in his comment, “Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.” You need candidates who share your values.

#3 Seek those with an entrepreneurial streak

Key to staying a step ahead is finding people who are innovative, yet have the gumption to lead an organization in a new and exciting direction, inspiring your people with an entrepreneurial streak while driving real change across all levels of a company.

I like to call these types of candidates your stars. With the ability to perform successfully across a variety of roles, its their spark that pulls your team together to focus (and actually achieve) your core mission with real success.

#4 Address uncomfortable problems head-on

Of course, there will be problems that arise and it’s important you address these immediately, instead of stepping back and avoiding the awkward conversations.

You do your staff an injustice by simply waiting for a triggering event to pounce, it draws out the misery and heightens the emotion when you finally do have a chat. True open communication means starting the tough conversations yourself, so you can then implement the plans you need to get back on track.

#5 Performance improvement plans are a last resort

Though performance improvement plans (PIP) have a time and a place, there is much more to be gained by taking an informal approach which is much less threatening to an employee.

Start with coaching and feedback sessions to demonstrate you’re invested in both their wellbeing and success, and if you do need to let someone go, do it yourself. Your team will respect and appreciate you’ve taken responsibility, and it leaves a relationship on the best possible terms, just in case you happen to work together again in the future.

#6 Remember your organization is dynamic 

Finally, and this is important. The global business environment is more dynamic than ever, and while finding top performers is essential you also need to consider the importance of letting people go.

Jack Welch became notorious for firing the bottom 10 percent in G.E., and I challenge you to consider your own workplace. Are you firing on all cylinders, or are there people with you today that no longer fit within the best interests of your organization?

Ultimately, the responsibility of building a top performing team lies with you. It’s your job to identify and attract the right candidates, push and challenge them to success, and make the tough calls as your organization continues to grow.

That’s how you’ll build your dream team.

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