A wise manager once told me that “we would be successful as much as our team is different.” As a business owner or executive you might be tempted to think that you can do it all alone. Nothing can be further from the truth.
The executive certainly has the vision and direction, but it’s the people around him/her that makes the difference between building a good organization, a successful one, or a truly outstanding and outperforming company that stands the test of time.
The manner in which the business owner builds the team is key and the skills set, talents and contributions his team members bring to the table makes the ultimate difference.
Diversity is the First Key
Building a team that’s homogeneous – e.g. all male, all Anglo-Saxon, all Ivy League, all older – while it reflects a company profile of the past, may not be the most effective in today’s global economy that is technology driven and constantly changing. Look for diversity in thought, in backgrounds, in ages, in attitudes and yes even in race. The ultimate winner will be your customers or clients which will benefit from the diversity of ideas that come to bear for their business.
Fear Not the Contrarian
The worst thing an executive can do is surround themselves with what used to be called “Yes men” – these individuals never disagree with the executive, they never offer differing opinions and if the executive changes his mind, they offer no resistance. I pride myself in playing the counselor role for our chief executive. I let him see the many sides of an issue or project. He has the final decision, yet it’s my responsibility to make him aware of potential outcomes. We do not always agree – and that is a good thing for our clients. Don’t be afraid to hire a contrarian. In the end your business will benefit from the exchange of ideas.
How About a Dose of Estrogen?
Your business needs the female perspective! Period. It’s a fact that in the US, women are now the majority and make up about 52% of the population - that trend is only going to increase. What that means is, like it or not, commerce, products, enterprise and the economy is going to be more female-oriented. The “good ole-boy” model of doing business is becoming obsolete. Women bring a particular point-of-view that is insightful, intuitive and will bring you new business and customers. I always lobby to bring in a female team member, especially when the organization is male-heavy. Your business benefits from having the female touch on your team.
Once you have your team members in place, stand back and let them be who they are. Some executives expect their team members to “be like me” or worse “be exactly like me.” That’s not why you hired them. Let your team’s talents come to out to play. Once you see what each can give - that is when you organize and set a strategic role for each member to play. When it happens naturally, you will see that each team member will be fulfilled and give you their all. Get to know each one and let them know each other. If it is a power team, you will see that their primary and only objective becomes the success of your company or organization.
Image: Michael Cardus, "Team Building Rochester, NY - SImon School MBA (25)", via Flickr Creative Commons Attribution
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