In sports, you measure success by the number of titles you have, not the number of players on your team selected to the All-Star game or the Pro Bowl. In the entertainment industry, movies are successful when they have strong days at the box office, not by individual actors or actresses. In either case it is all about how well the team does together, is there good chemistry, can they commit to the same goals and do what it takes to reach those goals. It is not about any one person.
The business world is no different. A person may have a great idea for a project that could change the world, but if they know nothing about selling that product, or how to market it to the right people, it may never see success outside their garage. Phil Knight knew how to sell and market Nike, but the original product of running shoes was not his, that was his former track coach at Oregon, Bill Bowerman. Bill Gates is known as the father of Microsoft, but we may have never heard of Microsoft if Gates had not asked for help from his childhood friend, Paul Allen.
One-man teams are the anomaly, not the norm. The business world is not the Matrix, and there is no “chosen one” to save your company. It is a matter of compiling a strong team of subject matter experts to help grow your company in each area. In the technology world you need the person with the idea. Then you need a team of programmers and developers to make that idea a reality. And once you have found investors that believe in your idea, you need a revenue-generating team to help you grow and make your company profitable.
Now some things to consider when putting together your team:
Be open and thorough
When seeing resumes for the first time, be open to meeting or speaking with people of all different backgrounds. You may have an idea of what you think you want, but as you meet with more people and learn about many different types of work experience, you may realize that other qualities are more important than you originally thought. When hiring somebody, you should never judge a book by it’s cover “letter”.
Involve current members of the team
For startups, culture fit is a a big part of sales success. Somebody could have everything you want in work experience, but if they can’t mesh with a single person on the team it is not going to work out. Implementing a shadowing portion to your interview process may help this. It allows the candidate to see the day-to-day operations while spending time with current team members. A “beer test” is another popular option; happy hour with the current team and the potential candidate gives everybody a chance to interact on a social level to see how strong the chemistry is.
Don’t be afraid to use your network
As you casually talk to friends and associates, you will be surprised to find that a friend of a friend has the perfect person for what you are looking for. It will happen at the most unexpected times: one minute you are talking about the NBA finals and the next minute your friend has a college roommate who works with a guy that is trying to get in with a company just like yours. People love helping their friends and acquaintances, it makes them feel like they did a good deed for both parties. However, they can’t help you if you never ask for it. Never underestimate the power of your social network.
Building a team should be looked at as a fun and exciting time for your company! It not only shows that your company is ready to take the next step in becoming a very successful organization, but it also offers the opportunity to meet some great new people even if they don’t end up joining the team. As Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” Keep this in mind as the growth of your company continues, and always remember that the glass is half full.