6 Steps to Build Your Team From Scratch
"Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results." -Andrew Carnegie
Are you opening a small business of your own? Or had been chosen to build and lead a team in your company? Either ways, you have a unique and rare opportunity to select and build a team.
Generally, in most jobs, we get charge of an already existing team. There you need to fit in and it takes a lot of work and persuasion to get any change that you deem required improving. The maximum you get out of it is maybe fine tune the team a bit.
The real excitement lies in building your own team from start. There are certain advantages and disadvantages to this scenario which will talk about while helping you build your team. Here are the six major steps involved in team building.
1. Goal Setting
“Teamwork makes the dream work, but a vision becomes a nightmare when the leader has a big dream and a bad team.” - John C. Maxwell
In case you are an entrepreneur, you already have a rough idea of what you expect out of your team. Smooth the edges of this vision and come with concrete goals for your team.
In case if you are a corporate employee, you would be handed a set of goals to achieve by the year end by your higher management. Take time to understand each goal and figure out the micro-goals (specific) to achieve them.
This is a critical step as a clear target help, in the long run, to set up the plans for achieving the same.
While writing down your goals, ensure that you write SMART goals and not vague ones.
S: significant, specific, stretching
M: motivational, meaningful, measurable
A: attainable, acceptable, agreed upon, achievable, action-oriented
R: relevant, rewarding, realistic, reasonable, results-oriented
T: trackable, tangible, time-based, timely, time-bound
A SMART goal from the very onset of a team paves the way toward future success.
2. Identify Which Skill Sets Suit Best For Your Goals
“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 think about it; it’s true. If you hire somebody without [integrity], you really want them to be dumb and lazy.” - Warren Buffet
One of the most common practices in a working environment is as soon as you get to know that you are getting a new team, you start deciding the names of potential team members. They can be your friend, your friend’s colleague, your colleague’s recommendation and so on. These sorts of situations are mostly observed in corporate sectors.
Stop and think. Please do yourself a favour by NOT doing a favour to someone else. As a team leader you are responsible for the success or failure of your team. So, turn off the external volume and focus on what sort of people you need with what sort of skill sets (hard and soft).
A certain person can be very experienced and works wonder but maybe her/ his expertise is not what is required for achieving your objective. So have a tunnel vision as to what skills you are looking for.
Discussing potential candidates may affect your final decision consciously or subconsciously. So decide on candidates once you feel that they are the best suited for the job at hand.
3. Profile Correct Behaviours
“Your employees' ability to take satisfying and productive steps towards career goals is directly proportionate to their self-awareness.” - Julie Winkle Giulioni
A person can be perfect for your team based on her/ his experience and her/ his skill sets. But does she/ he have what it takes to e a team player? Does she/ he capable of handling pressure? Do she/ he meet the assigned deadlines? How are her/ his communication skills? These are the answers you need to know before deciding on a candidate. So have a list of traits that you are looking for ready. Screening candidates based on behaviours is crucial as this directly affects your team dynamic.
4. Set Ground Rules
“A bad attitude from a chronic complaining employee is like a cancer; it will only spread and infect others. This can take your business down in a nanosecond. You must cut out the cancer and invite them to seek employment elsewhere. Quickly.” Beth Ramsay
How well a team works together is dictated by the norms you set at this stage of your team building. Keep all details ready as to how the team will meet, communicate, treat each other, plan, etc. basically you need to have a set of office practices that your team needs to follow.
Also, set your expectations from your team. While screening for candidates, these ground rules and expectations gives an agreement framework to select the best-suited one.
Added advantage of this step is that once these norms and expectations are set, you can revisit them to sort out internal issues or disagreements.
5. Select Your Candidate
"If you pick the right people and give them the opportunity to spread their wings and put compensation as a carrier behind it, you almost don't have to manage them." - Jack Welch
Start your search for potential candidates. Your search would be focused and logical as you will be basing your screening process on your set goals, required skill and behaviours, rules and expectations.
You can revisit the names that were thrown around when you stepped out to build your team. But do consider them impartially. More often than not it is observed that someone obvious may not be the perfect fit while someone extremely unobvious may.
6. Team Plan
“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”- Paul J. Meyer
At this stage, your homework is already done. You already know what the team needs to achieve, how they should work together, how they should behave and all such nitty gritty becomes the basis of your team plan at the very onset of your team.
Communicate these details to your team explaining each step and how you have come to your final decisions. This gives your team a better understanding of where you come from. While explaining the team plan, welcome inputs from the team members and consider these inputs well. Incorporate as much as possible to improve the plan. This will give your subordinates a sense of belonging and confidence and they will work well as a team.
These six steps are a logical way to build up a functional team. Think about it, if you would have put together people without going through these steps you probably would have ended up with a team which is good at certain aspects but horrible in others. Very few people get the opportunity to build a team from scratch, do not waste this chance and go ahead and build your dream team.
"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success." - Henry Ford