As we begin to see more opportunities for growth, the focus of many businesses is changing. During the recession, businesses survived by being scrappy when looking for clients, and became smaller to adjust to less work. For the most part, businesses kept team members who were assets for the future and could produce now. So many of the first team members let go were in human resources, accounting, and administration, and those who stayed were the principals and the revenue producers (sales/production).
What was gone was the glue. The glue not only holds things together, it reinforces and gets more out of the individual parts. The glue often is what makes something stay together for the long term. Without it you just have the parts, not the whole.
Now the phone is ringing again, and businesses are stressed because they lack the team members they need to grow. As you take some inventory of your specific team dynamic, the following points can determine how well you are positioned.
The Players: You need A-players. The days of having good guys (not good enough) are over. A-players do high quality work; they’re committed to constant improvement and have a strong work ethic. A-players also think synergistically and are aligned with your beliefs, culture, and vision.
The Glue: As I noted, the glue are roles and individuals that hold parts together and make the business gel. Often the glue might be individuals or roles focused on team culture, company image, branding, or just removing obstacles between clients and A-players. For the great companies, these people wake up every day not focusing on the project but thinking about the team and the overall business health. They are sensitive to communication vehicles and making the business a place that others love to come to.
The Bench: Great sports teams have great benches. The bench brings fresh ideas and energy to the business. The bench is an investment and shows a commitment to the future. Great companies have developed internship programs and cross-train with a commitment to the bench. The best time to think about a bench is when you don’t need it.
Training: Training in an investment, not an expense. During the recession most businesses dramatically cut training. The great ones did not. In many cases when times were tough, they added more training to sharpen skills even more. If you want a great team you must create a training culture and programs. The training should not only be focused on what employees do every day but also on whom you want them to be as ambassadors and assets for the business.
Synergy: Synergistic teams share ideas and insights across their roles and disciplines. These teams understand others’ roles with respect and how they all make it happen together. Synergy forces everyone to be deputies for generating leads and ideas for improvement on a regular basis. The commitment to operating in this mindset starts at the top. This is where the good team becomes a great one.
If you want to grow, make developing a world-class team a priority. While it is important to make sure your housing products are the highest quality, a world-class team will assure that your business will stay that way in the future. CB
Mark Richardson, CR, is an author, columnist, and business growth strategist. He authored the best-selling book, “How Fit is Your Business,” as well as his latest book, “Fit to Grow.” He can be reached at email@example.com or 301.275.0208.