Responsibility #2 – Build The Team
‘Build the Team’ is deceptively simple. It actually serves as the label for all of the people leadership work that has to happen to achieve your company’s objectives. We often refer to this work as Hire, Lead, and Fire to the Vision.
1. Hire To The Vision
It’s so much easier to attract and hire the right people when you’ve done the work of setting the Vision. In fact, Purpose-driven, Values-based companies with an exciting Mission to accomplish begin to develop magnetic properties. We lovingly refer to this magnetic effect as the ‘Talent Tractor Beam’ as it pulls people towards your business.
The only challenge with the Talent Tractor Beam is that despite your best efforts to dissuade them, there are still plenty of the wrong people trying to join your amazing team. You have to get really good at identifying people that aren’t a good fit in your company as early as possible in your selection process.
Every time you hire someone you either strengthen or weaken your company. You’ll need to evaluate candidates based on how well they can do the work AND how closely they share and will live the Values. As you know all too well, it is so costly to make a bad hire. Don’t compromise on the Values and make sure they are capable of contributing meaningfully to the Current Mission.
2. Lead To The Vision
Once you hire someone and they are ramped up and productive, that’s all you have to do. Right? Wrong! Leading people is a never-ending responsibility if you are a business owner with an active role in the company.
Leading to the Vision includes all of your communication or interactions with team members until the end of time or until one of you leaves (whichever comes first!). Things like regular one-on-one conversations, team meetings and all-hands gatherings are examples of times when you must lead to the Vision. I like to call these ‘leadership moments’ and you must make the most of every minute of these opportunities to renew people’s clarity, commitment and excitement about the company’s Purpose, Values and Mission.
Clarity and alignment lead to confidence, decisive action and winning. You must constantly champion the Vision in everything you do as a leader.
3. Fire To The Vision
Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, from time to time you will hire someone who shouldn’t have been hired. I’ve also seen really great team members get left behind by rapid company growth. The moment you know you’ve got someone on the team who shouldn’t be there anymore, you need to take action.
I’m not advocating cruelty or heartlessness here. You can do what’s necessary with care and complete respect for the individual. I most certainly am saying that you must protect the Vision at all costs. Your Purpose, your customers, the other team members you employ, partners, vendors, even your own family members are counting on you to do what’s best for the company even if it is difficult. Ultimately, if an employee is struggling in some way or isn’t a fit with the Values, it is actually a disservice to that person to keep them in a role where they can’t absolutely thrive.
Building the Team
Yes, there are things you can and should do as a leader to strengthen a good team. This kind of leadership work is often referred to as team building. Whatever you call it, the responsibility to ensure the right people are all actively pulling together to accomplish your company’s Mission (Hire, Lead and Fire to the Vision) lies squarely on your shoulders.
How well are you Hiring, Leading and Firing to the Vision? What would your best team members say? How much valuable time and energy is a poor performer taking away from the people and activities you love?
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