Building the Right Team

January 3, 2011


In a previous blog I spoke about how important is in in getting the right people in the right seats of the bus. This of course is an analogy of putting the traditional organization structure aside and placing people in jobs or requirements that align fulfilling immediate needs. The bigger mission is how to build a great team. A team that will deliver high performance results.

Let’s Start With The Leader

In most cases a leader will be put into an organizational situation where there are people in place, some new in jobs, some that might have been in place for a long time, and possibly others on their way out. The leaders role is to refine and align the team to exceed the expectations of the business.

Without regard to the nature of the business, the industry that it competes in, and the level of the function within the company, the following guidelines will help drive a higher level excellence in the team.

1 – Complimentary and Conflicting Skills - This does not mean HR vs. Marketing vs. IT. This means as an example analytical vs contextual and strategic vs. tactical. It also includes assuring you have an understanding of who are your risk takers and pragmatics, your Type A personalities, visionaries, etc. Basically you want to cover the key functional requirements while assuring you have the dynamic skills that compliment one another. Imagine sitting in a meeting and trying to decide whether getting into a new business segment is the right thing to do. These complimentary skills while confrontational at times will most certainly assure you have looked at the pros and the cons – how big and exciting the opportunity is balanced against the requirements to do the market research  and best understand the competition.

2 – Diverse Backgrounds - I have always found it interesting to see the differences in people with like skills based on the diversity in their backgrounds. Social experiences combined with education and the right track record of success will bring an added dimension to the job and the team. What’s critical is to assure the dynamic is constructive and not destructive.Social-economic diversity can if aligned right and promoted for the benefits will bring an added dimension to the team. Think of this one this way. You are looking at hiring someone

3 – Balance Points - Finding people that know how to balance learning and designing to delivering and producing is critical. We typically don’t hire to this skill, develop it formally, or know how to effectively assess it but we all know and have worked with people that have one attribute or the other and it’s been a problem. Having someone who is referred to as “the idea person” who can’t take a concept to execution is a problem which is equally as bad as someone who tactically can do anything but can’t step far enough away from what they are doing to challenge or change it.

4 – Experience – This is a tough one. We tend to focus more on experience that is work related. How long as Sue been a manager, how long has Bill been in sales, etc. but looking at experience both inside the “Career” and outside might surprise you. Where we do see this identified and leveraged is military experience yet there are so many other considerations that impact and affect how people think, solve problems, work in a team structure and innovate. These are the things people do outside of work, have done while at school, are hobbies of interest, or areas that they are mavens. Search them out, understand them, and capitalize on them when building and engaging your team.

As you build and refine your team consider these individual characteristics. Learn to be a little more humble in surrounding yourself with people that will not only compliment each other but challenge you and the rest of the team. Surround yourself with people that are smarter than you that with a little experience might be able to do your job. Don’t worry you’ll be safe and successful. Jobs evolve, requirements change and expectations get tougher and tougher. The dynamics of the teams you build will help assure you keep up and have an advantage in results and it’s those results that will assure success.

About Frank Picarello

Frank is a well-respected leader in providing technology services to small and medium-sized businesses. He is currently COO for TeamLogic IT, Chairperson for CompTIA's Small Business Owner's Group, and a member of CompTIA's Unified Communication Committee.

View all posts by Frank Picarello

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