It’s an old adage, but it has stood the test of time for good reason: great organisations are made by great people.
In the context of business, there’s a fine art to building up an effective team, and I often liken it to the analogy of a sports team. In the high-stakes world of professional sport, athletes are given the opportunity to prove themselves in the context of their team, and if they aren’t the right fit for the team, or they’re under-performing- well, they’re kicked off the bus.
There are certainly differences when we’re talking about the business context, but more similarities raise their head than differences: you need to realise that the stakes are high, and it takes time to get a high-level team together. One of the most common mistakes I’ve seen made by leaders of organisations is a lack of thought and preparation on the organisation’s part when it comes to onboarding and training staff; you can’t expect new staff members to excel if you haven’t put the building blocks down for them first.
Now, before we get into how to best assemble your team, we need to first touch on what I’ve just talked about, and address a few things you need to do on your end. The first, and arguably the most important thing is for your organisation to have both established and refined its mission statement, so when you interview and onboard new staff members, they’ve got a clear idea of what your organisation does, and more important than that, your organisation’s why.
This is a concept introduced to the business world by Simon Sinek who argues that customers don’t simply buy into your organisation’s end deliverable, they buy into your organisation largely down to the reasons why your organisation exists: be it the speed in which you deliver the final product or service, the quality of that deliverable, the environmental considerations you take into account, the friendliness of your staff or the high level of communication between the first point of contact and the delivery.
When it comes to building up the most high-level, efficient and effective team in the business, you need to first have a well-established purpose and mission statement outlined so when you’re in the interview process, that candidate has the opportunity to see exactly what it is your organisation does, as well as your organisation’s why, so they can effectively buy-in to your organisation. Without it, you risk onboarding staff that are unsure of the organisation’s core purpose and staff like this are often unable, or less able to deliver upon the promises that your organisation absolutely needs to deliver on each and every time.
When you’ve done this, you’re now able to expect high-level results from the people you’ve just hired.
Too many leaders don’t hold up their end of the bargain, and become frustrated when new staff members - and older ones alike - are swimming against the tide and not moving with the organisation’s direction; this is why a mission statement is so essential.
On that note, another key part of building up an effective team is offering them the chance to refine their skills and take part in regular training to keep their skills sharp, and their mind focussed and motivated. It’s staggering to consider just how many organisations don’t see the inherent value in getting their staff to do more training; this is often what separates high level organisations from their mediocre competitors. There’s the psychological benefits in store for those members of staff as they feel as though there’s a challenge to accomplish, and they’ll be more productive in your organisation after having trained their skills. There’s a social side of the story, too. More often than not, those members of staff will be thankful to the leadership team that they had the opportunity to increase their skills and knowledge, and this results in a desire to do more for your organisation.
Don’t think of it in a cynical way- that offering staff training will definitely produce more efficiency in your organisation- just acknowledge the importance of keeping your staff motivated and productive.
In terms of assembling your organisation’s peak performing team, it’s important to consider conducting regular SWOT analyses to identify shortfalls in your organisation’s chain. The more often you conduct these, the more effective they’ll be in diagnosing problems in your organisation before they become catastrophic. A SWOT analysis is designed to identify a problem area for your leadership team to address, and you can make a more specific position description for a new-comer to your organisation after having identified weaknesses in your organisation as is. From here, you can filter through applicants to the position to make sure you’re filling the gap with a person qualified to first of all, fill that gap, and hopefully excel at their job and turn this weakness into a strength and an opportunity for more efficiency in the future.
In terms of the early stages of onboarding a new staff member, you can’t expect the world from them. Everyone takes time to settle into a new role, and if they feel as though there’s an extreme amount of pressure resting on their shoulders, this can create a negative feedback loop and lead to stress, burnout and an early exit from your organisation. Too many leaders expect too much from new staff members too early- it’s a recipe for disaster. Expect them to take a few weeks to get to know the role and their colleagues, so plan accordingly and give them all the resources and support they need to find comfort in the position.
The last tip I’ll offer up now in terms of building up your A-team is having a dashboard of statistics that is constantly filled with data on your organisation’s direction and performance. Let that new staff member know exactly where they sit in the organisation, and which statistics they’re responsible for improving.
Too often new staff members are left with vague ambiguities, and don’t know exactly how their efforts contribute to the overall mission statement and direction of the business. When this is clearly marked out on the organisation’s dashboard of statistics, this should fill that employee with a sense of purpose and accountability for raising that statistic ahead of the next management review meeting.
That’s it for now, but this will be a continuous thread of content here on our blog. To sum up, before you expect too much from new employees, make sure you’re doing your due diligence in establishing an inspiring mission statement and giving those new employees all the resources and support they need to accomplish the mission.
Don’t expect them to deliver on the first day of their job, as it takes time to find comfort in a role and produce results, and remember that it’s critical to give all of your staff extra training to increase their motivation; this should result in more productivity and efficiency from your staff.
I’ll see you in the next piece.