“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”  -Phil Jackson

These are wise words to heed and ponder as you construct your thriving business. As I wrote last week, hiring should be a carefully considered process, as opposed to an emotional reaction to crisis. Phil Jackson and just about any coach will probably tell you―from basketball to soccer―that a team’s strength is a reflection of its players. Yes, talent and skill are fundamental. However, as we dissect the vagaries and mysteries of success, it’s just as important to identify the core intangibles of your dream team―the soft traits you are seeking. When hiring the right team, it’s essential to understand what makes your people tick, what gets them out of bed in the morning to excel, collaborate, and achieve.

I like to think of my best team members as intrapreneurs – individuals inside of an enterprise that work like entrepreneurs.  They possess and exude the kind of energy, creativity, and passion that will propel my enterprise and yours to levels and places you may not have even imagined. These are extraordinary people you hire, because they possess skills or expertise you don’t, and your ego is evolved enough to allow you to recognize and appreciate that.  And you give them plenty of room to fly― and fail. That’s how accountable teams are fledged. Yes, you need to be confident and assertive to guide them, but they need to be left to get on as well.

It’s all about the passion―not just motivating your team, but inspiring them. A classic on inspiration is Simon Sinek’s TED Talk which explores this alchemy of heart and talent in the power of “why.” Every team member in every organization knows what they do, but very, very few people or organizations know why they do what they do.  And I’m not talking about the “why” in the corporate jargon version of the mission statement. I’m talking about the personal, in-your-heart “why.” I am talking about a palpable sense of PURPOSE. It’s critical to building an extraordinary team and empowering employees.

The Long and Winding Road Less Travelled

Purpose. Clarity. Vision. Just how does it look down the road?  Ironically, the only way to build a team the right way, right now is to think about the future―and to sew your team into the very fibre of that story.  The organization chart is just a snapshot of the present. When we work with you as a small business consulting firm, your challenge is to think about what the company is going to need if it is to achieve its goals down the road in a year or two.  How much will you grow? Will it grow? Do you want to grow? Maybe. Maybe not. Will you need new departments or leaders? Perhaps. And the time to think about that is not two years from now. It’s now.

Review the Basic Structure: The Major Functions

You gotta have a system― the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS). One of the first components of the EOS process is rebuilding your business the right way by identifying the major operating functions.  You may debate me on this, but we start with the premise that every business really has only three major functions:

Sales and Marketing.  Like it or not, someone has to make sure that the goods or services you provide can be consistently exchanged with customers at a profit. The person sitting in this seat has the responsibility to generate business.

Operations.  This is the group that makes the stuff or delivers the services you sell. The operations function makes sure that the customers get what they pay for.

Finance and Administration. The final key function present in every business is finance―handling money generated from the sale of goods or services and running the infrastructure.

When these three key functions are strong, and you have the right people in right seats driving them, great things happen.  When you have a weak link, the organization falters.