Do You Have What It Takes To Build A Winning Team?

8. August 2018 07:36

By: Gary Vitale, GFV Business Advisory                                                                                                                                                                      

The question: “Do You Have What It Takes?” has been asked for centuries and in many contexts.  When it comes to leadership and team building the answer is yes, in most cases good leaders have what it takes to build a winning team.  But then why do so many leaders fail?  The answer lies in the details of how extraordinary leaders prepare and the process they use to select, train and build their teams.  Just by reading the previous sentence will give you clues to why most leaders fail.  If you break down the components and drill down you will see this is not as simple as it sounds.

First, extraordinary leaders go through a rigorous process to select their team members.  They evaluate talent from many perspectives and use all the tools available.  In business these tools consist of a resume, several interviews by people within the organization to determine fit and talent, reference checking, and a professional assessment.  Some leaders even go beyond this but at a minimum all of the mentioned items should be part of the evaluation process to determine if an individual is a good fit for your team.  How many of these tools do you use consistently?  If you are falling short you may be compromising your ability to select the right players for your team.

The second part of the process is on-boarding and training.  Usually these are two separate steps but I will combine them here for the sake of space.  Even the best players will struggle if you do not take the time to give them a well thought out orientation period where they can meet and understand the functions other employees perform and see how everyone contributes to the success of the company.  Just as important is a clear explanation of the new employee’s performance expectations and how he or she fits in to the overall plan.  Without this step they will be left to wonder from person to person asking questions and learning by osmosis.  Certainly top performers expect more from you and will see a lack of effort on your part as a red flag when deciding if they are a good fit for you.  That’s right, just as you are going through the process of deciding whether or not the prospect is a good fit, they are doing the same.  Your job as a leader is to make them want to work for you and the company.  If you slack off on the orientation and training after they are hired my guess is things have a good probability of not working out as well as you or the candidate anticipated.

Training is an ongoing process that requires thought and time.  And, training should not be limited to product knowledge and job performance topics.  Training should be well-rounded and include company culture, self-improvement, team building, and many other topics that will make employees feel they are valued and keep them interested.  This is a broad topic and sometimes it takes a little outside help to implement correctly.

Finally, there is the evaluation stage.  For new employees this should be done at a minimum every six months for the first year and a half.  And it is extremely important that it be made clear that this is a two way conversation.  Just as you have expectations, so do the new team members.  An honest, open conversation is essential to building trust, setting goals and future expectations, and addressing any areas of concern on both sides.

The process described above really just scratches the surface of how extraordinary leaders select, build, and retain team members and it is an ongoing process that never ends.  Too many leaders select a team member and leave it to others to make it work.  Strong leaders make sure it works and are part of the process. 

So, do you have what it takes?  You do but the real question is; are you prepared to put in the time and effort to make it work?  This is the difference between teams that win consistently and teams that win occasionally.     

Learn more about this at Gary's session "Building Winning Teams" at the IWF 2018 Education Conference.



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