Building an A-Team
No doubt we have all heard it before, “Great businesses are built with great people.”
Easier said than done.
A couple of years ago I didn't even know where to start when it came to building a great team.
I knew that the main goal for my component cutting business was for me to start acting like an owner and not an operator and I needed a great team to do that. I also knew that without a team, it would be a constant battle to make and keep the ground we gained.
I knew I needed a team but I didn’t know how to build a great one. When it came to building the team, I was accustomed just “filling a spot” or ‘hiring a heartbeat’.
Luckily, I found out from my mentor that the way I was hiring was not true team building and it definitely wasn’t putting me in a position to work on the business, instead of just in it. Our business felt the pains of poor team building too, always 2 steps forward, 1 step back.
Learning how to truly team build changed our business and it will change yours too. There is no better feeling as an owner when you make a great hire and it moves your company forward, closer to your goals.
So how do you go about making those kinds of hires? How do you go about building an A-team?
HOW TO BUILD YOUR A-TEAM
To start building your A-Team follow these steps:
Make your “WGLL” Org chart
Start with One
Hiring good fits
Trust but Verify
WARNING: There is an incredible amount of push-thru that is going to be required to build an A-Team, but I speak from experience when I say it is the ONLY way to run your business.
‘WGLL’ Org Chart
WGLL, or “What Good Looks Like”, is a great exercise for, not only business owners, but for anyone that wants to get better or grow. It forces you to get out of your comfort bubble and think bigger.
Use this superpower to craft an organizational chart that shows how your operation looks in your perfect little world. If you put effort into building it like you really want, it will take a little time.
My org chart is constantly changing as I keep finding out we did not think big enough when we created it. Look at an org chart like a guide to your growth. Every time we create a new position, we make a corresponding job expectation sheet to go with it. Even if all the positions are not filled, there has to be a name in the box. What you will find is that as an owner, your name is probably in the majority of the boxes.
Only then will you know how much your shop is actually worth.
Start With One
As you will notice in many of my articles and Podcasts, there is a common thread of accomplishing “ONE Thing”.
In the process of building an A-Team, it looks like this:
After you have your org chart, ask yourself, “What is the ONE spot on the chart that, if filled, could put me in the best position to work ON the business instead of IN it?
For me, it was position of Shop Foreman. I knew that if I had a shop foreman, then I could take my name out of several boxes and free up a substantial amount of time to work on the business.
I assure you this will not be easy, but it is most certainly worth it. For some additional backup on supporting your personnel read our article on Standardizing Systems. Standard systems will ensure that even if you lose a key employee that you can still continue moving forward without putting your name back in that box on the chart.
Doing this step and getting your one box filled with someone else's name other than yours will be a huge victory. Once you get a taste for working ON your business you will crave more of that feeling. I have always been of the mindset that while we are in business to make money, it is just as much about winning. This will be a huge win as small as it may seem in the big picture. Trust the process and make it happen, TODAY!
If you don’t believe me the power of a small win read this article from Harvard. They are smart ...you will believe them!
Hiring Good Fits
Once you’ve identified your one spot on the chart that would free you up the most, you need a strategy for filling that spot.
Have you ever heard the saying, “You are made of of the 5 people you hang around most”? If it is true, than it is logical to think that your company is made up of the type of people you hire. So when you are interviewing try to ask questions that get to the prospective employees ‘why’. Does their ‘why’ align with the company vision?
Trust but Verify
I know I stole that quote straight from Ronald Reagan but it is what you are going to need to do for your next step of building an A-Team.
Sometimes when we are trying new things and we are getting our mini victories we can become complacent in how we manage our team. When you put somebody in a new position, small nudges sending them in the general direction is all that is needed. Resist the urge to micromanage and go over every single detail.
Let them fall but not fail.
If you verify it is a subtle way of following up, without hovering. It can be as subtle as asking a question in a different way.
For example, you may ask a question like, "Where are we at on the new milling procedure we talked about a couple weeks ago?" To get the same information but engage the employee, you may just make an open ended statement like, “I am excited about that new milling procedure we laid out a couple weeks ago. How about you?”
Basically, you are asking the question in a manner that engages and empowers your employee. Subtle difference in wording, but the end result will be a better product that you did not have to build yourself.
There will be a time when you have to step in and right the ship no doubt, but use the ‘Trust but Verify’ approach to gauge how things are going before you get too far off course.
Push-Thru - Repeat
Push thru is such a great phrase. Anything worth doing is going to involve some amount of Push Thru. Basically Push Thru, it is that interim between the process being created and implemented.
To protect your investment of time make sure you Push Thru in the team building process before you repeat. If you do not help create the system or process initially, then there will be backlash.
The first box you decide to fill on your chart will without a doubt be the hardest. But pay close attention and figure out that there is a system to filling those boxes with A-Team quality.
Once you figure out the system that works for you, write it down and repeat it as often as you can.
Follow these steps to start building an unstoppable team. You will see amazing things happen in your company when the A-Team starts to take shape and turn the company vision into a reality.
Let me know how you've been building your team and if these steps helped you to build better.