Extreme Leadership – Choosing Your Team
The most powerful leaders create a foundation for their teams to ensure success. I would argue that you have 3 key actions critical to that foundation:
1. Select your metrics/measurements (covered in a previous post)
2. Select the attribute/competencies needed for the positions (covered in a previous post)
3. Select your team
“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people not strategies.” – Larry Bossidy (previous Honeywell CEO)
How do you approach not only the fantasy football league you participate in or the team you are going to draft? Some of you choose your players based on how good looking they are (yes, I’ve heard this before or based on the color of the uniforms they wear) while others treat their fantasy football teams like the most important decision of their lives (listening to player interviews, reviewing their past performance, watching them in pre-season play, analyzing their stats, checking injury reports and even learning how their coaches and teams feel about them before putting them in your draft list).
If you’ve ever done a fantasy league before, put together a social group, or designed a team for any sport or even philanthropy (golf, cycling, MS ride, or Livestrong ride), you can relate to just how difficult the dynamics and balances on a team really can be.
So, choose your team wisely as the leader. Be bold in your tactics and do your research for weeks before making your decision (just like you would for your fantasy football team).
Choosing Your Team:
Design a Hiring Process/flowchart. This process should incorporate multiple angles that will help make your decision easy in the end. It should have a rating system throughout and a common set of decision makers to comprise your hiring panel. Here is an example of a hiring process that I used in building a team of sales leaders:
Relationship Recruit – Find people to interview who are currently very happy with their careers, their companies love them, & they will be hard to acquire because of their talents or longevity with an organization. Again, I should probably come with a warning label here. I don’t tend to believe that the very best teams are built by choosing people who are readily available in the market. There are some situation where you can pick up a perfect match for your team this way, but the majority of your team should be found by using your relationships to find those very perfect high achievers who are not even looking for a slot on your team at all.
Design a Simulation Based Interview that encompasses the spectrum of challenges your team will face often. Put them to the test. If they will be expected to put together a bike then as a bike shop owner, shouldn’t you watch them put together a bike as an interview tactic? If they are apparently great in sales then design a simulation that requires them to show you their sales skills in negotiating or in closing. Put their skills to the test. “Practice does not make perfect, only perfect practice makes perfect” – Vince Lombardi
Require a Presentation to a panel/cross section of decision makers allowing for you to see their planning/preparation skills, get insights into their technology abilities, their use of multiple mediums for communicating, how they can speak to a varied audience (put some high level execs on the panel, some mid-level managers, hr, peers that they’d work with, and administrative staff), how do they communicate across all levels and how do they do under pressure. This tactic isn’t just one I’d suggest for hiring a sales person or a leader but for all critical positions (Manager on up).
Do Your Reference Checks – Find Their Personal Brand! Call people they have listed as references but even more importantly look at their brand that they display through social media. Does the brand that they’ve just “sold you on over the past few weeks or months” match up with the brand that they display when you google them? (Again, it’s up to you if you want to leave the checks up to your HR department, but I would recommend you turn over a few of these stones yourself as the leader to be sure you can’t have one of those fantasy football excuses above…ultimately to win, you are still the final decision).
“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes” – Oscar Wilde