When you’re building a company there are many factors that affect your success, but none are as important as the people who surround you. To quote Patti Smith, “The People Have The Power”! The people make the company. You may have the greatest idea in the world, but if you don’t have the right team it will be difficult to create success.
Sometimes hiring decisions are a well-thought-out process and sometimes they’re simply opportunistic. You can make good hires in both ways, but when you make a bad hire you have to be willing to recognize it, make a change and move on or risk the ongoing effects of that kind of hire. Regardless of the good or bad decisions you make during hiring, and trust me when I say you’ll make plenty of both, there are some things that you can do to make sure you’re always improving and always working your way to the top.
Upgrade Your Talent
The first thing is always being on the lookout for upgrading your talent. Someone once told me a baseball analogy and it made great sense to me. You always want to be looking to upgrade your 8 and 9 hitters in the lineup. These are typically your weakest hitters, and you want to be rotating in stronger players from the bottom of the order, putting more pressure on your earlier hitters to perform. Never rest on your laurels and the team you already have when you can be doing your best to improve at all times. The competition isn’t sitting idly by, so why should you? If you’re always looking to bring smart people on to your team, and the right opportunity comes across your plate to do so, you should take it. Don’t break the bank to do it and don’t put your company financially at risk to bring that person on, but if you can make it happen it can work out well. Strong, intelligent people have a positive effect on the people around them, and they tend to improve the team they’re involved with. They also help to shine a light on the people who aren’t pulling their weight simply from being around. If someone is falling behind, they will pale in comparison to your stars, and that can help you improve and move on as well!
The second most important thing when it comes to the people and the collective intelligence of the company is to make sure you create a culture that allows for the sharing of information. This goes for all the good and the bad. People learn from one another, so you have to do the best you can at making sure everyone learns from the positive and negative experiences of their peers. Sharing information actually achieves two goals. First, “all ships rise with the tide” in terms of everyone gets smarter when the entire group gets smarter. Secondly, if you see the same people making the same mistakes, or conversely there is a portion of your team who is routinely quiet during these interactions, then you can quickly uncover the weakest links in the organization. Those weakest links are either painfully shy and need to be worked with, or they may need to be weeded out. The sharing of information can help you uncover these challenges and allow you to define the solution.
Performance Reviews and Performance Discussions
It goes almost without saying, but regular performance reviews and even simple performance discussions among peers and managers can help provide feedback for an employee and can give them a recurring baseline from which to evaluate and improve upon their performance. If you don’t give them regular feedback, then you can’t possibly expect success. There are very few people who can succeed in a vacuum. People are social by nature, and that social interaction requires feedback and the approval of your peers. The same goes in a corporate environment – you have to provide feedback to people so they know where they stand. Too many companies forget, or overlook, performance reviews and when they do they perform a disservice to everyone in the organization. Don’t ever overlook these processes.
Keeping your team in tip-top shape is the most important element of any manager’s role in a company and if the team works well, then the company will perform. Your people are the engine behind your business and you need them performing at the best of their ability, so be sure to take advice from someone who has done it both well and poorly during their career – the benefits of paying attention to your people far, far outweigh the effort and additional workload that comes with this focus.
Wouldn’t you agree? What has your experience been – let me know on the Spin Board!