Recipes For Business Success, Part Two: Build An Effective Team
Posted on 12.01.2021 at 19:22
Denis Kalemberg Forbes Councils Member
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There are countless ways to build a team to solve business challenges. Every approach has its pros and cons, so CEOs must choose the one that best suits their vision on how to achieve goals. One way or another, I believe this choice reflects their personality.
Some leaders, for example, prefer military-like discipline with a controlled workflow and defined areas of responsibility. Others favor unclear work task limits and let employees gravitate toward the business direction they are most interested in.
No matter what leadership approach you take, you need a team that can carry your business to success. However, building your “dream team” isn’t always as easy as it sounds. After all, does a perfect team even exist? And what is the role of a CEO or a business owner in building such a group?
Your dream team could exist, but only with good communication.
Over the past 10 years, I’ve seen quite a few information technology startups that had concrete ideas but never made it through the “valley of death.” They lacked balance between two opposites: engineers and salespeople.
There’s a significant risk when engineers dominate in a company and create an excellent solution with no available market. That said, when sales dominate, a company also risks promising customers a spaceship, which would be impossible to build for any engineer and could lose the market’s trust. When you are starting up, it’s crucial not only to have both of these entities in place but also to establish a process for collaborative critical decision making.
To foster dialogue, you might need to translate business to technical language and vice versa. If your key sales manager doesn’t have a technical background, education or working experience, they must be able to be on the same page as the tech team.
As a business owner, you play an important role in building your team.
Every team member — whether they’re a developer, salesperson, marketer or project manager — plays their own role. So does the business owner. The only exception is that the business owner starts playing their role well in advance — at the stage of building a team.
When building a team, business owners are looking to bring the brightest and most professional talent on board. In a small company, specific areas of responsibility are often blurred, and team members work shoulder to shoulder. This can lead to misunderstanding and even friction. Thus, the role of a business owner is not only to put together a team but also to prevent internal conflicts. When disputes arise, you need to act as a mediator. This is not always easy, but it’s necessary if you want to keep your team and business afloat.
Another task within the team-building process is to establish a framework for employee development. It’s crucial to make sure employees can move not only upward but also sideways to change their specialty. In my experience, it’s not uncommon for people to get a degree in some field only to later realize it’s not what they are willing to do for the rest of their lives.
This might mean you need to think about allowing your marketing specialist, for example, to dive deeper into the product’s architecture or inviting an engineer to a customer meeting. Of course, these workers would need to be supervised by more experienced colleagues, but doing so can help your employees find where their true passion lies.
That’s what a flexible team structure is all about. If an employee plays various roles, they can decide which one suits them best and continue along that path. Here again, you play a vital role as a leader and a business owner by observing and helping your employees grow and reach new professional heights. This approach would be a real win for team members and the company alike.
Trusting your employees can help drive your business to success.
When one or more founders start a new business, at first they perform all key roles — sales, product development, partner networking, marketing, operations and whatnot. Their level of motivation, confidence in their ideas and resistance to giving up work wonders.
However, while these founders might be able to move mountains on their own, there comes an inevitable moment when their internal resources run out, and they have to delegate tasks to new team members. This can present an unexpected challenge: Because business owners are used to doing all the work themselves, they might struggle to hand off tasks to their employees.
These feelings can be hard to overcome, but if you don’t stop yourself, you risk reaching a dead end. After all, you only have 24 hours in a day and a limited energy reserve. Additionally, why bother hiring the best and the brightest if you redo their work for them? Should you fail to recognize the need to delegate to and trust your team, you’ll exhaust yourself and disappoint your employees by undervaluing their work.
Yes, the moment you start hiring will be difficult for you, and it might seem like you could have done the work more quickly yourself. The critical thing is to be patient and avoid going back to the start. Once your colleagues learn and get to take a deeper dive into your business, they’ll continue to improve.
You’ll likely then see that the company can do more and perform better than you could have accomplished on your own. Over time, you’ll probably even realize your employees outperform you in some areas. At this point, you’ll feel pleased. Remember: Respect your team. Appreciate your employees, and help them grow. They will reciprocate and drive your business to success.