Great teams don’t just happen. It takes time, trust, energy and money to develop them.
You dream of a team that rows in the same direction, that works cohesively together, and where each member elevates the others. You strive for alignment in your business and people strategies. You hope the leaders of your team lead with the same integrity and heart as you would want them to lead. Consider the following three steps as building blocks to achieving these goals:
1. Hire well. You always should be recruiting, regardless of whether you have a current need. Start by asking your network of referrals. Use your current staff, your social media, your church, your friends. Let them know you are seeking great people, and what enticing benefits you have to offer. Offer them incentives if they bring great people to you.
At ABC Houston, we send behavioral assessments to everyone who sends in their applications or resumes. Only those who align with targets set by our behavioral assessment test will pass to our next step, which is an initial phone screen. This phone screen measures for cultural fit, with outside-the-box questions.
Those who pass through those two hurdles then receive an in-person interview. If they pass that, they are given a final interview before they will be hired. Our goal is to have that last interview on the same day as their in-person interview. If all is clear and we believe they are a good fit, we extend an offer that same day.
We establish a start date, and continue the evaluation process during the new employee’s first-day ride-along with a supervisor. We believe that by riding shoulder-to-shoulder, you really get to know the individual and they get to know you. We use this as an extension of the interview process, and we can measure for further job fit.
2. Develop leadership. Managers do not have to come into their positions with the skills and experience needed to be successful all at once. That said, basic behavioral skills need to be present prior to entering into management, and we need to know which behavioral skills we need to sharpen in the individual.
Giving your team members an opportunity to learn these skills is an investment from which they will forever reap the benefits. Like anything in life, balance is important, and management teams need balance. Know where you are strong and weak. Build your team around shoring up your weaknesses.
I have used the resources of trade associations, outside consultants and our own senior team members to accomplish and mentor an improved management team. With a clear, purpose-driven and realistic road map, we continue to lead our overall team further and better. It is also important to lay out a career road map for the individuals themselves, so they can achieve next-level success in their careers.
3. Protect your business and your employees. Because sharing who our clients are, our pricing, and how we perform our services are an important component of building a knowledgeable, nimble team, every ABC Houston employee signs a non-compete and non-solicitation agreement. They are employed by a written contract; they are not in employment at will (Texas is an employment-at-will state). Therefore, employees are prohibited from working for competitors, starting their own businesses in the same industry, and/or taking customer information with them. Whether for their own benefit or for the benefit of someone else, every employee agrees in writing to not interfere with our relationships with our customers or with other employees. Our employees and their families depend on our company for their livelihoods, and it is the responsibility of the company to secure the threat of someone stealing our client list and possibly losing the business.
Over the years, I have found working on the business is more important than just working in the business. I want ABC Houston to continue to be a place where we can build an effective team, and where employees proceed along their career paths in a secure company.