When you think about it, building a team for your company is a lot like building a sports team. And the fun part? You get to be the general manager.
And unless your business is like the New York Yankees and you can afford to throw money at your industry’s top performers, you’ll have to build methodically; by hiring the right people and letting go of the wrong ones.
Turning a good team into a championship isn’t an exact science, but there are some fundamentals that nearly all successful front offices use.
You need a good mix of young, energetic talent and established veterans. In sports, the rookies make the hustle plays and bring oodles of enthusiasm to the locker room, while the veterans provide guidance and a ‘been there, done that” steadiness that proves invaluable come crunch time.
The same is true in an office. The young employees you bring in will flood the environment with positivity and eagerness. They’ll also prove immensely useful in providing insight into youth markets and emerging technologies. Of course, they’re a little cheaper too, but as the saying goes; you get what you pay for.
Filling your ‘roster’ completely with young, cheap talent will make for an environment that is high on fun, but low on experience. That’s why teams sprinkle in established vets. Sure, they cost more, but their experience and proven skills often prove invaluable when needed most.
Much like a losing team, when your company is struggling, management needs to take a good hard look at the ‘players’ who aren’t pulling their weight.
Many a general manager in sports has had to make the tough choice to get rid of underperforming veterans or hometown heroes past their prime. It’s never a popular decision, nor is it any easy one, but it’s almost always a necessity.
At a fast growing company, these legacy employees can quickly fall behind the curve and become obsolete. What are you keeping them around for? “Old time’s sake” has no place in growing your business, while replacing these archaic ‘veterans’ with young go-getters certain does. And like rebuilding teams, the injection of new blood, fresh ideas and energy will do wonders for all.
Team managers and scouts always look for ‘team players’ when rebuilding a roster. You know, selfless players that will do the little things and focus on winning rather than their own personal success (a lot of sports fans might suggest players like that are becoming increasingly rare these days).
You need to look for the same kinds of traits when you are hiring. Applicants that have changed companies multiple times in their unending quest for a better title will likely just use your company as another stepping-stone. They’ll spend too much energy looking out for themselves and too little time collaborating with their colleagues.
In the office, they’re called backstabbers, office gossips, glory hogs or buck passers. In sports, they’re dubbed clubhouse cancers, divas or head-cases. But in any case, they need to go.
Even once you put together the winning team, you’ll still need a bit of luck, a lot of courage and a whole bunch of hard work. But hey, no one ever said winning was easy…