Tips for Building Your Team

A popular quote we use in startup land is  “It’s all about the team”.   If you were like me when I first started out you probably didn’t fully comprehend how important this phrase really is.

Years later I’ve come to see how the “right team” can turn something good into something truly amazing while the “wrong team” can take the smallest weakness and somehow grow it into a full blown disaster.

Below are some tips I’ve collected on building the best teams.   What other ideas do you have?

  1. Attracting the best talent is often not about paying the highest salary or the lofty title but it’s about inspiring people with the idea of how you are going to have an impact on the world.
  1. Trust your gut when you are thinking about bringing someone into your team.  If something doesn’t fit then you probably should pass or at least double the amount of time you spend with that person to see if there is something else about the person that fits or doesn’t fit.
  1. Don’t be intimidated to hire people older and smarter than you.
  1. For startups be careful to not try and hire a smaller version of the team that big companies have.   Big companies have way more people, customers and processes than you and many of those roles exist to service the machine that already exists.  You don’t have that problem.  Think hard about position you create.
  1. Be transparent with your teammates.  Share with them the good news and the bad.  Don’t panic, of course, when sharing the bad news.  But don’t hide it either.  A strong team will help you solve big problems.
  1. Leave your ego outside.  Don’t go into meetings assuming you have all the answers and don’t stick to a point just because you don’t want to admit you were wrong.  You want a team that challenges each other (respectfully of course).
  1. Set big goals.  A strong team likes a challenge and will rise to the occasion.
  1. Everyone needs to feel ownership and engaged and I mean everyone.  Not just the executives or first hires but everyone.

Lastly, think of your team as a precious resource that must be nurtured and supported.  The more effort you put into managing the makeup of the team, the communications of the team and the objectives the more efficient and successful it will become and the more impact it will have.


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