The US basketball coach Phil Jackson was famous for his aphorisms, especially those that explained his skill at creating effective teams that managed to combine a range of personality types. So when Jackson said, “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team,” he knew what he was talking about.
Building the right team is as much an art as a science. There are approaches that can help. For instance, don’t sit and wait for the right people to find you. For a smaller business one of the big advantages is agility, so don’t wait for permission to contact people you want to talk to: just get out there and approach those you are interested in hiring.
Second, word of mouth is a great recruiting tool, so use your network: don’t be afraid to look beyond just those people on job sites – most people are intrigued by an interesting job offer, so go beyond the usual sources of candidates and think different.
But getting a good range of candidates through the door is only half the story. Finding out which one is right for your team is the next test. And there’s no doubt that a lot of firms can make hiring mistakes by getting their interview technique wrong. Interviewing well is tough. Simply asking a candidate, ‘One of our values is community; how important is that to you?” will more than likely elicit the same answer from everyone: “Very”.
But smarter team building comes about if you ask candidates to talk you through some examples of when they might have displayed a commitment to that idea. Alongside that, consider asking them to talk about a time in their career where they wanted something so badly that they were unstoppable in pursuing it. What obstacles did they overcome to get there?
And you can measure how effective your team building plans are: quarterly reviews can help you assess colleagues a score on three core company values. To score well, they have to display practical examples of how they adopt it.
Finally, to increase the chances of making sure the right candidate is selected, a growing number of companies are formalizing the process. Some use personality profile exercises like the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and The Caliper Profile, which measures how an individual’s personality traits correlate to his or her job performance.