Whether it’s a motivational quote or an office exercise, “team” is the power word in business. Having a high impact team is essential for any business and isn’t easy to build. Curious myself about what the key is to building a high impact team, I went and asked a friend, Steve Austin. Steve is the founder of NFL Combines, which is arguably the top evaluator of sports talent in the world.
His systems are so effective, in fact, that they are used today by most major professional sports teams as well as the Navy Seals to recruit new members. When I met with Steve, I asked him what the difference was between Tom Brady – one of the top players in his craft – and everyone else. His answer? Three simple plays.
Steve shared with me that there are three things players like Tom Brady do in each and every game that the other players don’t make. For example, it could be taking a knee instead of getting sacked; it could be throwing the ball away instead of risking an interception; or, it could be calling a timeout instead of taking a penalty. These seemingly small things make Tom Brady one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history.
The question is, how do you apply this knowledge to your business? What I realized from my conversation with Steve was that there are three key elements to building a great – not average – team, and it all starts with the hiring process. Before we dive into these three keys, remember how important hiring your team is.
Hiring people is the only area in business where you have the ideal information. If you do your homework properly, you know everything that the person has done in their career that they can apply to your business. In no other part of the business will you have so much information before you. When you are ready to build your team, remember these three key elements.
#1: Get Clarity
Before you put out a job listing or interview anyone, you need to be clear on what it is you need. It’s not enough to say you need a marketing expert. You need to be more specific. What type of marketing? Do you need someone experienced in brand marketing? Or is your focus direct marketing? Understand and clarify what it is you really need.
#2: Don’t Talk to Everybody
As an entrepreneur, I know you’re busy. You are building your business and juggling a dozen tasks at once so don’t interview everyone who sends in a resume. Be picky and only meet with people that fit your very specific needs. This starts with the job posting. Be specific about what you need from the individual and only meet with those who check off all the boxes.
#3: Test Drive
Finally, once you think you’ve found your ideal team member, test them as much as you can before bringing them on full time. If you can, bring them in as a consultant or contractor. Make sure that they are truly up to the task, that they fit your company’s culture, and that they are the kind of person with whom you want your business associated for the long-term. What happens if you follow these three steps but the person doesn’t turn out to be your Tom Brady?
Don’t hesitate to fire them and move on to the next person. In order for your business to be successful, you can’t settle. When you start hiring your team, invest the time upfront, clarify what it is you want and need, only meet with those who meet your specific criteria, test as much as you can, and don’t settle. By taking the time to thoroughly vet and bring on your key employees, you can build a solid foundation for future team success.