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3 Ways Hunger Drives Success

Is your team hungry enough to help you build and grow your business? Here are three areas where no one should ever be satisfied with the status quo.

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When we recruit, coach and develop our team at Avondale, we are looking for both tangible skills and the intangible qualities that will help them succeed in our loose, entrepreneurial environment. One of those intangibles: We want our new hires to be hungry. What do we mean by that?

In our view, successful entrepreneurs need to be hungry in three areas:

1. Hunger to Raise Their Game

We want people to actively push us out of our current roles, so that everyone continues to develop by taking on more responsibility. If we have been running customer meetings, we want people on our team to volunteer to run those meetings for us. If we've been managing a customer relationship, we want someone to jump in and seamlessly take over that relationship from us. And so forth. We want people on our team who are continually trying to raise their game because that is the only way we can improve our business.

2. Hunger to Delight the Customer

We want our team to go the extra mile so that customers talk about how great our team is to work with and how essential we are to their success. Our job is not merely to deliver products or services; it is to solve the customer's problem and delight them while doing so. Our business is very customer-centric, and our team needs to embrace that approach.

3. Hunger to Own Opportunities and Challenges

In the Coen brothers' film Miller's Crossing (quick plug: a very violent film, but one of the finest mob movies ever made!), one character says to another: "I'd worry a lot less if I thought you were worrying enough." As business owners and entrepreneurs, we face an endless stream of challenges and worries. We want people on our team worrying about a relationship with a customer and offering a plan on how to deal with it. We want people to be concerned about missing out on a business opportunity and offering a plan for capturing it. When our team worries enough about these types of challenges and opportunities--and takes ownership of the resulting actions--we worry a lot less.

Staying hungry is a critical component of our ability to build our business. Our value as an enterprise is ultimately derived from the capabilities of our team, so we want our team to develop and grow along with the business. When they are hungry and talented, they can grow in leaps and bounds and create more value for our company.

Is your team hungry? How do you define hunger? Share your thoughts with us at karlandbill@avondalestrategicpartners.com.

Last updated: Jul 31, 2012

KARL STARK AND BILL STEWART are managing directors and co-founders of Avondale, a strategic advisory firm focused on growing companies. Avondale, based in Chicago, is a high-growth company itself and is a two-time Inc. 500 honoree.
@karlstark




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