“Although virtually all leaders espouse the value of building a strong management team,” noted John Beeson on Portfolio.com, “the ‘levers’ they apply to do so often vary significantly--and their approach has a lot to do with whether their organizations continue to grow over the long haul.”
Beeson suggests using these two questions as levers:
1. Where should I be spending my time? Or, put another way, how can I add the greatest value to the business?
2. What set of skills and expertise do I need on my team to accomplish the organization’s goals and allow me to play that value-added role?
“By addressing these questions,” he continued, “leaders can begin to build out the staff that supports their own success: not simply a team that produces results, but one that allows them to delegate tasks and responsibilities to the right level.”
Craig Driscoll, a partner at VC firm Highland Capital Partners, posted his own list of “10 tips for Entrepreneurs Looking to Build Great Teams.” While a few items on the list almost go without saying in 2011--such as number nine, “be accepting of mentorship”--Driscoll makes a strong case that to build your best team, you need to become a full-time recruiter:
“At times, 100 percent of your day should be dedicated to recruiting,” he wrote. “Make it a competitive challenge and give yourself measurable objectives (i.e., three exceptional candidates this week). Paul English, cofounder and CTO of Kayak, asks recent hires to name the most talented people they know, and then Paul makes it a point to meet them in less than one week. Treat every discussion with someone as an opportunity to source candidates. For example, customers can point you toward great sales people, investment bankers to great CEOs, accountants to great CFOs, etc. Looking for great developers? Open-source communities are like watering holes for smart, collaborative talent.”
It’s terrific advice, but there’s one problem: If 100 percent of your days are devoted to recruiting, what time does that leave you to play the “value-added” role that Beeson espoused? If the point of designing a winning team is to give yourself less day-to-day work, and more time to be a value-adding, big-picture visionary, then won’t the burden of recruiting sap the free time you’d hoped to devote to larger questions?
Not if you properly manage the recruiting process. Driscoll is hip to this: In his final item, he suggests a common-sense method for easing your recruiting burden: “As you hire your team,” he wrote, “embed a culture of recruiting. Make it part of every employee’s target objectives. Plan and budget for the activity. Make it part of weekly company meetings. Celebrate successes.”
Another way to do more long-term recruiting without upping your day-to-day workload is simply to expand your personal network: Get to know anyone and everyone, but don’t be so businesslike about it. The friends and acquaintances you bond with today might become prime recruits for your company two years from now. Or their friends might.
If that sounds too hokey to be believed, consider this testimonial. It’s from a column on The Huffington Post by Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh, who knows a thing or two about building a management team: “If you are able to figure out how to be truly interested in someone you meet,” he wrote, “with the goal of building up a friendship instead of trying to get something out of that person, the funny thing is that almost always, something happens later down the line that ends up benefiting either your business or yourself personally.”
This article was originally published at The Build Network.