Your mother was right. Two heads are better than one.

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Leveraging what you can get done by working through others is a wonderful thing. So, where do you start, as you go about trying to build your team?

Your first inclination is going to be to try to sell people on what a terrific idea you have and how exciting the future is going to be.

Honest selling is a noble profession. But the problem with selling is you ultimately are trying to get someone to do what you want and that is not the greatest foundation on which to build a team.

Let me suggest an alternative.

Instead of selling them, see if they will enlist or enroll.

When someone enrolls it is because you have inspired them to act in favor of what they want to do. They become part of your efforts because they are excited by your dream and want to join you.

Enrollment is about offering them the chance to do something they might want to do (in this case becoming part of your effort.) You don't convince them. They convince themselves.

It's a voluntary, personal commitment on their part.

How you get that enrollment to happen is a pretty straightforward process.

Step #1: Be enrolled yourself.

You can't expect to gain the commitment of others if you're not committed yourself. You must want to make your idea a reality. Starting anything new is hard enough if you are committed. Others can sense if you are not enrolled. They can tell you are not excited about the idea or truly committed to making it happen. And if they get that feeling, they are bound to ask: "If he is not really into it, why should I be?"

If you try to enroll someone when you are not truly enrolled yourself, you end up selling, and you probably don't even do a very good job of it.

Step #2: Honesty really is the best policy.

Okay, you are truly committed to your idea. Now you want to get people to come along. What's the next step?

You talk to anyone and everyone about what you want to do. And you are genuine and transparent. You give them a complete picture. And not only do you tell them the positive and negatives, to the extent you know them; you also tell them why your idea is so important to you. If it is because you want to make a lot of money, tell them. If it really is all about a small part of the world a better place, say that.

Remember, one of the results in enrolling people is a lasting relationship. You do all of this because you want first and foremost an authentic relationship on which trust and joint action can be built. You can only build this kind of meaningful relationship if you are being forthright.

People enroll with you, perhaps even more than with your vision. That's why you tell the complete truth. And they will either join you or not. That is just the way it goes. There's nothing you can do to "get someone to enroll." People will only enroll when what you have resonants within them.

Step #3: Offer Action.

An integral part of the enrollment process is immediately offering the person who wants to join you some real work to do, no matter how small. When that action occurs, that's when you know the enrollment has really taken place--and you are on your way to building a great team.

Published on: Oct 24, 2014
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.