How can you build a winning team like the World Champion Boston Red Sox‘s who in just one season went from last to first and won this years fall classic? There are several things that we can learn from winning programs like Boston and that is that you need to develop your team, organization or business from the inside out by constant focused recruiting and drafting of top talent, formal, structured training and development of that talent, developing a career path for the top achievers and promoting from within and finally taking care of your people so that they aren’t looking at the proverbial “greener pastures”.
First Round Draft Picks
Great programs are constantly scouting for the best people; the best time to recruit, interview and hire is before you need someone. Great teams prepare for life events. People most of the time don’t quit an organization because they are disenfranchised with the company but they quit because “life” happened. It has been my experience that divorce, marriage, births, sickness and deaths attribute more to career changes than because team members are unhappy with their positions. Since “life” is beyond our control as leaders we have to make sure that we have a good supply of players on the bench ready to go in case we have a starter go down. But in order to have that supply of people you have to be on the lookout everyday. You can’t just place an ad in the local newspaper and hope that the next David Ortiz walks into your showroom ready to knock it out of the park when you need a new player. Recruiting has to be a constant focused program performed by every member on the leadership team. You have to be proactive and contact and encourage the top performs who are already working to join your team.
Having conducted hundreds maybe even a thousand interviews one of the most common comments that I hear from prospective employees is that they want to be part of an organization that is going to challenge them and allow them the opportunity to grow; in other words they are saying please train me and coach me on how to succeed in your business. When you bring new people into your business it is necessary that you on board them with all the skills, habits and attitudes that they will need to perform their positions at a high level. The initial training needs to be such that the “green peas” feel comfortable and confident in their new roles. They also have to know that they have the support of leadership and that they are part of a team and not a solo act. But once out of “boot camp” there needs to be daily coaching and training to maintain that initial enthusiasm and to guarantee continual improvement. You have to view training as an investment in your people and not as an expense that can be cut or eliminated when things are going good or when there maybe a down turn in business. As Zig Ziglar said “What’s worse training your people and having them leave or not training them and having them stay?’
Promote from Within
If you want to keep your top talent you have to show them that there is a career path within your organization. Does your business have a history of promoting your top performers into leadership positions or do you take the attitude that you cant afford to lose them on your floor? If you are constantly recruiting you have players on the bench and this is a worry that you don’t have to deal with. But keep in mind if you have a top performer and you don’t promote them you are in danger of having your competition promote them and now you don’t have them on your team and worse they are now on someone else’s team.
It’s Personal not Business
Remember that your team are people first and employees second. You are dealing with people who have fears, frustrations, dreams and families and everything that happens at home effects how they perform at work and everything that happens at work effects what happens at home. Before our team will listen to us as leaders they first need to know how much we care. We can show them we care by first listening not to be understood but to first understand. We can show them how much we care by holding them accountable to our expectations of them as a member of the team. Finally we can show them how much we care by setting that example of what we expect them to perform like; if your going to talk the talk be prepared to walk the walk.