Building the Right Team

by Krishna on January 21, 2007

Having the right people on your team is key to the success of your project or organization. What are the criteria to select such people? This answer may vary for different people and different organizations. One example of a framework for hiring is the 4-E and 1-P method advocated by Jack Welch.

As for me, here are the main factors that I would use to select the right people:

  1. Energy and positive attitude: The person should have a good work ethic. I am not advocating a person who works at least 12 hours a day in the office. In fact, sometimes that is a sign of a person over-committing, under-prioritizing and under-delivering. An energetic person is one who is excited by the work they are doing. They bring new ideas and suggestions to improve the quality of work and life.

    They are positive – their first reaction to anything is “Yes, we can do it.” They energize other members of the team by spreading their enthusiasm. They like new challenges and opportunities. They have good team spirit. For them, work is its own reward and the rest is all a bonus.

    In case you are thinking: does such a person exist? The answer is: Yes, they do. In fact, I know several of them – some of my close friends, some current and previous employees in the companies I have worked for.

  2. Logical ability and mentality to solve problems: I believe that this is a talent, not something that you can train people in. Some people are interested in solving problems. They are the ones who would gladly spend time in a jail cell if you constantly fed them with crosswords or Soduku puzzles. They have the ability to distill a problem into the simplest form possible and arrive at solutions to fix them.Why is this important? Every day in a manager’s life (and to a lesser extent, every employee’s life) is filled with conflicts, challenges and problems. A person who doesn’t like problem solving will be suffocated and strained by the daily decision making. A person who cannot eliminate unnecessary clutter in the problem and cut right to the chase will provide poor solutions to issues.
  3. Candor and openness: In business, things can go wrong even with the best effort. With open, honest discussions about the problems that were encountered, it is easy to address the root causes of the problems and fix them. If the underlying issues are hidden because of some hidden agenda, then they continue to keep festering.It is effortless to work with employees who are very transparent in their dealings. It builds trust within the team. You can continuously feed greater challenges to such a person. A person who has candor will also tell you directly what mistakes you are making, even if you are his superior. This helps in your personal development. If it is a superior who is candid, then it is even better because you know that person will never go behind your back to do something against you.
  4. Introspective with self-esteem: An employee who regularly does a self-evaluation honestly is on the path to self-development. Such an employee doesn’t need prodding to learn new skills or technologies. They are more open to constructive criticism about their problems and do not get defensive about mistakes they make.However, it is also necessary to maintain self-esteem and confidence in spite of one’s own defects. I have always seen that the toughest employees to work with are those who suffer from an inferiority complex. You can always get an egomaniacal employee to do something by challenging them. But employees with low self-esteem are very difficult to motivate.

{ 1 comment }

Robert February 4, 2007 at 8:51 am

Good information… Most people try to get “B-list” people under them so that they can feel superior. In actuality, you should be picking people who are as smart (or smarter) than yourself to fill the voids… That’s what management is all about.

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