THE BLOG
01/26/2015 05:23 pm ET Updated Mar 28, 2015

Drafting a Team of A+ Players

As a business owner, you can only do so much to achieve success. At the end of the day, it comes down to the people you surround yourself with in the business world. No matter the industry or the size of the company, a good team is not only key to maintaining a smooth-running operation, but also to accelerating growth and success.

Your employees are the DNA of your company and, as such, you invest a lot of time and resources to carefully select the very best to represent your brand. So, the real question is, how do you ensure you employ a team of A+ players?

When putting together your dream team, it's important to keep a few things top of mind:

Setting the Standards

Great companies have great execution because they share a common set of core values. As the leader of the team, you have built your business on beliefs that you hold to be true and in turn motivate you. When your values align with the values of your team, you're able to move together toward common goals.

Your business' core values should be established as early as the interview process. If it's important to you and your overall operation, make sure that every potential candidate is aware of the standards you've set and that they agree with them as well. Try asking potential employees to describe an experience in which they applied one of your core values to their personal life or a past job experience to get a sense of how they approach and appreciate your corporate ideals.

Discuss, Debate, Agree

It's a common misconception that successful businesses have teams aligned with the same opinions -- when, in fact, the opposite is true. If everyone on your team has the same opinion, then you're missing out on great ideas and potential cost saving opportunities. It is crucial for all the brains on your team to be engaged and have the freedom and safety to debate important topics from multiple perspectives. Your team should help each other face facts that might not be pleasant and hear multiple viewpoints so that they can choose the best course of action. After your teams discuss and debate, a decision needs to be made, and everyone has to agree and execute based on that decision made -- this is true alignment. Alignment is not about having the same opinions, but about being able to fully understand and buy into a decision the team made after considering all viewpoints.

Say "Yes" to the Best Ideas and "No" to Other Good Ideas

Successful companies typically do not lack opportunities. In fact, some fail from overeating from the buffet of opportunities. A strong team needs to have the courage to choose the best opportunities, then say "no" to the rest, even if they are good opportunities. Too many projects will lead to poor quality, unfinished projects, missed deadlines and burnt out employees.

Give New Employees a Great First Day

Most companies cannot wait to deploy new team members when they join the company. Off they go into the deep end of the pool without the necessary tools to have a blast and succeed. Instead, consider giving new employees a great first day.

  • Celebrate their first day. Instead of doing the usual HR forms and administrative work upon arriving, give them a wonderful memory with their new team. Celebrate their arrival. Take them to lunch. Let them get to know their teammates. Save the administrative paperwork for their second day.
  • Welcome their families. Sending a gift to their families goes a long way in assuring new employees they made the right decision.
  • Equip them properly. Set up the things they need to succeed, from their business cards to their laptops. Instead of them having to figure out who to see to order business cards and wasting their time getting help on IT systems, set it all up for them and provide training so that they feel confident and excited to jump into their new jobs.
  • Orientation and company culture. Take some time to share the purpose, values and history of the company. How did the company arrive at its current place? Share stories about how the company overcame challenges and succeeded.

You can turn your onboarding process into a competitive advantage by providing employees with everything they need to succeed and a nurturing environment that enables them to take pride in being the best they can be. Make employee engagement and a successful journey together a top priority.

Don't Stop There

Just like growing your business, growing your people is a path of progress that doesn't happen overnight. By approaching every step of the employment cycle - recruiting, onboarding, developing and retaining - with purpose, you're sure to develop a high-performance team of A+ players.