Starting a company is not complicated; building one is.
When starting a new company, building a new team, or expanding your leadership group, human nature is to surround yourself with people you know, like, trust, and believe in, but it is also crucial to branch beyond that process. Many leaders bring in people from past endeavors because they have experience working with them. So, when it came to putting together an all-star leadership team at cloudEQ, I evaluated a few things.
It was essential for me that I put the right people in the right places with solid leadership experience, that teams wanted to work with them and for them. Significant strategic decisions need to be made by these leaders, and you must trust them to develop the strategy and drive that strategy through to their departments and direct reports. They need to implement and lead in the right way. A leader should never ask someone to do something they are unwilling to do themselves. Every person is vital to the process; the janitor who cleans at night and the CEO are critical to running a company. Respect everyone; If something needs to get done and you can do it, do it.
I ask my leaders to ask their teams for what they need to get an outcome, e.g. tools, equipment, people, training, etc., then give them whatever they have asked for within reason and hold people accountable for the outcomes.
When assembling a team, don’t just hire people that have the same experience as you, or the group you’re comfortable with, expand the outreach, and find the best possible fit. Look for individuals who bring a unique skillset and diversity to the group. Hire people you respect and are the best in their respective fields or areas of expertise. Consider your vision for the company or team, then look for people who have demonstrated those values.
I believe that having people in your life and your company of diverse religions, cultures, ethnicities, genders, etc., helps provide the opportunity for understanding things you might have not otherwise experienced. In addition, bringing people on board who have or have had different life experiences will provide you with other perspectives.
I do not advocate doing everything by consensus, however, gathering input throughout a process will help refine the outcomes, better products, services, companies, culture, and a broader consumer base.
You need a leadership team to support you and watch how the company embraces changes or grows with your vision. You can’t be everywhere at once; therefore, you need leaders who can be your eyes and ears, or boots on the ground, providing honest feedback and sharing successes and challenges with you. In addition, this group should help minimize speculation within the organization and articulate your vision when the team is confused or worried about change.
When hiring, ensure everyone has similar values that align with your company’s direction. Write a strong mission, vision statement along with bold goals. These should reflect your company values and contribute to your team or company culture.
Mission, Vision, Values, and Goals (MVVGs)
Make sure the environment is collaborative, respectful, and open to ideas. As you create your MVVGs, the team will ensure everybody has input into the final product. The team that builds these together has “skin in the game,” believes in them, is aligned to it, and will have the best chance of achieving the desired outcome. Additionally, a culture will emerge through this process based on a shared understanding and belief. By creating the Mission, Vision, Values, and goals with your leaders or co-workers, everybody has input into the process. Assuming the process was collaborative, every individual has a sense of ownership.
Be sure mission, vision, and core values are documented and used internally – not just part of marketing, and that the team understands what these are and how to represent themselves and the company through these.
Success starts with good leadership, not just a good leader but also a great leadership team; it is critical to creating a culture of unity and respect when hiring. These are key points that I evaluated when building our team at cloudEQ. Even years later, I look back on my leadership team, and I know I made the best decisions at the time to move this company forward. I make it a practice to continue to evaluate my choices around leaders, and the leadership team, as they will have a lasting impression on the organization and its legacy; take time to consider these points and hire the group that will take the business to the next level.