The ability to recognize strengths and weaknesses and build a team is called ‘effective partnering’ – and as an entrepreneur, effective partnering is crucial to your success.
As an entrepreneur, you are a major part of your business.
Your vision, your leadership and your message establish the foundation of your business. But, another big aspect of your long-term success is your team.
Picking the right team means that you have to be good at recognizing your own weaknesses and matching those with strengths of your partners and your team.
Believe me, your team and your partners make or break your business.
I have a terrific team and partners for every moving piece of my business from social media and promotions to production and even scheduling. Each sees my vision as an essential part of the team that creates success by focusing on their own areas of expertise.
These relationships are responsible for my success, and I know I wouldn’t get half as much done without them.
How to Master Effective Partnering
One of the strongest skills a leader can have to achieve is expertise at partnering with the right people.
Step 1: Identify your weaknesses and strengths.
In my case for instance, I admit I’m no one for details that make up the big picture. I eat, breath and sleep ‘the vision’.
Day to day details that make the goal a reality bore me to tears.
I found the best ‘detail’ person I could and created a partnership. She keeps the daily essentials of running a business expertly handled and I focus on creating the vision. Win, win situation.
I even have someone that keeps my schedule functioning. Don’t ask me about my calendar. Please. Meetings, personal appearances, presentations, family time all come from my scheduling partner. I’m terrible at keeping a calendar up to date. And don’t get me started on ‘to do’ lists. But I don’t need to worry because I have a very effective partner that makes sure I’m in the right place at the right time.
Step 2: Seek out partners and team members who are strong where you are weak.
If you happen to already know of someone in your social circle who might be a good fit, by all means seek them out. Do stick to a screening system that shows you that person does have the skill step you want.
Step back after every interview or meeting and make sure that they are what they say they are, can do what they say they can do and are more than just great packaging. Your business success is more important than a quick fix.
Step 3: Implement screening systems when hiring applicants you don’t know.
During my career, I’ve hired my share of duds. As a young entrepreneur, I took resumes at face value, thinking that every statement would be accurate and factual. WRONG.
It didn’t take me very long to figure out that I needed to develop a screening system before hiring new people.
I use a simple screening test that has served me well to weed out the top 3 applicants quickly, even with hundreds of applications.
Here’s how it works.
How to Screen Top Applicants
For every posting you put up, you get hundreds of applications. The job market is tough so there are more than a few people who just send out their resumes as a knee-jerk response without bothering to read through your posting.
Use this 3-step system to make sure you attract the right team members for your business and identify the top applicants quickly.
Make Smart Job Postings: First, I put an ad posting that is fun and engaging. I want passionate, personable people above any level of particular skill. Skills can be learned, passion is priceless. That might be different for your content, so be concise about what skills you want your new team member to bring to the table in your posting.
Test Applicants: Next, I put a very clear application process that includes a resume, a cover letter or video, and one simple ‘test’ assignment related to the job. Right off the bat, at least 100 applicants won’t even put the test assignment because they didn’t bother to read instructions.
For example, if you’re hiring a customer care member, you can ask them to submit an audio recording responding to your scripted issue. Not only will you save literally countless hours wasting time on piles of resumes, you get to hear exactly how this potential applicant fits within your company culture.
Talk It Out: Once you’ve identified your top 5 candidates, it’s time to call references. Be sure to ask about the specific skills you want to make the most of it. Then of course- the in-person interviews. I like to bring my right-hand with me for interviews so we can both get a sense of the candidate and talk it over.
I always find the best and the brightest individuals, in unlikely places, using this screening system.
Once you establish a strong team and partners to work with, your communication system is essential to stay connected, creative and productive.
Smart Communication Systems
My team and I are constantly collaborating using innovative software tools. Skype, email, texting, basecamp, Google + and more are just a few examples of how we collaborate in real-time and get more done.
Jeff Cornwall, entrepreneurship professor and contributing columnist for Forbes, recently wrote a fantastic article titled “How To Build A Strong Team With Partners” and shares tips on communication systems that take your team to the next level.
“During the week, we communicate and coordinate our activities using a variety of useful tools. We set up documents and spreadsheets on Google Drive that allow us to jointly work on projects each from our own homes. If we need to talk something through, we used Google Hangouts in which we can engage in a live video conversation while working on a common project. For quick communications, we send texts and emails.
Although we are getting better at working together in our virtual environment, it is still important for us to sit down once a week, face-to-face and talk about all of the day-to-day stuff we need to do bring in new customers and keep the customers we have engaged and happy.”
Don’t underestimate the value have of weekly face-to-face meetings with your team.
Not only are these great opportunities to connect, brainstorm and grow but you’ll also motivate your team ten-fold.
Read more on motivation communication with your team here.