You can be the best coach in the NFL, but that doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to the Super Bowl. After all, it’s your players who make the plays. You get them on the field, give them direction and then, if you’re smart, stay out of the way.
Vince Lombardi is considered by many fans and analysts to be the best coach football has ever seen. Does that mean his team won every single championship they played? No. But it does mean that he treated every single game like it was a championship, and he made sure every player on the team was in line with his vision.
Another thing that great coaches have in common is their ability to spot talent and recruit it for their team. One of the hardest things to do in business involves the same skill set: Being able to pick out and hire the right people to play on your team.
Some of the most important attributes to seek are not going to show up on a résumé or somewhere in a cover letter. I’m talking about passion, enthusiasm and drive.
Learning how to identify the right kind of hires is a game-changer. But it’s just as important to know you can’t be afraid to cut a player off your team who doesn’t share your vision, one who can’t play nicely in the sandbox with everyone else, or who doesn’t deliver when the chips are down.
The following excerpt is from my new book, “Uncomplicate Business: All It Takes Is People, Time, and Money.” The book comes out in October 2015 and is available for preorder at HowardFarran.com.
Excerpt: When it comes to building a winning team, the name of the game is loyalty. What are you doing to ensure your team consists of reliable people you believe in and who believe in you and your business? Do your employees know your story? Do they know why you started this business? Do you ever let them know how important they are to your business and how much you value them?
In order to have a winning team, you need to create it! Here’s how.
In sports you want the best athletes—the ones who can consistently get the job done and win the game for the team. You want the same thing for your business, a winning team. As in sports, you need to build a team of top performers with complementary skills to create a winning business. The most important thing your team has to deliver is quality, and quality equals consistency.
You need employees who will deliver the vision you have defined for your business. If someone doesn’t get my corporate culture, doesn’t embrace our core values, then I’m going to show that person the door. As part of our core values, we require our teams to “be passionate, enthusiastic, and determined to make a difference.” Try as you might, you can’t train someone to be any one of those things, so you must make sure you’re hiring people who carry these traits and be prepared to jettison those who do not. …
The interview process is serious business; if you want to be successful, you have to learn how to win that part of the game.
If you own a home, how many houses did you look at before you committed your dollars? If you are married, how many people did you date before you proposed to that special person? Ten? Twenty? I can’t tell you enough: hiring the right employee is that important. You want to hire people who will stay with you for life.
I find it insane when a business advertises an opening in the newspaper or online and then quickly hires one of the first three people to drop off a resume. That’s nuts. Do you really think the New York Yankees would interview only three people for a catcher position? Or do you think they might actually scout out every single catcher playing for a university today? The Yankees take HR extremely seriously.
In my business we often spend up to two months on the hiring process. We know that if we get it right, we may have a player for ten to twenty-five years.
When you’re hiring, you’ll likely receive a wide array of resumes. Some will have the full range of experience you’d expect from an applicant, others might have some, and the rest will be among those who send out a resume because any job will do. Like people, you’re going to receive resumes that range from A to F. If a magician is applying for an engineering position, the likelihood of that resume disappearing into your wastebasket is pretty good.
Once we’ve whittled the list down to a smaller pool of applicants (those with relevant skills, job experience, great references, good examples of previous employment, etc.), we like to talk to them over the phone to get to know their personalities. A person might look amazing on paper, but if they have zero personality over the phone, we won’t even ask them to come in for a personal interview. If we like what we hear over the phone, the next step is to invite them to come in for the initial interview.
The hardest part of the HR process is trying to identify the star players via a one-hour interview. This is why I recommend a multiple-step interview process that involves the entire management team. If you hire someone who doesn’t jibe with the rest of your team, you’ve wasted a lot of time and resources in getting that person up to speed, and it hurts to have to start the hiring process over. I always have my entire management team interview the applicants as well, often when I’m not in the room, so they can give me their honest and independent thoughts about the person, and to give the applicant the opportunity to ask questions of those on the front line.
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