3 Steps To Build a Winning Team

People come first, and the rest follows…

1. Hire Leaders

“It starts by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus…regardless of the destination” — Jim Collins

While many believe hiring a Harvard graduate, an ex-Googler, or a celebrity will lead your business to success, the reality is no matter how rich the background, you need to hire for passion. When someone shares your vision and is willing to work together to make it a reality, their own curiosity and desire will allow them to develop the skills required.

The right team member will have a positive attitude, and rejoice when others succeed. From Associate to Director, everyone should be approachable, and willing to go above and beyond even if it’s not clearly defined in their job description. They should be driven and able to operate and contribute independently, but understanding that in the end you win or lose as a team.

Nucor corporation was a smaller player in the steel industry competing with the goliath at the time, Bethlehem Steel. Nucor was aware of Bethlehem’s luxurious corporate offices, attractive executive compensation, and perks — but instead decided to take on the giant by hiring ambitious and passionate employees.

Instead of setting up shop in a major city and attracting top corporate talent, they set up their mills in suburban locations in Nebraska, Utah, Indiana, among others, and began to hire farmers. Nucor believed you could eventually teach a farmer how to work steel, but would not be able to teach a corporate employee the farmer’s work ethic and drive.

With Nucor’s culture of discipline, the nimble team led an underdog to become one of the largest steel companies in the United States.

2. Be relentless and self-aware

Once you assemble the dream team, you have to be ready to charge. Never give up, no matter what obstacle gets in your way. Identify what your company can be the number one at, and funnel all of your efforts towards that “Mount Everest”.

As ambitious as your plans may be, you can’t get blindsided, and need to be aware of the brutal facts and industry shifts that can impact your business.

Darwin Smith a quiet and humble CEO running Kimberly-Clark was extremely devoted and very self-aware in recognizing that although Kimberly-Clark had valuable assets with their paper mills, the future lay in consumer products. Smith sold all of the company mills, employees disagreed, the media ridiculed him, and wall street heavily downgraded the stock. Smith was later diagnosed with cancer, yet he never wasted a day without giving it 110%. He was able to run the company for 20 years until 1991 witnessing the brand take on P&G, surpass them in sales across 6 product categories and introduce brands like Kleenex and Huggies that continue to be a staple to customers today.

3. Connect your best and brightest with opportunity

Most companies make the mistake of assigning their best talent to fix the product or process, to put out a fire, to deal with incessant issues that surface daily, when they should be leveraging their best people to innovate and look far beyond the horizon to ensure the company continues to lead the wolfpack leaving competitors behind.

When Joseph Cullman was running Philip Morris he recognized that the landscape in the US was extremely competitive against Camel, and the major players were focusing their efforts on national growth. Cullman decided to appoint his brightest employee, and right hand man George Weissman to run their overseas division. George didn’t take it lightly going from managing over 90 percent of the business to the international division which was less than 1 percent of sales but he believed in Cullman and never gave up. In a span of three years, he turned Marlboro into the top selling cigarette brand in the world.

This piece was inspired from reading “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. ** If you enjoyed it, hit the heart icon below so more people can see it as well.

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