Finding Your Team

Two of the key focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. One of the key aspects of building your business is building your team. You have to find the right people to put the team possible together. The following contributed post is thus entitled, Finding Your Team.

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Your business has become, let’s face, it something like your baby. You are extremely protective of its growth and well being and are determined to see it succeed. And it’s this protective attitude that makes it so hard for some entrepreneurs to let go and relinquish some control. This plays out, more often than not, when it comes to hiring extra members of your team particularly those first hires.

In this blog, we take look at how to go about hiring for the first time and why you should let go, just a little bit for even greater business success.

Plan For Success

Whether you manufacture physical goods such as safety railing systems or sell your creative skills and talents as a service, you will have planned for growth and been prepared to expand as your business goes from strength to strength. The hard part is admitting that you now need help but you know that if you want your business to carry on its present trajectory, you’re going to need to hire someone in.

The first thing you’re going to need to do is set aside some time to figure out exactly what role you’re going to want your new hire to play. Think as specific as possible. Avoid vague headings, such as ‘admin duties’ and instead pinpoint exactly what will be required. The more specific you are, the more likely you are to find someone with exactly the skills and experience you are looking for.

Alongside your job description, you’ll also need to create a person specification document. This moves away from just the role the person will take and centres more on the skills and personal qualities a candidate should bring. You’ll be focussing in on both their hard and soft skills.

The Interview

If you have limited experience in interviewing people, then this part of the process can be almost as daunting for you as it is for the interviewee. Stay calm, professional and friendly. You want to see that your candidate can perform well under the pressure of an interview but that doesn’t require a good cop/bad cop routine.

Keep an open mind, the role of an admin officer might be easily filled but when someone brings some soft skills outside the remit such as a proven record in negotiation techniques, you might want to use this to your business advantage further down the line. Candidates who perform well on paper may not do so in person and vice versa.

Image from Pexels

Trust Your Gut

If you interview someone who seems like the perfect person but you just don’t seem able to connect with them, that feeling is perfectly valid and should not be ignored. If your business is small and you’re going to be spending quite a lot of time together then finding a candidate you click with is vital for operational success.

The same can be said for a candidate who may have only ticked the basics when it came to the job description but shows a strong ability to adapt and learn and who you can see fitting into the ethos of your business.

Build In Some Wriggle Room

Whoever you hire you want to be sure that they are fully on board with your vision for the company and share your overall goals and short-term objectives to reach that end point. With that in mind, it’s perfectly valid to build in a six month, or less, probation period agreed to by both parties. At the end of this period, either party can step away from the role for whatever reason with no recriminations.

If that does happen, then taking some time to learn what went wrong and why is a crucial part of the learning process and will help you to avoid making the same mistakes again.

When you’ve made the right hire once, the subsequent times will become easier and easier as you figure out how to make the recruitment process work for you and become more discerning at narrowing down the right candidates.

The benefits of building a strong team are tangible. Having people on your side who share your determination and drive will give you a real boost in productivity and should help to take some of the load off of your own shoulders. Being the boss might not be natural at first but when you’re all pulling in the right direction, you’ll be glad you made the decision to let go a little of the responsibility and allowed others to help take the strain.

Interface: Creating A Computer Literate Team

Three of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money, Business/Entrepreneurship and Technology. In today’s digital age, computer literacy is critical to working on any staff in any organization. It therefore becomes very important to create a computer literate team. The following contributed post is thus entitled; Interface: Creating A Computer Literate Team.

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(Image Source)

As time goes on, computers are playing an increasingly central role in the work which businesses have to do. With most of the data your company uses being stored on machines like this, and all of the software you need to do your job having to have them to run, it’s impossible to avoid filling your offices and back rooms with devices like this. Of course, though, it isn’t enough to simply have the hardware. Along with this, you also need to have a team of people who all have the skills to do their jobs. To help you in achieving this goal, this post will be exploring the steps which have to be taken to make someone computer literate.

Learning

This all hard to start with some learning, as these sorts of machines aren’t exactly easy to use when you first get started. Thankfully, there are loads of companies out there offering basic computer courses in a range of different topics. This makes it possible to tailor the learning your employees go through to the work which it will be applied to when all is said and done. There aren’t many fields out there which allow you to be so specific.

Practice

Practice is important when it comes to learning anything, and technology is no exception. If your employees don’t have computers at home, they need a chance to have some fun and explore them properly while they are at work. Nothing is scarier than the unknown, and this can quickly be wiped away once your team all know how they’re supposed to do their jobs. Of course, this is the same with most of the tools your company uses.

Confidence

It’s easy to become worried about using computers when you’re told that viruses are dangerous, files can be lost, and the machines are fragile. While all of this is true, though, it doesn’t mean that they will break when you’re using them for normal jobs. It’s worth working hard to make sure that your employees have the right skills when it comes to computers, but it’s also crucial that they feel confident enough to use them.

Support

Finally, as the last area to consider, it’s time to think about the support your teams can get while they are working. There is nothing which boosts confidence more than knowing that you have a professional waiting to give you a hand whenever you need it, and outsourced IT support has become a huge market because of it. Of course, though, you need to read plenty of reviews before choosing a company like this, as they will all offer different levels of service.

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to get started on the time you put into building a computer literate team for your business. A lot of companies struggle in this area, finding it hard to know where to turn when their teams are bad with these machines. Of course, though, this never has to be the case, especially when you’re willing to put some time into making it better.

Lasting lessons basketball taught me part three: People, teamwork, mental toughness and leadership

This article is the continuation of the series titled the Lasting lessons basketball taught me. Part three will discuss some of the valuable lessons I learned about people, teamwork, mental toughness, and leadership – all of which have implications for succeeding in any group mission and functioning on a team – key aspects in the workplace and in all relationships.

An important life lesson basketball taught me is that people come and go in and out of your life for any number of reasons. In workplaces, there are always going to be people who are unhappy, distraught and discouraged. They may feel that they’re not being used enough, used properly, or are just being overlooked – sometimes for someone who is favored by management. There are always people who feel passed over for promotions that they just knew that they were qualified for, or entitled to get.

In other instances they may feel that they aren’t being given the chance to succeed. This can lead to frustration and even quitting altogether. Once they’ve quit, they may even try to convince you to do the same, but if you’re content where you are, you have to stay and continue to press on in your current station. Malcontents can become cancers that poison their teams. This is something that goes for both platonic and romantic relationships as well.

Regarding teamwork, basketball taught me that the most talented team doesn’t always win, which is always fun to watch when it happens (but not to experience firsthand). When the 2003-04 Detroit Pistons beat the Los Angeles Lakers to win the NBA Championship, they weren’t the more talented team. They were an assembly of interchangeable parts that no one else wanted. They were able to put their egos aside, played together unselfishly, and they bought into a common philosophy while the Lakers fought amongst themselves, and allowed their egos to divide them.

Oh, and speaking of selfishness and unselfishness, just as in basketball, it’s a lot more fun to play with unselfish players than it is to play with selfish players. The same goes for coworkers, friends and significant others. When you feel as though someone is willing to share, respects you, and has your best interests at heart, you tend to want to do more for them. When you’re working with someone whose only concern is their own self-interests, it makes for a difficult partnership.

Basketball taught me that whenever you’re setting out to do something of meaning and substance, you have to be mentally strong as you’ll have to endure criticism and doubt – often from people who are on the sidelines watching. Sometimes it’s because they aren’t doing anything themselves. Sometimes they wish they were doing what it is you’re doing. In some cases they wish they had the opportunity to do what you’re doing. Whate9ver the case, mental strength allows you to keep going through it all.

Basketball taught me that, being a part of a distinct and visible group (like the basketball team) will put a bullseye on your back, and people will ‘gun’ for you even if you haven’t done anything to them. Later in life you may become a: Doctor, a Lawyer, a Division Director, a Manager of some sort, the President of the United States, or even just someone with a lot of responsibility. Once you achieve that level, people will inevitably watch and scrutinize your moves and you have to be ready for that.

“The team, the team, the team,” legendary University of Michigan Head Football Coach Bo Schembechler stressed to his team in one of his most famous pre-game speeches. Schembechler was a wise Coach who came to realize that each player was different, and needed to be motivated differently. Basketball likewise taught me that for any team, whether it’s two people or ten, solid leadership is paramount for any long-term and continued success. Strong leadership can be the difference between members of a team coalescing and becoming their best selves, or falling apart into bits and pieces.

Lastly, not every leader leads the same way. That goes for: athletics, government, the corporate world or any other arena in life that requires teamwork. I didn’t understand this aspect of leadership as a teen on my high school basketball team. Then, a couple of years ago I watched ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary titled I Hate Christian Laettner – a story about Duke University’s most storied college basketball player, and arguably the best college basketball player of all time whom few people outside of the Duke fan base liked – his teammates included.

It turned out that Laettner was a bit of bully towards teammates – particularly Bobby Hurley, and Grant Hill who resented him at times. There was a method behind his madness though. It was his way of challenging them, making them tougher, and pulling out their best play. Sometimes leaders just want to see how driven and mentally strong you are, and how you’ll respond under pressure. Rising to the test ultimately creates a much, much stronger team.

This article will be continued in part four of the Lasting lessons basketball taught me. If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy:

Lasting lessons basketball taught me part one: An introduction
Lasting lessons basketball taught me part two: Life lessons
Jason Rowe discusses Buffalo Traditional Basketball, the Yale Cup and State Tournaments
Chris Herren discusses his journey, drug addiction, substance abuse and wellness

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