Who’s Got the Right Stuff for Your Team?

If you want to scale your business, you must scale your team.

Sounds simple in theory but, in fact, it’s not. Almost every founder I talk to lists finding the “right” people to hire as one of their biggest challenges.

Why? Are there not enough talented candidates out there? Or is it a question of “cultural fit”?

According to Inc Magazine’s 2020 CEO Survey, 34% of candidates are not a “cultural fit”. Why do I keep putting that in quotes? Because, really what does that mean? Conceptually, we think we get it, but too often what we are really talking about is a gut reaction.

For me, it’s about value add to team dynamics that achieves peak performance.

A Trip to the Fitting Room

In an episode of The Transformative Leader, a podcast hosted by Amir Ghannad, guest Brett Putter, Founder and CEO of CultureGene, a culture development platform, suggests it’s not about a cultural fit. Your culture evolves as your team grows, but you need values fit. Values are more consistent overtime.

The truth is all too often our assessment of “fit” is really a question of our gut reaction to someone’s personality. Yet, we all know intuition or gut = birds of a feather = we are drawn to people like us. That dynamic ¹ scaling.

Sure, we work better with those we like or, better yet, those we don’t want to murder. (I can’t take credit for that phraseology but 100%, HELL YESSSS).

Personality matters. Personality links to, or reflects, values.

Personality is the Key

Beyond the right skills and experience, a strong work ethic and commitment to the company’s goals (or mission), it’s about personality.

It’s about someone adding value to the team dynamic; an energetic synergy or multiplier.

One’s personality is a function of their patterns of feeling, thinking, or behaving.

Meaning during interviews you need to ask questions that get beyond skills and experience. If you value ambition and entrepreneurial spirit, is someone a self-starter?

Perhaps in an interview, you ask them to describe a difficult problem or challenging situation and how they managed it. Then provide feedback. How does someone emotionally react to feedback? Are they receptive, do they ask questions and ask for suggestions how to improve, or do they shut down?

The Right Mix?

A 2012 study conducted by Google, seeking to understand how to build the “perfect team”, found that it’s not the “who”, it’s not the individual, but the team. The group dynamics or norms.

While there are many studies that seemingly contradict that position, I am not sure they really do. The general conclusions suggest that individual personality matters, yes, but it’s in so far as its impact on their role within the team.

That is, how it impacts their ability to execute on their responsibilities or produce their best work. A whole bunch of individual superstars does not equal peak performance. A team of Michael Jordan’s does not mean champion

You must get the mix right to benefit from the potential synergies. To drive thinking, innovation, execution, process, strategy, collaboration, etc. For example, it could be the right mix of right-brain and left-brain people. Or the right mix of introverts and extroverts.

Teamwork makes the dreamwork. Sorry to conclude with a cliché but it fits!

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Kate Carney

I help women entrepreneurs scale businesses. I am a business consultant and legal advisor.