By Adam Witty
The past two days I have spent a lot of time thinking about goals and teams. I just returned from an annual mastermind retreat in which I huddled with six other entrepreneurs from the Charleston region to talk about growing businesses. This is an annual event to which I always look forward. A common theme, year in and year out, is the destination we have set for our organizations and the current team assembled and future team required to achieve the set growth goals.
At Advantage, I have set a five-year BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) to grow from 100 books published per year to 1,000 books published per year by December 31, 2018. Setting a big goal for an organization can be very powerful. For momentum to build and to put your organization in a place to achieve the goal, you MUST build a team of competent and capable people.
As any organization grows, the job of leadership moves from doing to delegating. Furthermore, the job of the leader increasingly becomes more about recruiting the right people to join a team. Marc Benioff, the Founder & CEO of Salesforce.com, a multi-billion dollar company says that he spends 10-20 percent of every week focused on recruiting and hiring. In other words, building a team of A-players.
This doesn’t just apply to big companies. I remember interviewing Advantage author Steve Gilliland many years ago. Steve has successfully built a seven-figure speaking business, a feat few speakers ever accomplish. I asked Steve, “what was the most important decision you ever made in your business.” Without hesitation, Steve replied, “I hired my first employee.” He went on to say that it would have been much easier to put that $40K into his pocket, but he knew to build his business, he needed more people rowing the boat than just him.
Advantage author Jack Daly, another seven-figure professional speaker likes to say, “If you don’t have an assistant, you are an assistant!” Jack comments that he is continually amazed at the number of entrepreneurs, speakers, and authors who are too cheap to hire and delegate. Instead, they try to keep a little bit more money in their pocket and do everything themselves, never really getting ahead.
With 22 full-time team members at Advantage, I now realize that I am in the people business. It is my job as CEO to recruit, hire, nurture, and grow great people, people who can make a difference and help take our organization to the next level. As we enter the second quarter of 2014, I would suggest asking yourself if you have the right team you need to get your business to where you want it to be? If the answer is not a resounding yes, then you might want to get started now.
Building a team is a process, never an event. You will always be working at this. If you are growing rapidly, you will constantly be hiring new “net” additions. If your organization is more mature, you should always be thinking about upgrading your team, no different than the GM of a professional sports team. Building a great team is the most important job that any entrepreneur has.