How to Build a Management Team

By Branch, Roger | New Zealand Management, May 2008 | Go to article overview

How to Build a Management Team


Branch, Roger, New Zealand Management


Have you ever worked as part of a high-performance team, or have you ever watched a high-performance sports or professional team in action? Most of you will say yes--which means that you probably know a lot about management teams intuitively. What follows is a reminder, or a recipe, of some effective and common sense approaches to building a high-performance management team--an action which can make a dramatic impact on your business.

Building a management team is a two-step process. Step one is to hire brilliantly. You need to start with the best raw materials. Step two is to manage brilliantly. If you want the benefits of synergy and teamwork, you need to set the stage for success by measuring and encouraging the right behaviours.

To hire brilliantly, first realise that there's a huge difference between an A+ player and a B+ player, especially in key positions such as leadership, finance, and sales. To manage brilliantly is to create the structure and systems that result in a culture of excellence in which teamwork is expected and necessary. You can hire world-class talent, but to get the best out of people requires that you challenge people, improve your processes, become a learning organisation, and get people working together to create synergy.

The following will explore how you can do both.

FIVE TIPS TO HIRING BRILLIANTLY

[1] PLAN STRATEGICALLY Think long-term about your business. What business are you in? Why are you in business? What are the intermediate and long term goals? What are your strategies to achieve these goals? Gaining clarity around these questions will enable you to explain your business to customers, employees, and prospective new team members.

[2] THINK SYNERGY In building a team, think about the skill and knowledge mix you'll need to achieve your goals. Identify the gaps and plan to fill them. The basic functions are sales, sourcing, supply chain, marketing, and finance. You might also consider acquisitions, learning, and information management as key areas. Make sure your team has these areas covered, and allow some overlap to promote synergy and teaming.

[3] ENGAGE OTHERS When planning your staffing needs, involve your existing team. Solicit and use their input regarding the knowledge, skills, and attributes needed. Involve people during the interview stage. Gaining buy-in during the selection process is the first step in building teamwork.

[4] HIRE FORWARD Plan to hire people with the level and skills you'll need not just now, but three years from now. Hiring forward will ensure that you are acquiring the skills and smarts to manage the business not just as it is today, but as it will be. …

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