Teamwork is critical to building a successful business or reaching certain goals. Successful entrepreneurs engage a brain trust of mentors and advisors who coach them for free, and they develop strategic partnerships with individuals and businesses.
Nearly all of the entrepreneurs I met built a brain trust and strategic partnerships, even if they were operating a solo company. If they were growing a larger business, they also built a team of full-time partners. For example, my book TEMP-Coaching was written together with my brain trust partner Jürgen Schimmel I did not know before starting the project.
Building your brain trust
The larger and more diverse your brain trust, the more successful you’ll be in your business. So how do you find these people? I have put together a simple process (please also refer to the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill who spoke about the idea of a brain trust first – as far as I know).
Complete a detailed inventory of the critical skills needed in your business or purpose you want to build a brain trust for. For example, some businesses are very labor intensive, while others are sales intensive. Some require manufacturing and quality control, and others require eCommerce, information technology, and social media. For my book I wanted an experienced author having published books already to ease and speed up the publishing process.
Conduct an honest evaluation of your own skills relative to the critical skills needed in your business. What skills do you have for reaching your goals? In other words, what are your strengths and weaknesses relative to your profile of required skills? Knowing this will help reveal the gaps you need to fill with advisors and team members. I wanted to write as much as possible myself and do the research for the content. But I was weak in knowledge of what needs to be done to publish the book after writing it.
Select one or two primary mentors/partners who are willing to help. These are often friends, family members, or colleagues who are willing to take your calls and meet with you regularly. It’s best if they understand business, have a large pool of contacts, and are passionate about what you are doing. My strategy was to browse my networks (consulting network, coaching federation, online networking platforms) and to look for someone being an author already.
Building your core team(s)
When I had the idea of writing a book it was clear I’d eventually need knowledge in the publishing field. So I sat down and thought about the characteristics of an author. I came to the conclusion that I would need someone not just to assist with publishing. He or she was needed to speak about the content, too.
After my research in my networks I had some emails with “prospects”. Jürgen was the first to write back and called immediately. He liked the idea of this project and was excited that I would like to “give flesh to the bones”. Since he was involved in a long term project he did not have a lot of time to actually type. So I decided to take a “sabbatical” of 3 months to research and type the whole thing. We had regular calls and two meetings over the weekend. These were really effective and fun ones – we only had the goal of this project in mind and loved the different working approach of each of us. Around mid of Januray 2016 the draft was done and we could contact the publisher.
Just like my experience with Jürgen, the entrepreneurs I spoke with over the past years chose team members primarily based on character. Since many of them run smaller companies or wanted a brain trust partner for poersonal growth, they can’t afford to have noxious people in their brain trust team. They tend to look for decent people first and skills second. So quality of character has to be a major emphasis when finding team members.
Most important, your team members should be passionate about your purpose, share your values, and fit the culture you’re trying to create. Nothing is more exciting than like-minded people enjoying the entrepreneurial experience together. And a highly motivated team with a common purpose will always go farther and faster than any individual working alone. So the best hiring strategy for an exciting brain trust is purpose first, character second, and finally, skills third.
Post from Richard