One of the most difficult elements of owning your own business is to spot the right talent for your company.
I found this really hard when starting out as I was worried that I would not have the right people to make the business work. I used to wake up in the middle of the night trying to put together ideas as to how to best spot talent and then use it wisely.
What I did was created a two-pronged attack to stave off the worry.
Firstly I looked back into my working life at all of the people that I respected, trusted and who had done brilliant work for me before and approached them to see if they would be willing to work as associates for me on a “pay as you go basis”.
To my surprise, everyone I asked was very comfortable doing this and keen to share in the development of programmes and high-level consultancy. We soon built up an excellent reputation as all of the associates were experts in their field.
I did review the team from time to time and if it was not working out with any of them we parted company but 95% of the associates have worked for me for the duration of the business and some I have yet to use.
Secondly, when looking for an office and administration team, I needed not just people who could do the job that I wanted, but people who had a passion, could think for themselves and above all could critically appraise what we were doing and not be afraid to point out issues and elements that they did not think fit with the business.
I slowly constructed a team of unusual people, all passionate about the things that we did or quickly became passionate about them. All who were able to work as self-starters and really the most unlikely group of people you would think would be a team.
However, what they all have in common is the wellbeing of the company, I can trust them even though some work from home, others are many miles away, some never come into the office but collectively they are a hugely strong resource.
Spotting this talent was not as difficult as I thought but I had to bear five things in mind.
- Don’t judge a book by its cover, blue hair, tattoos, and gothic looks are not a deal breaker, they are a creative addition to the team.
- Look for the passion. The talent comes from the driver of the person. If they have huge drive they will be a potent force.
- Don’t look for people who are either like you or you like because they say what you want them to.
- Silence is a thinking time, if they are not filling all of the conversation gaps, they may be thinking and one great sentence is worth fifty shallow ones.
- Test them, bring them into an alien and pressured situation and see how they act. The reflectors do the best and those who just get on with it.
These were hard lessons to learn but talent comes from the most unusual sources and so far my team has proved a great success.
I don’t run my company, they do and without them, we would not be the potent force that we are today.