The People Have The Power

When you’re building a company, there are many factors that affect your success, but none are as important as the people who surround you.  To quote Patti Smith, “The People Have The Power”!  The people make the company.  You may have the greatest idea in the world, but if you don’t have the right team, it will be difficult to create success.

Sometimes hiring decisions are a well-thought-out process, and sometimes they’re catch as catch can. You can make good hires both ways, but when you make a bad hire, you have to be willing to recognize it, make a change and move on or risk the ongoing effects of that kind of hire.  Regardless of the good or bad decisions you make during hiring -- and trust me when I say you’ll make plenty of both -- there are some things you can do to make sure you’re always improving and always working your way to the top. 

Upgrade Your Talent

The first thing is always being on the lookout for upgrading your talent.  Someone once told me a baseball analogy I thought made great sense: You always want to be looking to upgrade your 8 and 9 hitters in the lineup.   These are typically your weakest hitters, and you want to be rotating in stronger players from the bottom of the order, putting more pressure on your earlier hitters to perform. 



Never rest on your laurels and the team you already have,  when you can be doing your best to improve at all times.  The competition isn’t sitting idly by, so why should you?  If you’re always looking to bring smart people on to your team, and the right opportunity comes across your plate to do so, you should take it.  Don’t break the bank to do it, but if you can make it happen,  it can work out well.  Strong, intelligent people have a positive effect on the people around them, helping to shine a light on the people who aren’t pulling their weight simply by being around.

Share Information

The second most important thing about the collective intelligence of your company is to make sure you create a culture that allows for the sharing of information.  This goes for everything, good and bad. Sharing information actually achieves two goals.  First, “all ships rise with the tide” in terms of everyone getting smarter when the entire group gets smarter.  Second, if you see the same people making the same mistakes, or if there is a portion of your team who is routinely quiet during these interactions, then you can quickly uncover the weakest links in your company. Those weakest links are either painfully shy and need to be worked with, or they may need to be weeded out.  The sharing of information can help you uncover these challenges and allow you to define the solution.

Performance Reviews and Performance Discussions

It goes almost without saying, but regular performance reviews and even simple performance discussions among peers and managers can help provide feedback for an employee, giving them a recurring baseline from which to evaluate and improve their performance. 

There are very few people who can succeed in a vacuum.  If you don’t give them regular feedback, then you can’t possibly expect success. People are social by nature, and that social interaction requires feedback from peers.  The same goes in a corporate environment -- you have to provide feedback to people so they know where they stand.  Too many companies forget, or overlook, performance reviews, and when they do they perform a disservice to everyone in the organization.  Don’t ever overlook these processes.

Keeping a team in tip-top shape is the most important task for any manager. If the team works well, then the company will perform.  Your people are the engine behind your business and you need them performing to the best of their ability. The benefits of paying attention to your people far, far outweigh the additional workload that comes with this focus.

Wouldn’t you agree?  What has your experience been with corporate teamwork? Let me know on the Spin Board!

1 comment about "The People Have The Power".
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  1. Geoffrey Shenk from Superfish, May 16, 2012 at 1:59 p.m.

    Great article and points here Cory. Not much to comment on as you nailed it. If you don't invest and pay attention to your people, your business won't grow and you will have no one to blame but yourself. If you invest and cultivate, you will all reap the rewards.

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