HOW TO: Build a Winning Team
One of the best compliments I get as CEO of Liz King Events is that I have an amazing team. Anyone who comes in contact with our team is always impressed and finds it easy to trust them to do what they say they’re going to do. I have to say – the thing I’m most proud of is the team. But how did we get so lucky? What did we do that is different? Rather than having high turn over rates and under-performing employees, we have a team that is motivated, passionate and completely sold out for the cause. I’m always asked how I brought this team together and while there is definitely a component of luck, I did put together a few things that were conscious decisions. Perhaps sharing these with you will help you build a winning team for your company or event too!
WORK WITH FRIENDS
Everyone says it’s a bad idea to work with family and friends and I generally agree. It’s easy to forget boundaries, hard to correct bad behavior and generally more difficult and emotional than working with strangers. That being said, I don’t think it’s a horrible idea all around. For example, Ed and I have been friends for 10 years. When he learned about the business back in 2010, I invited him to come to one of our events. He jumped in and was working the room like he had been working with me for years. He has always been a great sounding board and we’ve still remained friends. I won’t say there aren’t challenges with working with friends – we certainly have learned new sides of each other. However, when you respect your friends and trust their perspective, you can work through anything. Thankfully, he’s seen my worst sides and hasn’t left me… yet! 🙂 I also work with my sister frequently. She knows everything about me, including what I am OCD about. This means that she has an eye out for things that really matter to me. While she mostly helps on-site at events, her input is invaluable because she takes care of all the little details she knows matter to me – something only a sister would know after dealing with me for 30 years.
HIRE FOR PASSION
When we brought on Kelly, I will admit I didn’t know how we would make it happen. We were/are a very small company, but I knew we had to work with her. Kelly was a faithful volunteer at LKE events. She became our most trusted volunteer and was always someone we relied on. She was looking for work and the fit was definitely right so we made it work. She has been a great addition to the team – she fits in with our personalities and is passionate about the industry. We were able to discover these things about her as she worked alongside us in the volunteer capacity which made the hire even easier. Kelly’s passion was easy to read and the way she supported our team in a unpaid role was incredibly important and was key to her being brought on the team full time.
I will admit that Ed is better at this than I am, but one of the reasons our team is so rockstar is that we empower each other to work within our strengths. As we identified that Ed is a kickass copywriter, he gets more involved in those tasks. Knowing Kelly is passionate about photography, we can leverage her creative/visual eye to make our events even better. When you attend an LKE event, you’re seeing the culmination of our team’s focus areas. Rather than trying to micromanage every single project, I try to let everyone live where they are most comfortable and have the most joy. In doing this, we can ensure that the team is more self-motivated and is involved in growing the business, not just doing tasks that keep us going.
At the end of the day, building a team is an art, not a science. You have to learn to trust the people who work for you. Once you’ve decided to bring someone on to the team, you must invest your time into getting to know them (in and out of the office), creating a work environment they will enjoy and fostering their skills. If you can focus on building a great team, your business will inevitably flourish. The energy of a great team is contagious and you better believe it’s attractive to your clients!