Every successful company starts with an idea. But, an idea is just an idea until there is a team that can take it from concept to reality. Great workers – talented workers – are hard to come by. By finding and hiring good talent, companies not only save themselves money, but can maintain a full, happy and efficient staff. Without a team, failure is inevitable. It’s stupid to think that you can build a business all by yourself. It’s simply not possible. If you have aspirations and dreams, reaching them without the support, critique, and insight of other talented individuals is extremely difficult. A team is a network, a support group, and a think tank. It is incredibly important that you pick the right people to be a part of your team.
Recruitment isn’t like it was in the olden days. Business development is networking and making personal contacts to make your company known to decision makers in your target agencies. When investors give the CEO the task of creating a team, there is an incredible amount of pressure on the CEO to round up and hire people who will perform exceptionally. Easier said than done. Many times conflicting interests, budget constraints, and/or other job offers can make recruiting very challenging. But, in the age of the social network, job networking has become increasingly faster and easier. Many companies hire through their established online social channels; they use sites like Monster.com and LinkedIn to network, recruit and hire. Additionally, many CEOs rely on their personal address books, friends, and previous co-workers to stack their new team. Employees the CEO may hire belong on your “bus” — a term coined by Jim Collins in the 3rd chapter of his book Good to Great. Jim Collins wants us to imagine there is a bus. As the CEO, you must fill the bus up with people to start, run, grow and innovate your business. Additionally, in an ever-changing, dynamic world, good team members must understand multiple aspects of business, technology, marketing, production, and sales. They are agile and adaptive. “They are indispensable utility players,” says Wat Tyler, Strategic Account Manager at Ultimate Software. But, mind you there is a difference between the terms indispensable and irreplaceable. “As they say, everyone can be replaced. But to be indispensable means that you are so good and efficient at your job, that your boss and co-workers don’t want to imagine replacing you,” says Amy Hoover, president of Talent Zoo. “You are the go-to person they count on; the one who simply gets things done.”
A Forbes Article, talks about the 5 people critical to a businesses success: 1) The Leader, 2) The Expert, 3) The Financial Guru, 4) The Strategist, and 5) The Executer. As individuals, we must specialize. The world is too big and the information in it is too vast to be a expert in each and every field. The only way that we can be effective workers and thinkers is if we can dive deep into a subject — learning the ins and outs of the entire field. Companies run via their leader, envision via their expert, stay afloat via the financial guru, plan via the strategist, and become marketable via the executioner.
A business leader is fearless — ready to lead their team head first into whatever may confront them. Leaders are organized individuals who can foster morale, appreciate success, and manage a larger team of employees. “The best leaders recognize a common purpose, shared values, and aligned vision are the hallmarks of any great organization. These three elements set the foundation for a sustainable culture. Great leaders create culture by design, while average leaders allow culture to evolve by default,” says Mike Myatt in his article on Forbes.
Experts are made, they aren’t born. “The development of genuine expertise requires struggle, sacrifice, and honest, often painful self-assessment. There are no shortcuts. It will take you at least a decade to achieve expertise, and you will need to invest that time wisely, by engaging in “deliberate” practice—practice that focuses on tasks beyond your current level of competence and comfort” (HBR: The Making of an Expert). An expert is the product leader that understands the in and outs of the product, the industry, the competitors, and the new and old trends.
The financial guru has one of the most important jobs in a company. It may not be a leadership or creative roll, but the finance guru makes sure that the company has enough contracts and revenue to pay its bills. As Warren Buffett says, “risk comes from not knowing what you are doing.” Spending wisely, saving on expenses, and keeping accurate, up-to-date books are the job of a financial expert. The finance team is responsible for keeping the company afloat, producing and approving product, travel, and other company expenses. A financial guru may allocate certain parts of the budget based upon the strategist’s goals and business strategy. Cynthia A. Montgomery explains “A great strategy, in short, is not a dream or a lofty idea, but rather the bridge between the economics of a market, the ideas at the core of a business, and action. To be sound, that bridge must rest on a foundation of clarity and realism, and it also needs a real operating sensibility.”
Many companies now hire and look for Chief Strategy Officer’s (CSO) to fill multiple rolls within an organization. An article from MIT says, “Our findings identified a significant demarcation between whether the CSO was focused on the formulation of the strategy or the execution of the strategy. The second dimension of variation was how the CSO engaged in the strategy process.” The CSO is critical to the vision of the company. As businesses grow, especially start-up businesses, a profitable revenue strategy, a viable product strategy, an effective QA strategy, and an efficient customer service strategy are absolutely mandatory in creating a lucrative brand. Merriam Webster defines strategy as “a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time; an adaptation or complex of adaptations.” Brands have a compelling story to tell the world. Often brand messages get lost through communication of the wrong messages, because brands may use the wrong communication channels or not know the real wants and needs of their target group. Brand strategists and CSO’s help identify and fix inconsistencies and inefficiencies to permit brand growth.
The executor (or Producer) follows a project from inception to completion, assuming responsibility for day-to-day management of the project workflow. Executors’ can be responsible for project timeline, operation, assets, and the overall quality of the final deliverables. “There needs to be someone… on site and involved, to act as conductor to a disparate orchestra,” says Susie Innes in her article on Advertising Week Social Club. A producer is the conductor. Execution of concept and strategy is critical to business and campaign success. Producers are people who can pay attention to every detail, be able to lay down the law, haggle, and understand multiple aspects of the industry, but also know how to be a patient client-facing project and production organizers.
I’m believe that the Forbes article overlooks one roll — the creative. Our creative capacity as human beings is immense and unquantifiable. The goal: to create something beautifully simple. They concept (brainstorm), copy-write, and generate a campaign idea based in an audience and brand strategy. The final creative executions must take head to the brand strategy and art direction by showing the production in a favorable light achieving a particular goal and making the consumer feel a certain way. In this way, creatives have a very hard job. They have to be the brands channel of interaction with the world of consumers. Creative’s must be a part of pop culture, up on current world and industry news, and underground/up-and-coming media; creatives must think, adapt, and execute their ideas in a professional yet personable manner.
And think — as your business grows each of these individual rolls become teams. If your company proves to be successfully, expansion within each of these rolls is necessary to reach full potential as a person and as a business. Larger agencies and organizations “are well oiled machines, because they don’t survive unless they are. There is a process, the rolls are defined, and that is the way it is done” says Jon Sisenwein. By contrast, in smaller teams, many of these jobs will overlap and people will take on cross-business rolls. Smaller businesses run using a more agile approach. More on this later.
These days, degrees are a dime a dozen. Jobs standards are higher than ever, requiring incredible amounts of experience from even those just graduating from college. Having a degree in hand does not guarantee you a career immediately post graduation, but is essential to a persons’ success. One common reason people seek a degree from higher education is to get out of a dead-end job. But in light of a recent recession in the United States many college grads have been left unemployed, taking even the low-wage jobs away from those less educated. Others look at tough times as a hurdle they must jump over to take the next step towards their dream career. I believe that the high influx of degrees among young individuals leads to two things: more competent, smarter employees and more happily placed graduates. Having a degree often means having an actual career rather than punching the clock to pay the bills. Within a highly saturated and incredibly competitive job market, success follows those who step out of their comfort zone who are looking accomplish something better. Entrepreneurs know that for every startup success story, there are thousands that never make it out of the garage. Making and developing an effective team gives you that upper edge within an ever so saturated job market. As successful entrepreneurs and college grads, we must network, network, network more than ever before. We must create our own success and go after our dreams.