How to Pick the Team

Wed, 2012-03-07 08:32 -- tomjonez

Teamwork - Part III
In the past two weeks we have confirmed the value and power of teamwork.  Today we turn to a key action step for developing effective teams: Selection.
Selecting the right people for the team is a critical step.  Great team players can make powerful contributions to the mission of the organization; whereas even one poor choice can seriously derail the entire effort.  With that in mind, here are three key attributes to keep in mind when selecting team members.  They are listed in priority of importance.
Attitude:  We list attitude first because it is not only most important, it is also the hardest factor to change in another human being.  So we encourage leaders to stack the team with people who have great attitude – people who are problem solvers not simply problem finders; people who say “can-do” rather than can-not; can learn vs. don’t-know how.” A great attitude can spur team achievement; a poor one demoralize the who team.  Hire the attitude first.
Appearance:  Second in importance is professionalism in presentation – both personally in with the quality of the person’s work-product. Appearance is listed second because it can be coached and changed.  It’s a tricky conversation and can cause an unintended offense - so it’s not a knock-down…but, with some tact and diplomacy, appearance issues can be changed (unlike attitude deficiencies).  Look at and look for professionalism in this area of a potential team-member’s qualifications.
Aptitude: This is purposely listed last. Wh-a-a-at?  Skills are least important??? Aptitude should be considered behind the priorities of attitude and appearance???  Yes. Absolutely.  Because a person with a great attitude and professional personal concern for appearance can be taught applicable skills.  It’s as simple as that.  Just reverse it for a minute:  A person joins the team who has “great skills” – skills that the team needs. But they are sloppy and have a sour attitude.  Guess what?  No surprise.  Such people can be a constant pain in the axle, causing team momentum to roll to a grinding halt.  Better to hire the attitude and appearance - and then train for the appropriate skill-set.  Big time truth.
OK, that’s it for now.  I don’t like to have these blogs get too wordy.  But I am really curious to hear what you think of these three priorities: Attitude, Appearance, and Aptitude.  Does your leadership experience generally confirm these ideas? What do you look for when selecting members for your team?  Email me and let me know your thoughts.