Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Bedside Reading: Finding the Right Fit for a Team

A manager's greatest fear is making a bad hire. A student's worst fear is being part of a failing team. This recommended reading conquers these fears with practical tips for finding and building great teams.
What I (Re)read in September: Oldies but Goodies
Each month I choose a topic or theme I'd like to explore in greater depth. The following month, here on the blog, I then share key takeaways. In August, it was interior design, specifically spaces in which women create. (I raided my mom's library for my picks.) In September, I reached for business management books. If this month's reading wasn't to your liking, check back next month for a topic/theme on the lighter side: food styling. Let me know if you'd like to read along with me and I'll share the books ahead of time.
Six months ago, my team really hit its groove. To amplify our impact on the organization, we added a new position and started recruiting. The books I chose were all written in the late 1990s/early 2000s and have survived multiple moves (including three cross country drives). They're books I frequently re-read and continue to learn more from.

Steps for Finding Happy Productive Team Members

  1. Identify the talents that are the prerequisites for excellence in the role. A talent is any recurring pattern of thought, feeling, or behavior that can be productively applied.
  2. Narrow the prerequisite talents down to three critical talents: one striving (maps to why a person does something), one thinking (maps to how a person does something), and one relating talent that a person must have to be successful. If these three talents are missing, no matter how much you like a candidate, move on.
  3. Balance the strengths and weaknesses of other team members.
  4. Interview with open-ended questions that have multiple directions in which a person can go. With "Tell me about a time" questions, note the first response -- not your guided follow up. If you have to probe repeatedly, the behavior you're looking for is not a talent. Remember talents is a recurring behavior; talents should appear consistently -- again and again -- in a person's answers.
  5. Categorize weaknesses appropriately. Area of low skills or knowledge can be affected; a nontalent cannot be.
If you're interested in reading these books, they're still available online:
  1. 12 Views from Women's Eyes: Managing the New Majority (*affiliate link, previously read copies)
  2. First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently (*affiliate link)
  3. Now, Discover Your Strengths (*affiliate link)
Got any team creation tips you recommend?
Ciao Bella!
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This post contains affiliate links, identified with (*affiliate link) following the linked text. I feature products that I own or that I am considering purchasing regardless of referral fees. I own all of the books featured in this post. All opinions presented are my own.
Credits: All images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.