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Building An Extraordinary Team

I’m just back from 10 days of leading Intensives – a 4PC Intensive, followed by The Fearless Coaching Intensive, with a team training day in the middle.

I was worn out – until I spent five hours last Monday at a spa.

Did you know that you could pay someone to scrub your body whilst lying on a bed in a huge shower for an hour? I had no idea! It was incredible.

I wrote the following article because so many of our community have been asking me how I have built such an extraordinary team.

In fact, a client just wrote to me during the last Intensive:

I watched you in our first leadership circle and just allowed your ability to receive to touch my heart.

Allowing others to help me… Giving them the gift of supporting me… Giving them the gift of giving to me… Creating a team of reliable and genius support… Creating volunteers who just wanna help (and who are amazing)… That all feels so impossible, right now.

29 INSIGHTS ON CREATING AND CURATING AN EXTRAORDINARY TEAM

Things were definitely not always this way, so I began to draw on my lessons over the past few years:

1. I DON’T NEED HELP!

I’m an entrepreneur, I’m a bootstrapper, and I’ve been run for a long time by the secret belief that I can do any task better than almost anyone I know!

So, for most of my life I wasn’t very good at receiving…

This way of building a team and a business was years in the making.

2. I LOVE LEADERSHIP

I was a team leader in the Boy Scouts! And I learned to be a team leader through years of helping to run schools.

I read dozens and dozens of books on leaders over the years. I took lots of leadership trainings. And I learned to train leaders.

It’s where I honed my deep belief that the job of a leader is to create more leaders not more followers.

3. I RAN AWAY FROM LEADERSHIP

After I was fired from a job back in 2004, I hid from leadership for close to a decade.

Me, on my own was easy.

No way to fail. No way to let people down. No one else’s mission to have to get aboard (whether I believed in it or not).

The only true test of leadership is to turn around and see if anyone is following. And it was a dawning realization that a community of first coaches and then also entrepreneurs were showing up that had me know that I needed support if I was going to create something bigger in the world.

4. IF YOU HAVE A MISSION YOU CAN ACCOMPLISH ON YOUR OWN, YOU’RE NOT DREAMING BIG ENOUGH

My friend, Jeanine Becker said those words to me on a trip to Liberia a couple of years ago. And she changed my life.

I knew it was time to CONSCIOUSLY build an extremely powerful team.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

It wasn’t always like that…

5. WHAT YOU *DON’T* SEE

Just to be completely authentic, what you don’t see of course is the team members that don’t work out.

I have fired 2 team members in the past year or so. That’s tough.

And I’ve had a team member leave when she’d out grown her role. That was sad.

We’ve stayed on great terms though because I’ve sought to continue to support her.

That’s your role as a leader. (I’ve had too many bosses in my career basically say, “You’re dead to me!” once I’d chosen to move on.)

6. HIRE SLOWLY. FIRE QUICKLY.

I’ve definitely learned this the painful way.

I’m a very trusting person. A people person. And I’d often hire too quickly.

I also hate conflict and I’d leave someone in a role too long rather than confront them.

Firing is tough. But a relief to both parties when it’s done quickly and with integrity.

7. A NEW APPROACH TO HIRING

In my team, we don’t use the old-fashioned model of ‘resume plus interview’ when enrolling new team members.

What we do is time consuming but it’s helping us build an incredible team:

a. Five Touch Points

I have current team members help me vet potential new team members by connecting with them. Each connection is a ‘touch point’.

They might speak on skype, they might take them for a coffee or chat by phone. But we have several people connect with them, some more than once – to get a feel for who they really are.

b. The Party Test

The test is would you be comfortable at a party with this person. NOT the company party – your family party!

c. Upside-Down Interviews

I only want to hire people better than me. So I have potential hires research my business and then ask me 10 questions that will help make the business more extraordinary. This way they get an opportunity to demonstrate how extraordinary they are.

d. 90 Days

If we are a Hell Yes to hiring them and they are a Hell Yes to us, we agree that the first 90 days is an opportunity to feel each other out.

At the end of 90 days if either party is not a Hell Yes to continuing, we call this a Hell NO and say goodbye – with no hard feelings.

8. IT’S ALL ENROLLMENT

Your job is to enroll people in a mission that they can put their body behind. A mission they can put their heart and soul into.

Otherwise you’ll have employees who work by the hour.

If you’re building a business, you don’t want ’employees’.

Dream big. Put your vision out there and enroll people who believe in you.

9. START SLOWLY

My first hire was the person who helped me with the design of my book. I just liked her so much that I kept asking her to come back for more.

So it wasn’t consciously planned. I just knew I needed support,

I kept asking for more and she kept saying yes.

I’ve realized that I respond really well to people with great ideas and she was super creative.

10. HIRE BASED ON YOUR VALUES NOT YOUR TASKS

I’d had various Virtual Assistants over the years and I could never understand why I got frustrated with them, until I hired Sarah as the next person to join my team.

It was only then that I realized that I put a really high value on being Creative vs Reactive.

I finally had someone in my team who didn’t simply say Yes if I gave her a task but who would actually challenge my thinking.

I love people who challenge me!

I finally had an assistant who was PROACTIVE vs REACTIVE.

She’d look down the road at my calendar and notice I was traveling to England, and she’d reschedule my client calls before I even asked. We’d run an event and she’d keep a checklist of everything we did, so that next time things would run even smoother and I didn’t even know she’d done it. She’d plan a list of all the things we needed to do prior to a new project and she’d quietly handle them without even asking me.

11. DREAM BIG

By the time I was ready for my next hire, my capacity for what was possible due to the creativity and proactivity of my first two team members was greatly expanded.

So, you know me, I dreamed bigger than I’ve ever dreamed…

And, because of it, I hired Andie as my Personal Assistant.

Andie runs two businesses that EACH make over a million dollars. But she chooses to work for me and with me because she’s inspired by our big picture mission to mobilize a million dollars to educate a million children. And she’s actually helping me to make this a reality.

12. YOUR JOB #1 IS TO ENROLL ME

By the time Kendra joined my extended team in helping me create astonishing events, I’d got really clear how much I LOVE people who come to me with Solutions vs Problems.

Not only is Kendra solutions-oriented, she’s fantastic in crafting Powerful Proposals for ME.

She’ll dream big and then enroll me in an idea that I’ve never considered before. And then she’ll implement it in a way that blows my mind!

Other lessons I’ve learned include:

13. HIRE PEOPLE *BEFORE* I’M READY FOR THEM

If I wait until I’m ready, it’s too late and I’m already in overwhelm.

14. HIRE EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE

Hire extraordinary people and THEN find a role for them!

15. HIRE SLOWLY. FIRE QUICKLY.

These days, I use Kolbe, the Enneagram, Human Design and other assessments to seek people who COMPLEMENT me rather than DUPLICATE me.

I take my time hiring and I speed up the challenge of letting someone go if it’s not a good fit.

16. TRAIN. TRAIN. TRAIN.

I train my butt off when a new team member arrives.

Hiring is the easy bit compared to helping them to succeed at my extraordinary expectations!

17. A ONE-LINE MANUAL

My mission is to train my team members so powerfully and to enroll them so deeply in my VISION and my VALUES, that when you open it, our team manual has only one page and only one line on that page:

* TRUST YOURSELF! *

18. ZONE OF GENIUS

I help each team member discover their Zone of Genius and work ONLY there.

Each of us also creates an Avoid At All Costs List. And their job is to keep me out of mine!

19. VISIONARY vs IMPLEMENTOR

I’ve learned to distinguish between Visionaries and Implementors.

For my business to fly, I have to relax into being the Visionary.

Then I have to empower Implementors to make stuff happen.

And I’ve learned that there are actually two types of Implementors:

Creators and Processors (a beautiful distinction I’ve borrowed and adapted from Dan Sullivan):

Visionaries make stuff up! (That’s me)
Creators make stuff real. (That’s Andie)
Processors make stuff recur. (That’s Sarah)

Understanding the difference between a Creator and a Processor has been extremely helpful to me.

Give a Creator a new project and they get really excited. They put it on the TOP of their To Do list. They can’t wait to get started. Your job is actually not to overwhelm them with too many exciting new projects.

A Processor gets frustrated with new projects. They put them on the BOTTOM of their To Do list! They want to make their current projects flow really well, first. Your job is to slowly enroll them in any new project.

20. “RICH, YOU’RE A BOTTLENECK IN YOUR OWN ORGANIZATION!”

Ouch. That stung! But they were the words of my business consultant last year.

And it was true.

If you want to grow your business, Mission #1 is to keep getting out of your own way.

21. THE GOOD IS THE ENEMY OF THE GREAT

I hired a visionary business consultant last year and it took me 6 months to understand why our amazing meetings weren’t going very far…

It slowly dawned on me that we were both visionaries.

I’m an excellent implementor but not a great one.

And I’d forgotten that I now had a team of implementors!

22. ENROLL THEM, EMPOWER THEM AND STEP OUT OF THE WAY!

Team building for me is about enrolling extraordinary people, empowering them – and then stepping out of the way.

Once I got my implementors on the team calls with my business consultant, we began to fly!

23. VALUES FIRST

Training my team in my VALUES is key. I spend hours on this.

I place a high value on risk-taking and failure, so I’ll reward them for failing and taking risks.

I’m not interested in being known as a company that responds quickly to email. So I train my team in understanding the value we place on CLIENT ASTONISHMENT.

We might take days to get back to someone. We might not reply to some people’s emails at all. But if you’re one of us, we’ll go the extra mile for you.

24. LOVE THEM UP

I love my team up!

I constantly praise them, acknowledge them and reward them.

(Holding them accountable is more of my edge, to be honest. But if you train your people in your values, help them work in their Zone of Genius and constantly praise them for what they get right, that’s less of an issue, anyway.)

25. CONSTANT CONTACT

I meet with my team regularly. And I make our meetings fun.

We start every meeting with a little celebration of something in our private lives. And the only response allowed is the word, Yippeee!

We celebrate our tiniest achievements together on a regular basis.

26. I COACH MY TEAM

I coach and support my team members on the personal as well as the professional.

I make a commitment to help my team members succeed.

I make it my mission to find out what lights each of them up, so I can support them in living a fun life.

Just as with my coaching clients, I challenge my team members to dream bigger than they’ve ever dreamed.

Then I support them to achieve things they’d never dreamed possible.

27. BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD

I model integrity. I never speak about another team member who isn’t present.

28. START WITH WHY

I enroll my team in my powerful WHY, then, once I’ve put a goal out there, I do my best to be unattached to HOW we get there.

29. I BELIEVE IN YOU

“I BELIEVE IN YOU” are the most powerful words you can ever say to a client.

Say them to a team member – and mean them – and they’ll go to the ends of the earth for you.

I demonstrate – the moment someone joins my team – that I BELIEVE in them, that I TRUST them.

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There’s much, much more.

For now, what questions do you have for me on business building and team building?

Love. Rich

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