Strategically creating your team

January 26, 2016 | By Cognadev

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Creating a team from scratch can be a daunting task. How successfully a team works together often determines to what extent a company achieves its goals. How do you go about putting a team together and ensuring they have the best possible chance at achieving success?

Determine what needs to be accomplished

The outcomes for the team should be clearly specified, as far as possible. The more defined the outcomes are, the more informed the rest of your decisions in the process will be. Some things to consider here are: timelines, available resources, possible challenges, past methods and failures and potential networking opportunities.

Specify the skills required

Identify the skills that will be required to meet the goals. Be thorough in this process. Identify both the cognitive and personality skills required. Highlight developmental areas that may derail the team in order to spot red flags in potential recruits. Highlight specific strengths that may assist in overcoming the identified challenges or facilitate the use of the available resources and networking opportunities.

Consider the environment you wish to create

Give thought to the climate you would like your team to function in. What type of environment would best produce the results you desire? Consider whether it should be dynamic and creative, energetic and forceful, challenging or nurturing. Consider the overall culture of the organisation and whether you want to align your team to this, or implement change.

Make use of job profiling

Job profiling assists in creating a detailed job specification as well as increasing the probability of candidate-role suitability. It also eliminates potential confusion around roles and how the candidate will fit into an organisation. The CCM is an example of a tool that profiles jobs as well as provides reports on how well candidates suit roles.

Find your talent

Hire your key person first, add the remainder of the necessary skills later and build your team around your most valuable skill set. Involve staff in the interview process if they will be working with the candidate. If this is not possible, an awareness of the cognitive capabilities, personalities and value systems that are already present can assist in making the right appointment decision. Don’t just throw the required skill sets together, think about the actual people involved and how well they may work together.

Assessments play a key role in, and complement, the interview process. There is a wealth of information regarding the use of assessments in the workplace. Read 8 reasons you should use psychometrics in your company for further information. More specifically the CPP and the VO assessments go a long way in informing the recruiter of the candidate’s cognitive capability and value systems respectively. This can increase the probability of finding the right person for the job: one who is cognitively capable of performing the tasks and fits in with the team and overall organisation.

Honesty at the interview stage

Clearly state what will be required: including the timelines to be met, possible challenges and available resources. Ensure the candidate has transparency and knows exactly what will be expected. Equally, the candidate should choose the position for the right reasons, not to merely gain employment and pay bills. This should be carefully screened for during the entire recruitment process. The personalities and capabilities of existing team members should be kept in mind in order to determine a potential fit. Even the most skilled teams can derail when there are interpersonal clashes. The VO assessment can, again, assist in this regard.

Lead your team

Once you have your team, the challenge now shifts to managing it effectively and drawing out the very best from each staff member. Enhance team cohesion by communicating the expectation of teamwork, rewarding it and leading by example. At times, especially where rare skills are required, you may have to make do with incompatible personality types. However, sometimes it’s enough to have awareness of these derailers, and how they can manifest, to manage potential problems. Consider a team cohesion exercise in order to prevent problems before they arise, or a values assessment. Contact Cognadev for ideas and assistance.