Team Building – Part 5

In the end, you must accept the fact that team building is a process. Again, I look to the world of sports. Each unit in sport is called a team (unless you’re referring to boxing or wrestling…or Texas Hold ‘em, in which case…I have no substitute term to insert), and teams are not permanent. There was a time when movement of team members was less frequent than it is now, but ultimately, faces change. Sometimes it happens subtlety as in Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Berra, Mantle, Jackson, Mattingly, and Jeter. Other times it’s as swift as the Florida Marlins post-championship payroll purge in 1997. This is why the establishment of your team can be considered the beginning of a process that will never end, and understanding this will only serve to benefit the health of your team.
When I build a team, I have specific traits in mind. But what works for me and my Chicago limousine service won’t necessarily work for someone in a different industry, or even the limousine industry in a different part of the country. Still, I’d like to share a few of my preferences.
1) Outgoing people are a plus (within limits). People that sit through the interview process quietly offering little indication that you are connecting with them are probably not going to work out.
2) Some jobs require “book smart”, and some are better served with “street smart”. Education does not guarantee any “smart”. I prefer people that can think on their feet.
3) I look for employees that work for pride first and pay second. No…I’m not naive enough to think people don’t work for money, but people that give 110% and go the extra mile without thinking first about how it will benefit them are usually doing so out of pride. In the fast-paced world of limousine service in Chicago, you need people that put the welfare of the business first.
4) “People” people are always a great choice. Individuals that donate time to charities are likely to be classic “people” people (unless they’re working off a debt to society). For a Chicago limousine service, it’s imperative to have these personalities on hand, especially in positions of client contact, i.e. chauffeurs, dispatchers, reservation staff, and customer care specialists. These jobs require individuals that want to help others.
5) Fun-loving people seem to always want to find the silver lining in every dark cloud. You need these types, because there are plenty of dark clouds out there.
As I said, these are my preferences. I don’t subscribe to anybody else’s system of evaluation, and not simply because I don’t have it in my budget. I know what has always worked for me, and continues to work for me. Like everyone, I’ve made mistakes in assessing talent, but so do giant corporations, investors, professional sports organizations, school boards, and Star Search. But a majority of the time, I get what I’m after, and my teams are solid.

The bottom line is that all people, organizations, and business philosophies differ to some extent. What is good for one can be disastrous for the other. Have your game plan, constantly evaluate your progress, include your team in the decision making processes, earn and build trust, and success will follow.
And always have a Plan “B”.

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Dale Schahczinski
Goal driven team leader, with industry experience spanning all aspects of operations and administration.