Building a successful team in any business is a difficult task. A quick look at professional sports shows that massive personnel expenditures and scientific scouting and interview processes are only considered successful if they produce championships. Large corporations spend significant sums of money every year trying to build teams that will ultimately bring in more clients, revenue, and “top of their class” employees. One such company, a personal favorite of mine (and a large multi-national entertainment conglomerate) has some compelling views on the benefits that team building efforts can bring to an organization. But what about a small or moderate sized limousine service in Chicago, New York, or Los Angeles that doesn’t have thousands of dollars to throw at recruiting or team building? The fact is, most all limousine services work on very small margins. The current ground transportation environment demands that any money available for team building would need to be split among other needs as well, such as equipment upgrades, software development, and online advertising. Again, these are challenges facing any business, but for limousine industry in general, finding the resources to address them can be daunting. Therefore, projects deemed least important tend to miss out on funding, and team building would fall behind technology and advertising almost every time.
If you own a company, you need to select the people who will help you achieve success. Sounds easy…right? However, nothing could be further from the truth. Family, friends, and acquaintances; typically the first pool you’ll draw workers from, are not guaranteed to be good team members, or even good employees for that matter. Your wife, husband, children, parents, cousins, neighbors, whomever, would need to share the same vision and have the same sense of purpose for the future of your enterprise that you do, and THAT is not a lock. It is possible, but it shouldn’t be assumed. Looking for employees outside that pool isn’t a guarantee either. Like I said, it’s not that easy. It is important that potential employees have individual qualities that are important to you and may even mirror yours, and not to rely on emotion to steer your decisions. If you start building your team with family solely based on the fact that they need a job, or you love them and want them around you on a daily basis, you’ll likely be disappointed by the results. This is not to say that you can’t build a successful team with family or friends because it’s done all the time. Just be sure to have a “Plan B”.
(Part 2 focuses on the challenge of taking over an existing team)