No less of a challenge is taking over an existing “team”. While this makes the assembling part a non-issue, you may be presented with the disassembling part, which is no less difficult. Inheriting a team of someone else’s design, whether successful or not, can give you an idea of what that predecessor had in mind, assuming that there was a plan in the first place. It is important to note that in our market, some “old school” limousine services are just starting to realize that their futures and fortunes could be much different if more effort had been placed on building a team with a common vision as opposed to relying on individuals that were “hustlers” or “workaholics”. Too many of these types are focused on immediate gratification (in other words, a quick payoff) as opposed to establishing a foundation of sustained success, which is why so many old school limousine services appear to be stuck in the mud. But that’s just my opinion.
If you are handed the reins directly from the owner, you are likely facing an established team of their favorite employees, family members, or friends. This may have been a great “team” in the eyes of the owner, but in a business sense, it could just be a group of entitled cronies with no vision for the future of the company. In order to be successful in this scenario, you’ll need to have a mandate from the owner to make necessary changes after you have thoroughly evaluated your team. If this is not done, your chance of success is limited. So assuming you share the same vision as the owner that entrusted his business to you, how do you set about evaluating this team? Here is a good starting point:
Encarta Dictionary – Team: A cooperatively functioning group. A number of people organized to function cooperatively as a group.
The simplest measure of a team is how they work together. You can have a building filled with people who are great at their individual jobs, but horrible at working with other employees. This is a bad marriage. You are more likely to achieve success with people that are adequate at their individual jobs but excel at working together. Of course, the ideal situation is to have people who are outstanding at both, but let’s keep our sights low for now.
A simple process of observation and interview will give you insight as to how your team functions. You will easily be able to spot those that work well with others, and those that prefer to segregate themselves. Interviewing your team will also reveal certain “problems” that may need to be dealt with. An isolated negative comment may warrant little attention, but an employee that is the focus of scorn for a majority of your team may require deeper investigation. The “bad apple” analogy has been around a long time for very good reason. Attempting to reassign these people to minimize their negative affect on your operation may sound good in an “Intro to Business Management” class, but it could be that you’ll just be moving that bad apple to a different bushel, and starting the process all over again. This is how team “destroyers” are born. My opinion, and only my opinion, is to give your bad apple an ultimatum…become a good apple…or find another orchard. I believe the Disney Corporation refers to this as encouraging the employee to “seek his or her happiness elsewhere”. I love that statement!
(Part 3 will address building YOUR team)