In my last blog I spoke about the importance of hiring quality people. In much the same way that Michelin-starred chefs expect to work with the best ingredients, if you aspire to run successful projects you want to work with the best staff.
But if by some mistake of the cosmos I found myself in a kitchen cooking for the great and good of London, it wouldn’t matter if the ingredients came from the gardens of the gods themselves, I would still struggle to pull together a tomato soup followed by a semi-decent spag bol, let alone anything pan roasted and served on a bed of jus.
The same applies to blending a team together. Too many strong personalities will overwhelm the whole, not enough and the result may be insipid. You should be looking at bringing together a group who will enjoy working with each other. Recently I interviewed a candidate who seemed perfect for a role, and even in the interview she answered all the questions, ticked all the entire technical boxes. But I knew she would not have worked within the team dynamic. Therefore, unfortunately, no hire.
I remember hearing a quote from a FTSE 100 IT Director saying that teams work for each other in their immediate IT team first, their overall IT team second and the company at large third. Get the team dynamics wrong and you lose your first and arguably key motivator. Whilst many may say salaries are the key motivator for a lot of people, I would argue they are wrong. Salaries have to be competitive, but for quality people they become largely irrelevant in day to day happiness; salaries are therefore paradoxically a key de-motivator. Therefore while it’s important to ensure your staff are paid at an appropriate level, don’t waste time worrying about pay beyond that.
You should worry about the mix of skills and temperaments you have. Do you have too many dominating decision makers, not enough detail people? Too many "ideas people" and not enough "do-ers"? Do you have staff who can complement the failings of other staff? I know I’m not good with paperwork, I have staff who are not good at dealing with people, so I have other people who may not be as technically able but can handle the customers far better. Importantly they all, in general, get on. They respect each other's abilities and faults. When the proverbial hits the fan, they pull together even if there is little some of them can do other than make coffee.
Whilst the business looks at my recent application implementation, on budget and to a very aggressive timescale and see the success of the project management in the roll-out, I see the success of my team in the way they have come together in a very short timescale to form a very close and coherent unit. That, to me, is success.