"Great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people" Steve jobs
…But be sure you’re clear about what you need.
Start by articulating your culture and values
What are the values, behaviours and attitudes you want to encourage which give your business its unique culture? Make sure that they are evident to all whatever the engagement. Most business relationships fail due to a lack of shared values rather than technical incompetence.
What resource do you need to get there?
You know your why, your vision and your culture but as you grow make sure that the essence of your business is sustained and visible to prospective employees or partners? Try to identify people who are aligned with your values to support your growth journey, whether that is internal appointments or external partners.
To recruit or not to recruit
We take considerable time to recruit people to join the team, measuring their technical skills but also evaluating their ‘fit’ with the culture and existing team. But what if it doesn’t make sense to actually recruit someone. The need is spasmodic, too specialist or requires a level of experience that you can’t afford. What are your options? What are your capability gaps?
Try conducting a skills audit – what are the technical and attitudinal capabilities you need to reach your goal? What have you got in house and what are the priorities over the next 12 months?
Trust is the basis for any successful relationship
Don’t underestimate the importance of finding a person or organisation that fits your culture and values, even if they are not going to become a permanent fixture in the business. Use the same approach as you would for an internal appointment. Ask yourself how comfortable would you be having a difficult conversation with the individual. How would they react?
What’s it like doing business with you?
Sometimes internal inefficiencies are magnified when working with external suppliers or partners. Ineffective decision making can be a barrier to getting the right results from an external provider. Take the time to create a detailed brief clearly focused on the expected outputs or return and ensure there are clear lines of communication to catch any ‘molehills’ early.
Any external relationship will be impacted on how well you manage it. Work together to achieve the objective and clarify your respective roles and responsibilities.
Insource v partner v outsource – how do you decide?
Create some criteria for your decision. What is core to the delivery of your goals? How discreet is the piece of work? How regular is the task? What can you afford? How much do you want flexibility v control? Do you want to develop strategy but also require the extra resource to do the work? How specialist is the work?
Collaborate with your colleagues or find an external soundboard who can support you with the decision.
Be aware of the risks of different engagements
Make sure you have considered the risks involved and remember that any outsource or partner will still need time invested. The ‘forming’ and ‘norming’ stages of any new relationship will have its challenges. Try to plan ahead so time and urgency don’t become the only priority.
Ultimately you will achieve your vision through the people you employ and partner and never lose sight of your values.