Business TeamOne of the first and most influential business books I ever read was Good to Great by Jim Collins. Since publication not all the case studies stood the test of time, but one of the main principles is something I often consider—first you have to have the right people on the bus, then you can figure out where the bus is going. You must have the right people on the bus! It’s not just about people, it’s about the RIGHT people.

How many times have you seen examples of the wrong person on the bus? Or the right people in the exact wrong seats? Or companies that try to figure out a destination with the wrong bus driver? I bet you can come up with a long list.

This principle is especially critical for our clients, whale hunting companies. The success of implementing our process is very dependent on teamwork, leadership, dedication, and expertise. If you have the wrong people on your bus, it’s going to be a rough ride. It’s especially true of larger sales teams.

The Sales Executive Council just released data from a study on the effectiveness of individual coaching for sales reps. One of the most surprising take-aways? They found that even the best sales coaching had a “marginal impact on either the weakest or the strongest performers in the sales organization.” More simply put, “who your managers coach is just as important as how they coach.” Click here to view this research. Again, it goes back to the individuals within the organization.

If you’re like most small business owners who have big sales goals for 2011, you need the right team who is along for the wild ride! Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do your employees genuinely embrace your vision and goals?
  • Is the hassle of hiring/firing keeping you from replacing anyone?
  • Does your team have the skills and/or adaptability to grow with your business?
  • Who comprises your dream team? And why?

William Taylor, founder of the magazine Fast Company, recently wrote an article with this advice:  hire for attitude and train for skill. He goes on to give an example from a top executive at Southwest Airlines who says the first thing they look for is the “warrior spirit.” What a great attribute!

As we teach companies to become whale hunting organizations, we talk about what it means to be hungry for new business and what it means to have that same warrior spirit. Think about your team, and ask yourself, “Do I have the right people on the bus?” For small businesses that aspire to be in fast-growth mode, it’s a critical question.

  • Jennifer Overall says:

    I could not agree more. Having had the benefit of starting my sales and management career with a powerful fortune 100 company; I have seen the winning combination.
    A company that prides itself on hiring college graduates, fosters a spirit of can-do, teamwork and specialized training…I long for the type of warrior team that results from that standard.

    Attitude in business and sales is everything – but you need the right team behind you to carry out the sale’s vision. Excellence must be in all areas of a company… to survive and thrive in 2011!

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