What do the Boston Red Sox, the New England Patriots, and the Chicago Cubs all have in common? Besides all being winners (and my three favorite teams), they have won by building teams synergistically. By that I mean they build teams by putting the team in front of individual players, which makes the team much stronger. When Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations for the Cubs, sought and won pitching ace John Lester for a cool $155 million, he also sought his battery mate, aging catcher Dave Ross, with a sub-200 batting average, for a measly $5 million. He knew from watching them in Boston that they were a perfect pitcher-catcher duo and that Lester always did better when Ross was catching him. You might even say he “completed him,” (sorry). That was the way it had been for them in Boston and in Chicago; well, in Chicago, let’s just say they both picked up their World Series rings last week.
The New England Patriots have one star and he wears number 12, and even he is a kind of “anti-star.” Brady has had dozens of receivers over the years while breaking every passing record there is, and he did it with a bunch of non-stars (except for bad boy Randy Moss who was much better behaved as a Patriot than ever before).
On the other hand, as an example of a great player, maybe the player with the greatest God-given talent who never really helped any team he played for, even the Yankees, is Alex Rodriguez. No one needs an Alex Rodriguez on their team, no matter how tempting he is to hire.
Why is this? Why are these teams so successful? If you want one more example of how putting a team together, instead of hiring a bunch of great players works, then check out the movie Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt, who plays Billie Bean. Check it out. It will teach you by example how to build your own team.
Teams are built with each member being considered in terms of their fit with the other members. A true team is bigger than the sum of its parts. A true team is made up of people who meld together, who are willing to leave their own egos at the door for the good of the team. A true team has a certain chemistry that drives them to do things they should not be able to do. A true team makes all its players better than they are and better then they should be.
So, what does this have to do with you as a manager in a PCB shop? Everything. It has everything to do with you because you must be building a team, not just hiring individuals. When you are ready to hire someone, let’s say your top line management team, here are 10 things that you should take into consideration during your evaluation:
- What additional skills does this person bring to our team?
- How will this person fit in with the rest of the team?
- Does he have the right chemistry with what we are trying to do?
- Does this person have the humility it takes to be part of a team rather than an individual star? (You don’t need an Alex Rodriguez; sorry Alex but I just don’t like you.)
- Will this person be willing to take one for the team when the time comes?
- Will this person be able to think of himself as a part of something bigger or is he truly an individual?
- Did this person “get” the vision when we explained it to him, and does he buy into it?
- Does this person have the passion for the industry we are part of? Or is this just a paycheck for her?
- Will this person have so much passion that he will be willing to pick up the ball when others drop it?
- Does this person have the skills and talents and abilities that our team needs right now? In other words, is the time right for this person to come onto the team?
And one more—there is always one more. Will this person have the passion to so love the team that he will be willing and able to take over the leadership of the team (if that day comes) and not only lead, but carry on with the team’s vision and mission?
These are the things we should all be considering when bringing on a new teammate. Not what his individual skills are, but rather how well his skills and attitude will fit in, thus making the team stronger with his presence.
It’s only common sense.