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ABC Trucking Company was thrilled when they hired Paul as their new vice president of marketing. He was loaded down with tremendous credentials, had won several awards, and had a great record of personal achievement.

But soon after Paul started, problems began to develop. The company had previously formed a team to study customer concerns about improving delivery time of shipments. However, instead of participating, Paul kept saying it was an operations problem, not a marketing concern.

Then, another team was formed to review possible new MIS systems. Paul never had time for the meetings, and never completed his assigned responsibilities. The sales team was effective, but drifted further away from the rest of the company and, over time, communication suffered. Customers began to drift away.

While Paul may have been a superstar individually, he was not a good team player, and ABC Trucking learned a valuable lesson.

Hire Those With Team Attitudes
It doesn't matter whether you work in the ministry or in a regular business environment, teamwork is a must. Hiring staff who work well in a team environment can be challenging, but it is also necessary for solidifying a good team.

By way of an example, in the fifth chapter of the gospel of Luke, Simon was bringing in a huge catch of fish and needed help; he called on his partners. Their effective teamwork brought in the catch intact; not one fish was lost. Effective teamwork greatly impacts the bottom line in any company or endeavor.

With that in mind let's examine three key steps which will help in hiring good team members.
  1. Determine where the need for teamwork exists. Write out the requirements so you can see where the lines of cooperation are required. Will the person be working with peers, or with different level staff? What size team is needed? Will teams be formed between technical and non-technical people? Make sure you understand exactly what you will be expecting from the new player.
  2. Conduct the interview, and ask questions about how the candidate has worked on teams before. Ask about their most successful experience in teamwork, and then ask about their worst.

    Inquire what made the difference. A person who takes most of the credit, but none of the blame may be a future problem. Look for thoughtful, analytical understanding of team dynamics.

    Determine if the person responds openly to each question, and engages easily in conversation. Are they able to begin relating to you quickly, or do they struggle? Do they establish and maintain eye contact during the process? If they cannot relate to you during the interview, they will struggle in relating to others on the job. When you speak, does the candidate listen, or just tolerate your words?

    Ask about their communication style and request examples which were was successful. Ask what are the three best lessons they learned from being on teams. Failure to relate good learning examples is a red flag.
  3. Finally, check out and evaluate their references. During the interview process ask for three former colleagues who have worked with them in team situations, and then call each of the references. Ask them about their experiences with your candidate.

    Did the candidate work well, have good work habits? How did they relate to stronger and weaker members on the team? Were they patient with the "less intelligent" members of the team? Did they follow through on homework assignments, and did they put the team goals before individual goals? Did they offer excuses when efforts failed, or did they accept their share of the responsibility?

    If they worked with customers, ask for three references from customers. Contact each one and inquire how well the candidate served their needs. Did they respond timely and completely to requests? Were they willing to work together to solve problems? Did they have a sense of the candidate being on their side?
Taking the time to carefully check out each candidate's "team player quotient" will spare you grief and aggravation, and help assemble a group who will work well together. When teamwork is key, a good team is more than the sum of its players. Don't accept anyone who doesn't have a good teamwork perspective.

Copyright © Business Proverbs.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Steve Marr
Web site: The Life
Steve Marr has learned from 40 years of business experience that God's way works. As an author, speaker and business consultant, Marr helps companies and organizations apply the ancient wisdom of the Bible to avoid the common mistakes and headaches of growing a business.

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