How do you form your small business team so that it’s competent instead of toxic?

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Formula One World Championship
Formula One World Championship (Photo credit: varlen)

Lewis Hamilton, the F1 champion driver insists he has cleared the air with team-mate Nico Rosberg after his team driver won the Monaco Grand Prix. Despite Hamilton’s remarks, the media speculates that the duo are no longer talking to one another with the relationship at rock bottom.

This is the competitive world of Formula 1 motor racing. The money stakes and ego winnings are high. Team loyalty takes second place to first across the finishing line.

The loyal fans who watch world motorsport on the television screens on Sundays hope for an exciting race. But like at Monaco the two Mercedes that started first and second retained those positions to the finish. What they don’t get to see is the behind-the-scenes formation of the F1 teams and what it takes to put a Formula One car on the track.

A Formula One driver is only one member of a large team that can employee hundreds of people. The team usually comprises a team boss, who could own the team. Next you need a commercial director who must manage the commercial part of the business including attracting sponsors, determining level of sponsorship and placement of logos on the car. Sponsors can pay up to $50 million for the privilege of having the brands displayed on a Formula One car.

Other key members in the team are the technical director, the chief aerodynamicist, chief designer and chief of R&D. Each formula Formula One team has two drivers. The illusion that this creates is an atmosphere of support and camaraderie but each driver is out to beat their rivals including the driver on their team.

Where you see the team visibly at work is at the pit stops. How a team manager its pit stops during a race is just as important as the driver’s skill out on the track. The pit crew during a pit stop needs to do the following:

  • Change the tire
  • Review fuel the car
  • Adjust the wings
  • Replace damaged bodywork
  • Clear debris from the car’s bodywork
  • Get the car safely back on the track

All this in a matter of just 7 to 10 seconds.

How does a small business owner, start-up entrepreneur select their team for top performance? What do they need to look for in people who can help to make their project, new business idea or failing second-hand business succeed?

It requires a shrewd understanding of people and evaluation of their experience, skills and attitudes and aptitudes. Usually small business owners have to make these judgement calls themselves. They don’t have mountains of money to pay outsourced human relations consultants. The consultants who work in fancy buildings with a fleet of luxury German cars in their parking spaces or basement garages and salaries that equal more than the entire annual revenue of a small business.

You need to know what core competencies are required in your team, what roles or functions you need, the skills and attributes necessary for each role and a recruitment plan. Most important is honesty because in this economy the temptation is high to steal and many small businesses have gone under because of this. With a limited budget, small business owners and start-up founders can still select the best people for the job without breaking their bank balance if they select carefully taking the time to make the best possible choices they can.

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