Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Building your team

Last week, our speaker Cynthia Richards of Event Spectrum shared some of her secrets of hiring and keeping gems on her team. Starting her business just nine years ago, she and her partner Zora Kriz, have built an amazing business which has led to Cynthia being listed in the top 100 Women Entrepreneurs in PROFIT magazine. Clearly they were doing something right.

And as Cynthia talked, it became obvious that they were on to something. Cynthia’s entrepreneurial philosophy is a simple one -- happy, motivated and challenged staff results in exceptional client service and loyalty that positively impacts your bottom line!

As they built their team, they offered all sorts of incentives not only to stay, but to work hard for the company – such as profit sharing, shopping days, an on-site gym, and opportunities to celebrate their successes.

Working in the fast-paced world of event planning, it was key to the company’s growth that staff had time to relax and unwind, and providing an on-site gym helped them to stay fit and healthy.

I also liked Cynthia’s approach to working with staff, assigning projects that work to their strengths, rather than focusing on their weaknesses. They take time to assess and determine each staff member’s talents, skills and interests so that they are given projects that will challenge and engage them.

Some of this she has learnt the hard way – as she said – the good, the bad and the ugly, especially when describing the situation when you hire the rock star, who doesn’t fit in with your culture and can undermine any sense of cohesiveness within the team. Her advice – if your gut is telling you it is not going to work out – don’t wait – let that person go before they do too much damage to staff morale.

Cynthia also walks the talk and her team of staff all attended the dinner, proud of their boss and keen to support her.

She shared a couple of situations where the team not only supported them, but came to the rescue – further speaking to the loyalty she has deservedly earned from her staff.

It is often said that you are only as good as your team, and building an effective, enthusiastic team has clearly been a priority at Event Spectrum, and it has paid off.

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