MPW Insider is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for: How do you build a strong team? is written by Kim Getty, president of Deutsch LA.
The first step to building a great team is to understand your company dynamic and what goes into your unique creative process. Advertising is a team sport, so my top priority is to identify the people who can not only bring strong ideas to the table, but can also enhance our company’s collaborative culture.
You need a team of diverse thinkers who bring complementary skills and experience to the group, but there are even more important, less tangible attributes that you should look for in every employee. The people who display these essential qualities aren’t always those with the most experience, they don’t necessarily have degrees from Ivy League schools, and recognizing them goes beyond scanning a resume.
Here is what we look for in great team members:
Team members need to have a unique vision and an entrepreneurial spirit. Because diverse thinking is essential to what we do, we’ve worked hard to create an environment that invites ideas from every corner of the building. Strong team members allow themselves to be vulnerable to immerse themselves in the creative process. They also have the confidence to suggest new ideas when others don’t stick. “You are not your idea,” is one of our core philosophies.
A doer mentality
Actions speak louder than words, so when hiring, we look for tangible evidence that someone is a doer, not just a cog in the creative process. We need team members with a passion for invention and, most importantly, the ability to roll up their sleeves to bring those inventions to life.
T-shaped problem solvers
A T-shaped thinker is someone who is very knowledgeable about one thing, but also has the ability to be creative and thoughtful on a variety of other subjects. These people make good problem solvers because they’re aware of the many different perspectives that affect a situation and bring genuine empathy to their solutions. When you get stuck, these are the people you want on your team.
The plane ride test
Look for people you genuinely like and want to spend time with — someone you’d be excited to sit next to on a long flight. Personal relationships are key to strengthening client and coworker relationships while still having some fun along the way. Seek out people who will (metaphorically) let their hair down, will show real enthusiasm for the work they do, and who will reach out when they see that someone is having a tough day. The workweek can be long, but when you enjoy the people you work with, the time you spend can be fulfilling.
Over the years, people have told me they have stayed at Deutsch because of how we push each other. If you can do this, you’ll ensure that your company doesn’t grow complacent, and you’ll keep growing as individuals.
Read all answers to the MPW Insider question: How do you build a strong team?
Talent alone won’t make your business successful by Sharon Price John, CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop.
The right (and wrong) time to embrace teamwork in the office by Barbara Dyer, president and CEO of The Hitachi Foundation.
How horses taught this CEO to be a better leader by Gay Gaddis, CEO and founder of T3.
Why this CEO thinks making mistakes is admirable by Kristen Hamilton, CEO and co-founder at Koru.
How managers can stay connected to their team by Linda Addison, U.S. managing partner at Norton Rose Fulbright.
The difference between a great leader and a good one by Kerry Healey, president of Babson College.
The easiest way to reduce employee turnover by Kathy Bloomgarden, CEO of Ruder Finn.
3 misconceptions about leading a successful team by Samantha Dwinell, vice president of talent management at Texas Instruments.
How to build a strong team without micromanaging by Sally Blount, Dean of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
Here’s the secret to getting better employees by Julia Hartz, co-founder and president of Eventbrite.