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The founder of $1 billion fitness company ClassPass looked for 3 personality traits in every hire to build a successful team

February 17, 2022, 12:45 PM UTC
ClassPass founder Payal Kadakia poses for a portrait.
ClassPass founder Payal Kadakia.
Courtesy of Christopher Patey

Throughout life, but especially when pursuing your calling, you want a team that can help you keep pushing forward through obstacles and setbacks. When I had the opportunity to put together the team at ClassPass, I thought long and hard about what types of people I worked best with, and I was inten­tional about recruiting based on these characteristics. Some personality types simply work better together than others and allow both people in the relationship to support and give to each other.

With ClassPass, I assessed what sort of team we needed for the company to succeed and who would be the best employees for me to lead. By then, I knew that I worked best with generally positive people who had an optimistic outlook, and who were humble and wanted to grow and learn. I also valued those who made good use of their most precious asset: time. The company pillars I created when making hiring decisions were positivity, growth, and efficiency.

Establishing these pillars helped the company—and me—in many ways. As a leader, I knew I had to exude these values, and they gave employees a clear sense of what was expected of them and what they were meant to strive for. Before perfor­mance reviews, employees evaluated themselves based on these pillars, and we gave awards every year to the employees who most strongly exhibited these traits. I was able to thrive when surrounded by people at work and in my personal life who shared my foundational values and fit together seamlessly as a team. I also learned from experience that whenever we hired someone who didn’t display these values, that hire tended to not work out.

ClassPass founder Payal Kadakia's new book called LifePass.
ClassPass founder Payal Kadakia’s new book, “LifePass.”

This is part of what I call Team Life, or the phenomenon of having a few people close to us who support us and are invested in our success. Team Life is about building our own circle of support from family, friends, teachers, mentors, colleagues, and bosses who can help support us as we follow our calling. People who are part of your personal team can enhance your strengths, fill in for your weaknesses, and help you succeed.

So how can you develop your own Team Life? Are there certain types of people missing from your inner circle or energies that are absent from your life? Are there particular people you work well with? Pay attention to how people make you feel—and let this guide you when making decisions about who to bring into your life to help you reach your goals.

Having the right team is essential to living up to our potential. Gathering the right people is the engine that helps us accelerate. Don’t necessarily pick people because they are the most convenient or familiar. Not everyone we know will make an ideal team member for us, even when people care for us and are willing to help.

Instead, ask yourself: Who makes you want to be more and do more? Who leaves you feeling inspired or empowered? Of those who inspire you, do they also actively encourage you, offer helpful feedback and sup­port, and ask questions that help you make good decisions?

These are signs that someone is invested in your success and will be a good member of your team—at work, or in life.

Excerpted from LIFEPASS: Drop Your Limits, Rise to Your Potential by Payal Kadakia. Published by Chronicle Prism, an imprint of Chronicle Books. Copyright © 2022 by Payal Kadakia.

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