Developing a team and/or building an organization is a challenging endeavor. For a team to operate at its full potential, it takes a thoughtful strategy, vision, resources, a budget, and a lot of planning. The most critical item to the success of a team or organization are the people! How do you know if you have the right people in the right positions?
One strategy that we utilize is the concept of a major and a minor. When you think back to college, your major is the focal point of your education, however the minor gives you a chance to diversify your knowledge and gain some exposure in another area. The same concept can be applied when building a team. When hiring a new team member, the first impression comes from their resume. You review their experience, their current role, and the value that they can add to the team. During the interview process, you get a feel for their personality and whether they are a culture fit. Usually, the person is made for the role and they excel in their new position. As their skills develop, they may take on more responsibilities and realize that they are more passionate and productive in another area.
This is where you need to optimize and make the best use of the team members’ skills and abilities. Whether you are building a team or are part of a team, it is important to gain exposure outside of your “major.” Doing so can provide cross training opportunities that offer backups and make the overall knowledge base of the team stronger.
For example, you might have a team member whose major is financial analysis but has a “minor” in reviewing and giving feedback on a marketing project. This exposure in another area or field will yield results. As a manager, you will be able to clearly see if the passion and productivity is different or better in that new area. The team member will slowly gain exposure without fully diving into a new role, which can sometimes be intimidating.
Just like in college, switching majors and switching career paths can be daunting. Having that exposure to a “minor” is comforting because you have something to fall back on. Giving your team members that exposure will boost morale and performance overall and it will put the right people in the right places.