06 January 2007

Building a killer team for innovation (part 1 of 6)

You. One of the first couple of things you hear or read from management pundits is to hire people smarter than you, the other is to locate where there is a wealth of talent. Those are worthy ideas, but not always possible. The number one criteria in building a killer design team, is that you qualify as a potential member of the team. If you are in charge only because your dad owns the company… then you will struggle assembling a crack team. If you have no skill or experience in working on a great team… you probably won’t be able to build and lead a great team. If you lack moral fiber or leadership but have a big bank account, hire someone to build and run your team and stay out of the way. We could call this the Al Davis syndrome… but then, the NFL Raiders have had their moments inspite of Al.

To build and lead a team, you have to be “the guy” that you would hire. Sometimes it is hard to find people smarter than you, and sometimes it is hard to find talent outside of the “creative culture zones”, but there is in fact extraordinary talent everywhere. You can find it in the Midwest… deep in the mountains, in the desert and in Fort Wayne and Wichita. I know from experience. You just have to look a bit harder.