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Starting An Organization From Scratch #8 Assemble your team

This is probably the most exciting bit of starting an organization because you get to choose who you want to be on your team. Unfortunately many people rush through this phase and end up creating bigger problems for themselves and the organization. Human resource is the greatest asset that an organization has so it must be acquired with thoughtful consideration. The fact that you are great friends doesn’t guarantee that you will be great colleagues.
One of the common mistakes that people do is to assemble their team before they have even concrete definition of the vision and mission. The danger with that is every person coming on board might want to live their vision through your mission. It is so easy to get deterred from the original cause because you want to try and include everyone’s idea to give them a sense of ownership. It is advisable to assemble your team after you have a clear sense of direction about what you want to do and accomplish.
The other common mistakes people make when assembling their team to give priority to friends and family or big shots in the society. All these criterias are wrong and will not ensure the start growth of your organization. You should select people after thoughtful consideration and not because they are in close proximity with you. Consider the core skills set that you need to effectively run the organization and let that be your selection criteria.
I have worked with a couple of organisations that have high profile members on their committee’s that have actually never attended even a single meeting. Others pay board members to sit on their boards. As a start up, you have yo cut costs and maximize resources. At the end of the day, you need people who will deliver in their roles and help your organization grow. You certainly don’t need people simply looking good in your Constitution and adding their board role to their resume. Aim at building a functional team that will not only support but also get involved in the regular activities of your organization.
There are two sets of teams you need to put into consideration. The first is your Executive Board which happens to be a prerequisite for registering an organization in many countries and the other is your staff. When it comes to the board, aim for 3-5 board members who are passionate and convinced about your vision. They should have core skills that will support your role as a team member. They should be accessible and members of wiser networks that you aspire to get into. Take your time to review people’s capabilities, credibility, commitments and social reputation before asking them to serve on your board. In other words do a background check, don’t take people at face value.
When it comes to choosing your staff, first be clear about the take that need to be executed. Consolidate tasks under specific roles and then look out for the most suitable candidates. When you announce the start of an organization,many of your peers and family will quickly come on board but soon that excitement wears off and they will leave you stranded when you need them the most. For a start, go for people who can multitask so as to manage to work within your means.
Keep everything formal and maintain formal documents even though people are volunteering. Give people job descriptions so you are both clear about what is expected. There is a tendency to take on volunteer’s without any formal frame work for them to work within and in the end they don’t take their roles serious. Pit everything in writing and keep copies on record.
An effective team is the heart of a successful organization. Take your time to select the right people and you will have a low staff turnover. Better to work with a small team that can deliver than a huge team that simply fills space. The starting phase of your organization sets momentum for your growth as an organization so it’s worth investing in time and money.

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