The Art and Science of Building a Team
By Patrick Burkhardt, Founder & Chief Idea Person at Luxpitality
Teamwork is a basic concept most of us learn early in life. Yet, in business this concept becomes far less "basic" and much more nuanced. It is an art form top companies work delicately to perfect at every level. While revenue, reputation, and recognition may seemingly be the goal for most companies, without a cohesive, high-functioning team in place, none of these things would be possible.
As the Chief Idea Person of Luxpitality, an international, San Diego-based hospitality company that connects new-age businesses with the most unique hotels for corporate events, meetings, group trips and team-building experiences, I am in the business of building teams.
When I think about the key tactics I've implemented myself at Luxpitality, I see four common threads on how to successfully approach building a team to suit the specific needs of the company.
Partner with someone who shares your passion
As a general rule, partnering with someone who shares your passion and can be your sounding board for ideas is a great place to start when thinking about the company culture you want to create. For me, my Co-Conspirator Rigel Bitterman is this person. When I first launched Luxpitality, I spent too much time trying to put a square peg through a round hole, and that got me nowhere. Instead, I took a step back and shifted my energy into finding and bringing on board the one person who I knew was just as passionate as I am. Together, Rigel and I are two of the most passionate people I know, and this is a big reason why our company has grown at the fast pace it has over the past two years. Bringing on that first person to serve as your partner is a very important decision—it might be even one of the most important decisions you'll make as a founder of a company—because they'll end up being the foundation for the rest of the company.
Invest time in hiring the right team members
Hiring is arguably one of the most important things any company does because the team you build and the company culture you create will always determine whether you succeed or fail. Taking the time to select the right team members who will fit your company's long-term vision and company culture will be extremely beneficial, even if it means spending a bulk of time on the front end while recruiting and interviewing. Start by making sure that the people you bring on to your team have a passion for what you do, and see a sense of purpose behind your mission. Hiring someone just because you need a body to produce the work can, in the long-term, harm the team, and co st you more money. Investing time and resources into the people who truly embody the culture of the company and are the "right" fit, have immense payoffs. I want our employees to "walk the walk and talk the talk" when it comes to our company culture. This energy and engagement is contagious, and when the team is in line with our vision and values, the whole company works seamlessly together—delivering quality results. When hiring, I also look for self-sufficient rock stars. Purpose-driven, self-starters add a lot of value to a company because they're driven by passion, value-creation and fulfilment.
Facilitate a creative environment for the team to thrive in
The best $100 I've ever spent was on a membership to a rock climbing gym. My business partner Rigel has one too, and we go there together almost every day. This not only allows us to hit the wall together and get a workout in while bouncing around ideas and talk about our business, but it also offers us a creative environment (that's outside the box and different from our office) to get the creative juices flowing. We also do a lot of strategizing during early morning runs. The point here is that it's important to think outside the box and engage with your team members in different environments. A creative environment can even empower a team member in a new way, creating different results then they'd produce in the day-to-day environment.
Get to know each other
I think it's extremely important to get to know your team members both inside and outside the office. By no means do I think you must become best friends with everyone on your team, but engaging with the team offsite gives team members the opportunity to appreciate one another for more than just the job they do. When Rigel and I go to our rock climbing gym, we always ask each other questions and strive to learn more about each other, and we connect and oftentimes come up with our best business strategies.
Also, you may recognize some strengths that you may not see in the office that you can leverage to empower the team member inside the office.
Without a killer team, your company will most likely not see success, and there is no achieving one without the other. Next time you sit down to think about the most effective ways for your company to meet its goals, consider starting from the ground up, there is no greater asset to a company than an awesome team.
Patrick Burkhardt is the co-founder and Chief Idea Person at Luxpitality. Burkhardt has more than a decade of experience in the hospitality industry, and served as president of the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence’s (SITE) Southern California, the largest chapter in the world. Before he was elected president, he served as SITE Southern California’s Vice President of Communications for two years.More from Patrick Burkhardt