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Building Your Team

There are no great businesses built by the singular effort of a person. Lending businesses are no exception.  Your success in lending will depend in large part, on the quality of your team.  So, how do we go about building the right team?

First, know the business you’re building.

The team does not decide what is to be built. What is to be built should decide the team.  Finding, recruiting and retaining the right team requires that you are clear on what you are trying to build.  If it’s a founding partner you are searching for then both of you should decide what is to be finally built but you should at least know whether you are looking for a partner to build a skyscraper or a barn. You definitely don’t need the same people to do both.

Although many levels of alignment between team and business strategy are important none is more important than ensuring that competence, character and conduct are aligned with your foundational mission. If your business strategy and model requires that you get financial technocrats you probably won’t get very far with persons who may be friendly, but albeit,  cannot speak the language of finance.

Get rid of Job Descriptions.

Job descriptions do just that – they describe  a job. If you are looking for a job a great description of a job might actually be helpful. The only thing is that you are looking for a PERSON to fill a JOB and not the other way around. Job descriptions usually deal with the person as a footnote or after thought. Almost always, job descriptions lead with a description of the job.

I prefer “Personal Success Plans” (PSP) to Job descriptions. PSPs focus on describing the type of  person you think would excel in your business instead of just the job they will do. In many instances, the focus is less on the core skill needed to do a particular function and more on overall fit. PSPs can really help you, the business owner,  to better understand the type of person best suited for your business and for a particular role.  PSPs also have the benefit of allowing candidates to quickly self-qualify or to eliminate themselves from the pool. They can also easily identify someone in their circle who is ideal for your business.

You can create a PSP from scratch but I have included one that we use here at LoanCirrus so you can get a head start.  You are free to improve and share. Just keep the focus on the person and not  the Job!

PSPs don’t require that you abandon basic, sensible job requirements. To the contrary, they allow you to position those basic requirements in a broader context of FIT.

Can the person who has the skill I am looking for, work effectively in my business and with my team?

The Intelligence Test

Intelligent people ask questions. Of course, the inverse is not true: because you ask questions doesn’t mean you’re intelligent. In the information age a lack of curiosity is a deadly sin. Be cautious about persons who lack the necessary curiosity to enhance their own understandings. Every candidate should be assessed on their ability to:

  1. Listen and Understand Information
  2. Process & Assimilate Information (you test this with your own questions
  3. Identify sufficiency (Is the information lacking some thing)
  4. Determine what is needed for sufficiency
  5. Formulate what is needed in the form of a question
  6. Communicate the question so others can “listen & Understand”

If your candidate is stuck at #1 you may have a problem.

Paying Peanuts…

We’ve heard the saying “pay peanuts and you’ll get monkeys.” A bit harsh, but the point is unmistakable: You get what you pay for.

The most important part of your business is the people in it.

Persons with high Competence, Character and Conduct combined, will expect higher compensation.

Cash is only part of someone’s compensation.

Sell your vision and NOT your job. This will help you convey more value to prospective team members.

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