It is hard to argue with the idea that the key to success in any business, including real estate investing, is getting the right people in the right seats. Best-selling authors from Jim Collins to Gino Wickman teach this in business books. Posters with expressions like “Teamwork Makes the Dream Work” hang in break rooms and locker rooms all over the world, encouraging teams not to forget that people matter most. It is almost universally agreed upon that without the best people, it is hard to win.
One of the most effective ways to build the best team is by utilizing personality profile assessments. These short, standardized, and objective assessments enhance the hiring and development process. Specifically, they help employers, managers, and team captains assess whether current and potential team members have the aptitude and or/affinity for the specific tasks, projects, and roles they play. In his recent book, Quench Your Thirst, Jim Koch, the creator of Samuel Adams beer, writes, “The profile test helps us determine what activities people enjoy doing, and hence whether they’re likely to love working in their job with us.” Good profiling tools assist leaders in getting the right people in the right positions within a company.
Currently, there are several assessment resources available to entrepreneurs, managers, and team builders. These assessment tests, which are now big businesses in their own right, include some of the following proprietary systems:
- DiSC Profile
- Kolbe Assessments
- Strengths Finder (now CliftonStrengths)
- Enneagram Institute
- Culture Index
- Predictive Index
Regardless of which system you choose to employ, adopting certain best practices will optimize your chances of getting accurate, effective results that you can put to good use. I’ve itemized the three best practices for using assessment surveys to optimize the composition of the team and maximize the contribution of each team member.
1| Determine the Roles in the Business
Leaders must know what positions are needed on their teams to fill those positions effectively. For example, a basketball team needs five players in specific spots to play the game. Similarly, a buy-and hold real estate investor needs a team of certain players including: someone to find properties, someone to negotiate deals, someone to close transactions, and someone to manage the properties post close. Of course, one investor can play all of those roles, but in most cases your performance and your returns will be better if you clearly identify all the moving parts beforehand rather than discovering them “on the fly.” Plan out the structure of your team in advance even if one person performs more than one role.
2| Delineate the Ideal Profile for Each Role
What personality traits does an accountant need? What about a sales person? How about a CEO? In the buy-and-hold example, the negotiator will likely have different traits than the post-close manager. It is the leader’s responsibility to predetermine each profile so everyone knows what the best person to fill that role looks like from a personality-perspective. This planning will not only enable individual contributors to perform better, but also the team as a whole. You may wish to get input from multiple individuals on this topic, then reconcile those perspectives to establish your ideal profile.
3| Leaders Must Filter Candidates & Current Team Members for the Ideal Positional Profile
Once you have defined your profiles, only fill those positions with people who possess that ideal profile. It is difficult but vitally important to hold to the standard of only finding team members who are the “perfect” profile match. This is probably the hardest of the three best practices to implement and requires the greatest discipline. The rewards of having a winning team will be worth the sacrifice.
One of the major drawbacks in using assessments is that finding the ideal profile match once you have identified it is more difficult than many leaders can handle. Finding the right match may be more time consuming than selecting team members based on more subjective observations like resumes and interview responses.
Stay the Course
Some of the immediate benefits of using the three best practices will be:
- Team members will be better suited to play to their strengths.
- Hiring success typically increases from 50/50 to greater than 80 percent.
- Communication improves between team members since personal communication styles are known.
- Team member weaknesses are exposed and more easily dealt with.
- Your systematic selection process is more easily repeated and more predictable than subjective methods.
- A common workplace language is created.
The late Steven Covey’s teaching on enduring principles and ever-changing practices can be summed up in the adage, “Methods are many, principles are few. Methods change often, principles never do.” In 2018, commit to the principle of building your winning team with disciplined insight and understanding and keep those standards in place. Just be sure to use whatever methods or assessment tools work best for you and your business.