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Scaling Up Your Team

February 2, 2020

Since he swapped the barracks for the boardroom, Nathan Hardaker has been teaching companies how to harness military methods to scale their teams in both size and stature, with some important leadership lessons thrown in along the way. He shares some of his thoughts with us below:

Growing a team isn't an easy job – anyone who tells you differently is lying, plain and simple. As with the military, things can change quickly in the corporate world, and you and your people need to be able to adapt without missing a beat. The strength and make-up of your team can determine whether you anticipate a problem and take corrective action.

Take a look around your team. Do you have people who excel at the things that are crucial to the success of your ‘mission'? For example, do you have a top sales person, a logistics expert, a legal genius? Whatever the skillsets the task at hand demands, you need to know you have them. If you don't, go out and get them!

Being the leader of a team doesn't mean that you need to be the best, the cleverest, or the most gifted person in the room - it's about recognising what you as a group require to get the job done.

Building the right team means building the right culture then hiring in line with that culture. Your people need to share the values of your organisation – in other words, they need to be a ‘fit' for the company culture. If you get this right from the start, your team will retain and reflect your values no matter how large it becomes.

Trust is a key element and it's as vital in Helmand as it is Hemel Hempstead, if you want to succeed. Trust has to be a two-way street – if you are to have trust and have faith in your people, this must be reciprocated by them. One way to build trust in your team is to move beyond delegating – give them ownership of their own ‘fifedoms'.

What I mean here is this: if your best account manager knows that you trust him or her to deliver, that person will flourish and, vitally, they will bring the other account managers along with them, thus making the process of scaling up your team much easier as winners attract winners just as success attracts success.

I'm not going to pretend that operating in a war zone is directly comparable with running a business in, say, the automotive industry. That would be absurd and anyone with half a clue would recognise it as bullshit from half a mile away. What I will say is this - if you want to build a winning team, whether it be 10 or 100 strong, you need to have the following:

  • People who can adapt quickly to changing conditions
  • People who excel in their area of responsibility
  • People that you trust and who trust you
  • People who share your values

If you think that the ranks of your organisation could benefit from the qualities possessed by former military personnel, click here.


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