It seems every organizational leader I know is constantly looking for really talented folks to be a part of their organization, project or new initiative. We all want great leaders and influentials to be part of our team. Especially the experts- the thought leaders who are way better than we are, and elevate our organizational talent significantly. Whether the latest creative talent, the videographer that is in high demand, a best-selling author, sales guru, strategic planner, world class designer or well respected consultant. They are in demand and we should want them working alongside us. In order to be great you have to attract the best to your organization. The difficult part, especially in start ups and smaller organizations, is not having the resources or budget to attract the most influential thought leaders. A problem pervasive today in lots and lots of organizations.
So here are a few thoughts on attracting influential leaders to your team. How to get the best to work with you, but not necessarily always for you.
1. Cast the net wide. Get outside your normal circle of influence. Ask around. Do the homework. Look for folks in other industries. And don't be afraid to bring in talented individuals who might see things different than you do.
2. Tap into their strengths. Know what you are looking for, and be very specific with what you are asking them to help you with. Talented and influential folks don't want to waste their time or energy on something that is not in their sweet spot. You'll be tempted, if they are good at adding value in certain areas, to start heaping other projects onto their plate. Don't. Keep them focused.
3. Allow them to have ownership. Whether a person is full time or part time or simply a contractor or outside consultant, responsibility comes with ownership. And responsibility creates ownership. Which creates buy in.
4. Demonstrate passion. Show your unwavering sense of passion, purpose and focus on accomplishing the goal/mission in front of you. Your passion will draw others to your project.
5. Go after the big fish. Don't be afraid to ask folks who are "out of your league" to be involved. You never know. Everyone likes to be needed, and wanted, on a project. Cast your net wide, but also be specific in going after the best. The worst someone can say is no!
6. Lead with excellence. The best influencers and those who are the experts want to be involved with projects that are done with excellence. Like attracts like. Those who are the best won't settle for mediocrity.
7. Make it about more than you or them. Influential leaders want to be part of something way bigger than themselves. Cast a vision that is way bigger and way more impactful than you.
8. Provide freedom, creativity and flexibility. Influential leaders want freedom to think outside the box, innovate, and try new ideas.
9. Create perks. Find ways to pass on perks to your key team members. Whether it's tickets to an NFL game, a free golf outing, books, moleskine notebooks, or even an iPad, show your appreciation by a few extra gifts here and there.
10. Have fun. Creating an environment that is fun, laid back and humor induced is definitely attractive. When choosing between working with a team that has fun vs a team that is constantly serious and on edge, who would you pick? Exactly.