Creating and Growing Your Screen Printing Team
Below is an excerpt from my book, “Made to Make It: A Guide To Screen Printing Success.” Learn helpful tips and tricks on how to run a screen printing business.
Anyone can hire employees, but not everyone can build a successful team. And if you want to be one of the great companies, and not just a good one (per “Good to Great”), this needs to be a key investment area for your business.
What does a successful team look like? I’ll use the Seattle Seahawks as an example (can you tell I’m a fan?). In the last few years, a few great players have left the Hawks. Why? Because being a great player doesn’t necessarily make you a great team member. I believe that those changes have strengthened the team. Percy Harvin, who punched another player, was replaced by Tyler Luckett. Golden Tate, who fooled around with another player’s wife, was swapped out for a 5th round rookie, Doug Baldwin. And Marshawn Lynch’s behavior might soon open the door for Rawls to step up his game.
The moral of the story is that the team as a whole is better than one or two players. And, if you have players that don’t want to play the same game as the rest of the team, it’s best to invite them to leave. And that’s exactly what Pete Carroll has done. By setting the game plan, and only allowing players who are willing to work together to achieve that plan to be in the game, he’s built not just a team, but a team of superstars that bleed blue and green.
Let’s take a look at some good ways to build your team.
Invite Them to Interact With Other Team Members
Remember, there’s no hard and fast rule that binds you to an official interview process. Invite them to meet and get to know the rest of the team. If they pass the team’s test, then move on to the next step.
Get to Know Them in a Non-Office Environment
Once they have the team’s seal of approval, it’s time for you to dig a little deeper. Have coffee or lunch with them to get their feedback on the interaction. Find out more about what motivates them, what their passions are, and where they want to go.
Give Them an Opportunity to Show You What They Can Do
If you can, a sample “day on the job” is an excellent way to see how they work; if they match the pace and style that your team runs at every day; if they care about quality the way you do; and if they care about the process and product the way you do.
If You Can’t Find Experience, Train It
Don’t rule out a good candidate just because they’re new to the field. The best screen printing businesses that I know don’t hire screen printers; they hire people who are passionate and train them to screen print the right way. No bad habits; no hostages; no hoarding of knowledge.
Prepare Yourself to Lead
As your team’s leader and coach, you should know that you can’t build a successful team without working on your own skills as well. I like to take the approach “First you, then who?” It may seem selfish, but if you focus on yourself first, you’ll not only gather some key learnings, but you’ll also in a better position to pass those along to your team.
There are three different paths you can pursue to develop new, valuable skills that will be a long-term asset to both you and your company.
Personal/Self Driven Learning
Personal learning is probably the easiest and least expensive way to learn new skills. And it’s something you can do on your own schedule. I love listening to audiobooks when I’m doing brainless work like washing the car, cleaning the garage, mowing the lawn, or doing yard work. I get a lot out of listening to books written about, or by, business leaders. When I read, I am easily distracted. Plus, reading takes dedicated time, whereas audiobooks I can listen to as I multi-task. Since I am listening, however, it is important that I do two things. Listen more than once, and take notes/write a summary of actions. I can’t catch everything all at once. Most books I listen to at least twice and the good ones I listen to 4-5 times. I also try to find related books or videos if I really want to dig into a concept. You can check out a few of my favorites on my blog at www.ryanmoor.com.
Professional learning is just that, professional—meaning that you are paying for it. But you get the benefit of learning from a pro, in a formal setting with structured processes. Depending on how you learn, it can be a great way to expand your skill set and develop your business. Personally, I work with a group called Vistage which is an executive coaching organization. We have monthly full-day sessions, where we hear speakers, many of whom I’ve later invited to speak to the team at Ryonet.
Although finding a mentor can be challenging, the most impactful way you can learn is through the experience of someone who you admire. It’s also the ways humans have learned throughout most of the history of civilization. Learning from a master is the fastest way to become a master. You can seek out a life mentor, to help you make challenging decisions as you travel along your path. Or you can seek out a skills mentor, who can help you develop in specific areas. If it’s a life mentor you’re looking for, find someone who shares your values. If it’s skills you need, find someone who’s recognized as an expert in that domain. The best part of learning from a mentor is that you can observe what it takes to be a mentor. Again, the objective of putting yourself first is to gather knowledge you can then share with the rest of your team.
Whether you take a path of self-driven learning; sign up for courses or other organized activities to build your skills; or work with a mentor to become the best at what you do, and the best at coaching others to do what you do—the most important thing to remember is that learning is a journey, not a destination. In order to succeed, and continue to succeed, you must believe that there is always room for learning and improvement.
Putting the Process in Place for Growth
Even an all-star team has to train. At Ryonet, each and every one of us (myself included) has a “Personal Development Plan” designed to help us live our value of “Be the Best at Being Better.” We encourage our team members to revisit their plan at least once every three months to make sure it’s still relevant and they’re still on track. Annually, team members review this plan with their lead, but we also offer them the ability to work with an “accountability partner’ throughout the year to make sure they’re tracking to goals.
These plans give team members the opportunity to assess their values, strengths and areas of opportunity; list out goals and develop an action plan to attain them; and find ways to remain accountable.
Like what you read? Get more great business tips on running a screen printing business from my book, “Made to Make It: A Guide To Screen Printing Success.”