Building a management team – why people are the key to success

Building a management team – why people are the key to success

20 Jun    Advice, Columns, Finance News

“A company is people.” That statement is one of many made by Richard Branson during his career that has placed employees front and centre.

He, like many serial entrepreneurs, believes that people are the greatest asset of any business and, in order to scale and execute an ambitious growth strategy, you need to create a strong and loyal workforce that buys into that vision.

Given the success he has had in amassing a multi-billion-pound fortune, it’s hard to argue with his approach. The truth is people are hugely important when it comes to achieving business success. What’s more, with a war on talent being played out across a multitude of sectors, finding the right people to navigate that growth journey is an increasingly important task.

At the helm of any fast-growth business is a management team. Their job is not only to realise the company’s growth ambitions, but to instil confidence and drive in each and every employee.

Building a strong management team, both for the present and the future, is vital to the success of any aspiring business, particularly if you want to ensure “a company is people”. But how do you go about creating a high performing management team?

Identify the key qualities needed in your team

It’s important to understand each element of growth and identify the key qualities needed to achieve success. Look around the management team and assess who can bring their skills and experiences to each element, be that international expansion, identifying, making and integrating acquisitions, or targeting larger customers and order values.

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It’s extremely common to have gaps in skill sets and experiences. As such, a diverse group, with a wide range of skills that can all come together to deliver the plan, makes for a strong management team.

Get the recruitment process right

Before commencing any interview process, summarise what is great about working in your company. What is your employee value proposition? Why should anyone join your company? High calibre candidates who could have the most impact in your business are likely to have a number of options available to them, so you’ll need to convey an appealing proposition to secure their services. This is particularly so for smaller, emerging brands that may not be able to offer some of the benefits of more established companies. However, while they may have less scale, what they can offer is the chance to have a wider involvement and impact across the business, the potential for increased responsibility and flexibility, and the chance to work in a dynamic  company with the potential for real growth.

Keep an eye on the future

The biggest mistake businesses make is recruiting for today, rather than recruiting for the future. When looking for senior leaders, consider what the business is going to look like in two to three years’ time. There is little point in recruiting someone who is perfect for the business as it is today, but will not be able to deliver a similar impact when the business has grown, is larger, offers extended product ranges, or sells to different customers.

Recruiting someone who has done the scale up journey, and who can contribute both now and through the next few years will be a real advantage. Yes, it will be slightly more expensive, but you won’t have the cost and time implications of re-recruiting in 12 months or less, and you’ll have a valuable senior colleague throughout the next phase of growth.

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Move with the times

Leadership continues to evolve – driven by the demands and desires of a changing workforce, new technologies, and economic and political change. Leaders must then have the ability to lead through those challenges and uncertainty, while drawing on the skills, knowledge and abilities in their team, by creating an environment of innovation and collaboration.

Increasingly, employees are also looking for workplaces and leaders who are mission-based and purpose-driven. A successful management team must have the skills to flex and react to the changing demands of employees and be true to the vision and values set out by the business.

As people are the bedrock of success for just about every company, a strong management team (without exception) must have strong people skills and an ability to inspire and lead. Investing time and commitment is therefore invaluable to ensure everyone’s leadership and coaching skills are fit for purpose and that there is a consistent understanding and appreciation of what behaviours are expected and what high performance looks like.


Richard Taylor

Richard Taylor

Richard Taylor is Head of Growth at BGF – one of the UK and Ireland’s largest and most experienced growth capital investors

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