When you are looking to build a team from scratch you need to consider things differently than if you were recruiting normally. There are various factors that come into play that don’t coincide with the normal process of hiring. At this point your not looking to fill a gap in an already settled team or even hire in a shining light to invigorate a tired team, no in this case you have to consider the function of the team.

Team Function

What is your team going to achieve, what are the challenges and pitfalls of the tasks laid out? What hard skills and qualifications do you need but also what soft skills and experience do you need? Look at the team as one, create a circle, cut it into segments with priorities of different skills and size these skills based on importance. Once you have this you need to start looking at specific roles.

Specific Roles

This is critical with any new team, you have no history and it’s time to get it right. Make sure you specify from the beginning who does what and how, this way everyone know where they stand. You don’t now need 8 people with identical skills, strengths and weaknesses because you will end up with a team that will struggle to function in it’s areas of weaknesses. You need a team that compliments each member, some administratively strong, some leadership strong, some experienced minds, some newbies with a different prospective and some that glue a team with their interpersonal skills.

Streamlined Roles

This is the shortest but most essential piece of advice, don’t fill your team up with irrelevant/petty rules! Freedom to get on with the task with no complications, additional paperwork or pointless meetings. Keep these people on task and streamlined to achieve the best they can in the time given.

Your Anchor

An ‘Anchor’ is a person that you rely on and has your back from the outset. Ideally someone you know that has the same vision for the success, methods and results of this new team. Ideally they would be new to the organisation as this will help the transition of the new team but someone from inside with the correct vision would also work well. This Anchor might be considered the manager/team leader but the most important role is that they are in tune with the vision.


This is controversial but make your team operationally and primarily run as a democracy, where each member can effect the final decision making process. Don’t let this stop progress day to day, so make sure each member of the team knows the limits of their own personal authority to make decisions on the job. However don’t create an ‘us’ and ‘them’ with hard decisions, present the problems as they come along and them allow the team to come up with the solutions. Radical but this does work very effectively.

Finally, two very obvious pieces of advice. One that is age old but pay peanuts and get monkeys. Two don’t under value experience and enthusiasm, so many end up with a qualified team of egos rather that experienced team of humility.

Good luck building your team…

Daniel Frye