Mix It Up to Build a Solid Team

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When hiring for a new or existing position, consider it an opportunity to improve your team. It is no different than recruiting for a football or baseball team – there is often a salary cap in place, and you want to find the best talent for each position on the field, within the allotted budget. Teams work best when they are well balanced and everyone is a great match for their position based on their skill set and personality. Using the sports analogy, it wouldn’t make sense to hire four football players with the skill sets of a quarterback (great throwing arm, mobility, etc.) when what you really need is a quarterback, a running back, a wide receiver and a lineman, which all have radically different strengths. The same is true in the workplace – you probably don’t need 10 social butterflies on the same team, but in the right roles, a few extroverts can go a long way in building morale, initiating change and providing great customer service.

Similarly, you likely won’t need 10 hyper-detail-oriented number crunchers on the same team either, unless the team happens to be focused on accounting or something similar. Even then, mixing it up by throwing someone different in with the rest of the team has been shown in many cases to increase productivity, because that person brings a skill set (i.e. additional strengths) to the team that may not otherwise be present.

Sometimes hiring requires you to get out of your comfort zone. Often times we have a tendency to hire people we like (and that are often like us), regardless of whether or not they are the right people for the specific position we’re hiring. You may get along well with a candidate, but before you hire them, consider whether or not they are the best person for the specific job you are hiring them for. Examine their strengths and weaknesses and make sure they are in line with the requirements of the job. And if multiple people on the same team have the same strengths and weaknesses, take time to consider whether room exists on the team for multiple people with the same skill sets. Sometimes, the answer is no.

Often times we need to hire someone that has the opposite strengths of us, or that complements our strengths and offsets our weaknesses. For example, I generally like everyone (you could likely consider me one of those social butterflies mentioned above), but I am especially energized by extroverts that have high energy and like to innovate and focus on the big picture. This means that sometimes my instinct is to hire people just like that because they are familiar and comfortable to me. But for certain positions, this skill set can be downright detrimental – for example, I would be terrible (or at least miserable) at accounting because I don’t like to spend time on the details. But do I want my accounting person to? Absolutely! Our firm would probably not survive with a big picture person in our accounting seat – which means I have to consciously consider every position and what we need from it – and recruit solely based on that. Otherwise we would have a firm full of big picture innovators with no one who could execute our ideas or run our finances!

The answer to building a solid team is to be aware of the differences in people – it’s as simple as that. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses which is where the opportunities arise – when we pair the right people together as teams in such a way that we are able to capitalize on each person’s strengths and offset any weaknesses by others’ strengths, the magic really happens for an organization.


The Culture Counts blog is a discussion of law firm culture and legal innovation, including topics such as effective leadership, employee engagement, workplace culture, ideal work environment, company core values, and workplace productivity.  

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Klemchuk LLP is a litigation, intellectual property, transactional, and international business law firm dedicated to protecting innovation. The firm provides tailored legal solutions to industries including software, technology, retail, real estate, consumer goods, ecommerce, telecommunications, restaurant, energy, media, and professional services. The firm focuses on serving mid-market companies seeking long-term, value-added relationships with a law firm. Learn more about experiencing law practiced differently and our local counsel practice.

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