I started working in business management more than 25 years ago. I’ve led teams of thousands of people and driven companies to success.
A couple years ago, however, I came to the point in my career where I was ready to try something new. I dramatically shrunk the size of my team and kept only the most talented and creative people. I began to really focus on efficiency and wanted to see what a team of highly skilled people — a “Dream Team” — could accomplish given the right resources and attention.
The results were incredible; even though, we’re smaller now, my team is much more productive and the quality of our work is higher. I still outsource to meet technical or more specialized needs in order to get the output I need. In reality, the size of your team depends on your specific needs, but what really matters is that it is efficient, creative, and always ready for new challenges.
Below, I have shared the five essential steps YOU need to know to build and manage your own Dream Team.
1. Assemble the team. Talent trumps all. Always try to hire great talent when it walks in the door, even if it comes with a price tag. Form a multidisciplinary team of people who can think on their feet and handle the main necessities of your project or company. You have to learn to delegate. Therefore, you must be able to trust your team. Remember you can’t do everything, and you should use your time efficiently.
2. Diversify the team. Diversity + creativity + talent = innovation. Diverse teams offer a wider perspective in every situation. In my career, I have always placed a big emphasis on including women in my teams. Not only is it a moral mission of mine, but gender diversity has also been shown to be linked to better financial performance. From the workforce standpoint, diverse teams foster productivity by offering broader perspectives and stimulating innovation to generate better solutions. By building teams made up of men and women, a business manager takes full advantage of the workforce’s talent by producing a better mix of leadership capacity to drive better performance.
3. Keep the team happy. Once you have the talent, invest the time, resources, and effort to retain them. Always remember that your team members could leave your project at any time, so it’s your job to keep them happy. Give them challenges; encourage them to give their best of themselves. Set high expectations for them, of course, but always with fairness, and most important, with respect.
4. Walk the talk. As a leader, what you say and what you do need to be consistent. In order for your team to trust you, you need to follow through on your promises and take action to back up your words. In addition, you should remain open to constructive criticism from your team because this is an opportunity to improve. You must be fair at all times, have the humility to accept when you’ve made a mistake, and say you’re sorry when necessary. As a team leader, you will have to face many challenges. Always take responsibility for your actions and decisions.
5. Be creative. Money is a powerful motivator, but there are so many more ways to inspire development. Besides economic incentives, you should keep your team motivated in all ways. Always think about their personal and professional growth. Don’t let them get in a rut. Your job is also to keep them in constant learning mode.
No matter what, the first step is knowing yourself. You have to be honest with the mirror in order to know what type of people you work best with. And more important, you need to be able to motivate yourself to be better everyday, so that you can do the same for your “Dream Team”.
Angélica Fuentes, Founder Equal Invest
Angélica Fuentes is a Latin American businesswoman and impact investor, who has been recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of Mexico’s most influential women.
Ms. Fuentes was appointed CEO of Grupo Imperial in 1992 and quickly positioned the company as a top player in Northern Mexico’s energy sector. Under her leadership, Grupo Imperial’s annual growth rate increased from 5% in 1992 to 9.5% in 2005. Ms. Fuentes served as President of the Business Energy Network of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Agreement (APEC) from 2002 to 2004, and as President of the Mexican Natural Gas Association from 1996 to 2000. From 2007 to 2015, she served as CEO of Grupo Omnilife-Angelissima-Chivas. Under her leadership, the company became one of the top 100 corporations in Mexico.
Throughout her career, Ms. Fuentes has dedicated significant time and resources to NGOs, international organizations and professional groups that support the cause of women. She participated in the World Economic Forum’s Gender Parity Programme, and led the Mexican Gender Parity Taskforce. She currently serves on Secretary Clinton’s International Council on Women’s Business Leadership; is member of the Private Sector Leadership Advisory Council of UN Women; is a Global Advocate for the Girl Up Campaign, a United Nations Foundation program; co-chairs the PVBLIC LATAM regional platform; is member of the Latin American Program Advisory Board of the Woodrow Wilson International Center; and is member of the Global Dignity’s International Council of Advisors.
Her work in this field has been recognized by numerous honors and awards. In 2015, UN Women gave her the Women’s Empowerment Principles CEO Leadership Award; she was the first female CEO to receive this award for championing gender equality in the private sector. In 2016, PVBLIC Foundation, Ismael Cala Foundation, and the United Nations gave her the award for Latin Woman Empowerment. In 2017, she received the Corporate Social Responsibility Award from The Maestro Cares Foundation.
Gender equality, women empowerment and the eradication of poverty have always been a priority in all her endeavors. In 2014, she established the Angelica Fuentes Foundation. In 2016, she founded A Complete and The Imperative Fund. In 2017, she founded Equal Invest, The Beauty Station and A Complete Journey.