On Building a Great Team

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Over the years, I’ve dreamed of having the opportunity to put together a rockin’ team of the best people in their respective areas … and, then, to be able to create an environment where they could thrive and be fulfilled in what they do.

This week, we flew in our remote staff to Oklahoma City, where iThemes is based, for our first company retreat. It was the first time we were all in the same place and I got to see a glimpse of that dream of building a great team come true.

Along the way, I would put roles and responsibilities on my office writeboard of key personnel as we grew … I would dream of what those positions would look like and do and where they would help us go.

Often, I would put names next to those positions.

And now, I can say we’ve got all the core people to be able to do what we want to do — a base team to build a great, enduring, prospering company.

More will come and be vital to what we do … but right now, we have a team that can build excellent WordPress themes (our core business) … with potential for a whole lot more too!

At our retreat, one of the first things we discussed was our personal and business/professional goals. It was a great, transparent time. We shared openly about our goals. And at the end, I asked the group: “Now, how do we help each other fulfill these goals?”

I don’t just give lip service to saying our company is a team. I say this to them often: “We need each other.”

Alone, we’re great with rich and diverse talents … but together, we’re powerful.

Together, we can help each other fulfill the goals we have for our work and our lives.

I knew when I started iThemes that I wanted to build a company that was bigger than me. And actually, I wanted it to be a lot better than me. I have skills and experience I bring to the table. But by myself, I’d never get past a certain point in business. In fact, I’d probably quit. Business is hard.

I need a great team.

In fact, one of the goals I shared with our team was that I want to be a great manager and coach (Ref. first paragraph). I’ve been in bad companies and great ones. I’ve had terrible bosses and amazing bosses. And I’ve learned from all of them.

I want my team to know I’m dedicated to them. That I’m there for them. That I understand them and their goals and dreams and talents and skills. And that I’m working to put them into positions where they can fly to the ultimate potential.

So now looking back after our first company retreat with my dream team, where we locked ourselves in a lake cabin and came up with a plan of attack … I gotta say … the effort and time was well worth it.

I’m anxious to see what we can do together now! So stay tuned.

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2 thoughts on “On Building a Great Team”

  1. Did you guys do any diversity training while you were on retreat? I hear that it is VITAL to a work environment. I have some materials (such as ethnic sticky-notes for the forehead) if you need them for your next session. But seriously, that is really exciting. Can’t wait to see what is next from you guys.

  2. Things on our upcoming retreat agendas … Ethics Seminar with Immunity Idols … and Slapface.

    Also, movie Fridays … our team is more productive when we lose 1.5 hours on a biz day.


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