One of the first lessons I learnt when I started hiring a team was the importance of clarity.

I needed to be really clear on:

* the culture I wanted to create
* the values of the company
* the values of the people I was going to hire
* the tasks that I needed to let go of in order to grow and thrive

Without sitting down and spending some time thinking about all these things I would have just hired the first person who came along with the skills to do the job. But I could teach them the skills. Their values were far more important to me.

The culture I wanted to create was one where we were all working towards the same goal of financial empowerment for our customers. I also wanted my team to be empowered in their roles – clear on what they could do but also clear on what they couldn’t – we work in a highly regulated industry. I wanted to be problem solvers who took the stress away from our customers. I wanted to create a flexible workplace where my team was excited (or at the very least) happy to come to work.

New recruits had to value excellent service, integrity, empowerment and fun (because it can’t be all hard work).

Then I sat and wrote down ALL the things I did in my role and separated them into two lists. Things I wanted to do and things I didn’t. Once I had the list, I could then put the things I didn’t want to do into categories that made sense to sit together and I started writing job descriptions.

Without doing this homework, I would have been hiring blind.

And I didn’t get it perfect every time – but who does?

If you’re about to start building your team, put in the work before you do.

As with everything else in life, a plan always helps.